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Monday, July 28, 2008

28 minutes

I just got back Seattle. My family went up there for a niece's wedding. I have know her for 28 years but have spoken to her for perhaps 28 quality minutes in all that time. I don't mean 28 minutes continuously. I mean 28 minutes total.

Of course I didn't go up there for my niece who I barely know. I went up for my wife who went up for his sister, whose daughter, my niece, was getting married. Now don't misunderstand me, my niece is nice enough. In fact she is the real thing. I have observed her over the years growing up from the pie faces, 5 year child who was the flower girl at our wedding back in 1980, to a tall, friendly, kind young women who was overdue to get married to her long long time boyfriend. They were friends in high school. Now they are in their mid 30's (or getting there). So that big biological clock is ticking.

But that's not the story.

I pretty much dislike big family events even if it's the family I married into. I mean we just up there in February for my nephew's (in-law) funeral which was even a bigger event . 500 people. Maybe more. Every seems to know I hate big family events. I guess I haven't done a very good job of hiding it. I don't mind going to Seattle and seeing a little bit of everyone but hours of 5 minutes of everyone gets tiring even though they are mostly good people. Some of them are evil but in a Lord of the Rings sort of way. It's better they stay that way of the whole book won't be that interesting.

The key to going on this trip (and it was a short trip) was just to totally flow with everything. I decided I could not and would not control schedules, who we saw or even fill that "I hate these events" type of role. So for 48 hours I was in a social free fall and I admit tat it was kind of liberating. As I said to my wife when she asked What do you want to do? I would reply, Whatsoever you prefer. I am just glad to drive you where we need to go.

When our plane threatened to be very delayed coming home I vegged with that too. Airports are not my favorite place to just hand out (book stores are) but I hung swinging by my neck anyway and much to my utter surprise the flight was a grand total of 15 minutes late. I promised myself that I would not complain and I didn't. I took a nap on the flight home. That was nice. Almost like not flying at all. You get aboard, lean back in your seat, put your shades on and the next thing you know someone is telling you that you'll be landing in about 15 minutes.

There are some strange tribal divisions in our family up there. Stuff has happened that is dividing family ties and demanding loyalties. Fortunately because we live far, far away (we might as well be in Mongolia, we are pretty much out of it (whatever it is). At the moment it is subliminal and open warfare is rare. So there were people who talk to us and those who don't. I think those people have self aligned us and assume we're not on there side anymore. For our generation and the one just after us, the innocence is gone. The open spontaneity has been replaced by the numbing effects of career, divorce, child rearing and a potential coming war over inheritance. What was once the Shire has become Rohan and Gondor overshadowed by Mordor and Mount Doom. The search for the rings of power are afoot but few know what they can do much less even what they look like.

I have one ring (the true one of Man) but I keep it hidden, hanging from a rawhide cord looped around my neck.

My best guess is with the passing of the King (my father in law) the war will spring up and rage anew. The critical thing for us warriors from other lands is to stay aloof from the battle to come and let the family hammer it out. In the meantime, I will hold tightly to the one ring.

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