Saturday, November 30, 2013

My Mother-in-Law Meets Extra Chair

Welcome to "The Gods are Bored!" It's always a pleasure to see you here!

Through some weird alignment of calendars based on ancient deities, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah coincide this year. This won't happen again for 73,000 years, so you have time to plan your activities accordingly.

We aren't Jewish here at "The Gods Are Bored." The god of the Jews is too busy. We prefer deities who have less attention and are therefore more present in our lives.

But we do celebrate Thanksgiving, without the frenzied shopping trips. And every year my mother-in-law joins us from Baltimore. She has been coming for 25 years.

This year we have a new member of our household, a Chinese exchange student who I named Extra Chair, because we had to put another chair at the table to accommodate her. Extra Chair is a very sweet kid, not too happy about our conservative heating methods here at Chateau Johnson, but that's a small quibble. She bought a space heater for the room she's using, and so her needs are met.

My mother-in-law is also a sweet person, but the valve between her brain and her mouth is faulty. Here was the conversation this morning over the breakfast table, just before the eggs and b. were served:

M-i-l (to Extra Chair: Do you have any brothers or sisters?

EC: No, it's against the law in China to have more than one child. It's because there are so many people in China already. Everything is very crowded.

M-i-l: Well, we ought to have that here. There are too many blacks.

Mr. J (from stage right): MOM! For God's sake! (Note the deity invoked here.)

Extra Chair at that point joined me in the kitchen. She whispered that she didn't know that Americans still felt that way. She wasn't sure how to pronounce "racist." I told her that the situation is complicated, and I would have to explain later, because now I had to give Granny her grits.

So we all sat down to breakfast, and after thoroughly reviewing the fact that Mr. J's sister had been lucky enough to marry a nice Jewish boy who had given her the world money-wise, m-i-l returned to querying Extra Chair.

M-i-l: Do they eat dogs in China?

Extra Chair stared, horrified at the thought.

EC: No! That's disgusting! I mean, it's a big country. Maybe somewhere....

Heir volunteered the information that South Koreans eat dogs, she has a friend living there right now who has seen it.

M-i-l: Well, I know they eat monkeys in China.

Again, Extra Chair stared, aghast.

EC: No, I don't think so. Monkeys? (horrified) Monkeys are cute!

M-i-l: Well, somewhere they drink from monkey skulls. I guess that's not China.

EC: No, not China.


Thank goodness we had warned Extra Chair about m-i-l's brain/mouth malfunction before the holiday festivities. I would like to say that my mother-in-law hasn't always been this way, but that wouldn't be true. She has lived all her life in Baltimore, and if you've ever seen a John Waters movie, you'll understand the mindset perfectly.

Enjoy your time off, if you have it, and here's some free advice from "The Gods Are Bored": Save your Christmas shopping for December, and buy from your local or regional artisans. People who rush to get their shopping finished don't check their lists twice. If it works for Santa, it ought to work for ordinary folks.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I'm glad to see you're providing Extra Chair with the Full Murrican Experience!

callieharper said...

I don't know how I lost track of your blog, Anne, but I am happy beyond measure to have wandered back in!

Looking forward to moving through the holiday season with you-


Anne Johnson said...

Thanks, Susan!