29 April 2009

Well, we think he might be gay...

So I already told you about my first morning in Tennessee. Now let me finish up the day.

After my little chat with Granddaddy, Grandmother and I went to the grocery store. This would be the first of about six trips. On the way there, I mentioned that Granddaddy kind of cornered me to talk about politics that morning. She rolled her eyes and said that she wished he wouldn't do that.

"But I am really scared because I think we're heading towards socialism. And that scares me."

The thing is, though, I suspect that she doesn't really know anything about socialism or what it is. And we're really soooo not headed there. We are capitalists. Plain and simple. But a pure capitalist system is just not realistic. So we have lots of programs in place that are more socialist in nature. And that's okay.

Otherwise, please return your social security check. Thanks.

Feel free to not use the post office. And your roads? Yeah, we can stop fixing those.

Just putting it out there.

Anyway, I think she pretty much just believes whatever Granddaddy tells her. Oh, and that God will take care of it.

After the grocery store, we went to have lunch at O'Charley's. She told me about how all my aunts and uncles and brothers and sisters and cousins were doing. I hadn't seen anyone in three years or so.

My dad has seven kids, aside from me. He's never really been much a part of my life. He and my mom were married for about an hour (okay, it might have been a year), 29 years ago. He remarried when I was six or seven, I think. And then the baby making began. My youngest sibling is 24 years younger than me. And I have had apartments that were larger and had more bathrooms (2) than the house where these nine people live.

But they are all well behaved and smart. And very talented musically. Except maybe the youngest one. They invented the recorder as a torture device for grown-ups, right? Cause that thing is terrible. To be fair, she's only five and I'm sure she will be amazing should she ever take up a real instrument.

Anyway, one of my brothers decided he wanted to play the oboe. And since they're all home-schooled (yes, all seven...though the oldest is now in college), my step-mom had to find an oboe teacher.

Grandmother said: Well, she finally found someone, but...we think he might be gay.
Me: So?
Grandmother: Well, she went ahead with it. She never leaves him alone with [my brother] and always monitors their lessons.
Me: Um...why?
Grandmother: Well, she doesn't want him to do anything to [my brother]. I told her that it would probably be okay as long as she kept a good eye on them.
Me: Because he's gay? Grandmother, you do realize that just because someone is gay doesn't mean that person molests children, right?
Grandmother: Well, I know that...
Me: Do you? Because it doesn't really sound like it. Straight people are perfectly capable of molesting children, and probably far more likely. Being gay has nothing to do with it.

I can only hope that my step-mom keeps as close an eye on her children who have straight music teachers.

I'm not naive, okay. I realize that my grandparents are social conservatives. Hell, they're about the only people I know who are still Baptists. But to sit and say this crap out loud was just too much for me. It's so unfair. I hate it when people just stand by and let others say hateful things, so I said something.

But she didn't stop talking about it. So I just sat there, with my teeth clenched, trying to keep my mouth shut. Because it's not okay to tell your Grandmother to shut up either, right?

Then she told me about how one of my cousins "got in with the black boys at school," and how they were such a bad influence on him. Ugh.

Me: You realize that bad comes in all colors, right?
Grandmother: Of course I do.
Me: But you felt the need to point out that they were black boys. If they had been white, would you have said "white boys"? Or just "boys"?

She didn't have much to say to that. I spent the rest of the day shaking because I was so angry that my family could be so hateful. Then I had to go to church to watch my 7-year-old cousin sing for 30 minutes in the first grade choir. I don't do church. Or kids.

My Granddaddy spent the rest of my trip getting little Republican barbs in whenever he could. My Grandmother spent the rest of my trip talking about nothing but calories and Jesus.

It might be another three years before I go back.


adriana said...

Seriously loving your blog.

Family is nuts... unfortunately, it doesn't sound like you can say much to sway their opinions! :-(

LiLu said...

This is what I'm talking about... old people just say whatever the hell they want and get away with it! When it's stuff like this, it kind of walks the line, but it still cracks me up a bit.

Until I realize they vote.

Alice said...

this is why i stay away from some of my family. i CANNOT behave nicely when presented with opinions like this, but i understand it's also frowned upon to yell at my elderly aunts and uncles. better for everyone if we just send christmas cards to each other.

Bow Chica Wah Wah said...

WOW! What an experience.

I lived in Jacksonville, NC for a year and a half and think almost everyone I met were like your grandparents.

Kind. Sweet. Good people just a little old school no what I mean ;)

You did good, sometimes it's best we just keep our mouths shut.

rs27 said...

There's a kid that wants to learn the oboe? What year does he live in? 1952?

Kelly said...

My grandma was just as crazy until my grandpa died, now she'll be friends with anyone who will talk to her. Her BFF at the old folks apartments is a black woman. Desparately alone = way more open minded!

shine said...

Adriana: Thanks! And no...but I don't really try. It would be an exercise in futility.

LiLu: And that? Is the important part. Don't worry, I'm formulating a revolutionary plan. Details soon.

Alice: This sounds like a good plan. But how do you deal with the guilt? I get the guilt trips from mine.

Bow Chica Wah Wah: It's a "The South" thing.

rs: He lives, ahem, in a 1000 sq. ft. house with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and 8 other people. You do the math.

Kelly: My grandparents really aren't old enough for this.