To say it’s been a challenging year would be like calling a cucumber a pickle. Well, sort of. Anyway, my point is that I’m not all that surprised to have found myself driving across the country and through the middle of nowhere last weekend, for purposes of saying goodbye to a dying family member. The upshot is that the middle of nowhere happens to have a Little America. Little America happens to have 50 cent ice cream cones. I happened to have three of them. Don’t judge.
I had many states, hundreds of miles, and hundreds of minutes to think through how, exactly, you structure a weekend around quality time with someone whom you will probably next see at their funeral. You know it. They know it. They know that you know it. They know that everyone knows it, and they know that you know that everyone knows it. And so on. The strangest thing, though, is that everyone pretends that none of that is the case, and I’m the worst offender, inspiring today’s post about what not to do when you’re saying goodbye:
Talk travel. Nothing calls attention to the absolute improbability of a family trip to Mexico quite like suggesting one. Oh, and that trip to South America won’t happen either but congratulations, self, on being an insensitive prick and bringing it up.
Express an interest in furniture. It’s during vulnerable times like these that generating small talk becomes desperate enough that you resort to furniture to fill awkward air space. Unfortunately, it’s during vulnerable times like these that furniture becomes what separates you from the trashy relatives vying for inheritance, and I seem to have ended up on the trailer park side of that trash heap.
Bitch about your upcoming birthday and the pains of aging. Nothing puts you on the fast track to Asshole Avenue like complaining about old age at the height of youth. For that, I am sure to die a premature death, but not before being subjected to a twenty-something girls-night-in party with Avon’s age-defying product line.
Cry during the goodbye. When you’re giving a goodbye of the William-Fitzsimmons-during-candlelight-yoga-after-heartbreak sort, tears are inevitable; as inevitable as the inappropriate status you will achieve by calling attention to a last goodbye. If I had it to do over again, I would man up–and by that I mean just cry and skip the goodbye.
As it turns out, hindsight is 20/20–a reality that matters very little in situations like this.