Free-Floating Hostility

Monday, August 28, 2006

She who Laughs Last

Today my brother David introduced his girlfriend, Anna Rose, to my parents. Though they met independently at U of M, they have discovered another improbable connection: Anna Rose's stepdad is one of Queenie's lefty lawyer colleagues. Either it's six degrees or my family travels in very small circles. Anyway, David reports that the visit is going extremely well, and that Anna Rose keeps making my dad laugh. This is a good sign, because Dad usually goes for the gruff factor on first meetings, though he spoiled it in Mike's case when he dropped a carton of orange juice and let forth a stream of army-acquired profanity, which is the ideal way to put Mike at ease. Dad's laughing is an extra good sign because some of Anna Rose's predecessors have been less than, to use my mom's phrase, drop dead interesting.

David and I were in the middle of a phone conversation about the underdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder when he was interrupted. All I could hear at first was a startled "What?" Then he came back on the line. For a moment, he explained, he had thought that Anna Rose had discovered weed in the pocket of our mom's coat. But the crisis was averted, as it had proved to be a tomato stem. I was almost disappointed, just because that would have been the best meet-the-parents story ever.

I was terrified to meet Queenie for the first time. I had already met Fritz on a trip to New York prior to Michael's and my romantic attachment. Although, much to Fritz' own puzzlement, I remained terrified of him for another year or so, I knew by that point that the ship had sailed on my first impression. That left me free to focus all of my anxiety on Mike's mom. We had spoken briefly on the phone, and once when Michael failed to pick up a late night phone call I had accidentally woken her up; thinking on my feet I had faked an English accent and asked for Lola. Anyway, before the big trip to Detroit, I purchased three new outfits, all with an eye toward Queenie's approval. To meet the parents, one must look chaste yet humpable at all times, a difficult tightrope to walk. Little did I know Queenie hates clothes shopping so much she prefers to buy something that looks alright, try it on at home and return it if it doesn't fit. I also obsessed over an appropriate hostess gift. I remember wailing to Form "How are you supposed to find a hostess gift for communists?" "What are you thinking of getting them?" he asked me. "Tea." "Well then, paint it red and call it the People's Tea," he advised. I actually did go out and buy a red tin full of tea. Queenie, of course, was unfathomably warm and kind.

Sometimes when I'm feeling low, I will ask Mike, like a child requesting her favorite bedtime story, "Tell me again about how your dad didn't like Stumpy." Stumpy is the nickname I prefer to use at all times, not just on the blog, for my predecessor, Mike's ex. If, reader, you are thinking that six and a half years is plenty of time to get over a grudge, you are clearly barking up the wrong part-Sicilian tree. Though I do feel I'm in a position to be magnanimous. She may have been a communist, but I bet she never brought them tea. And anyway, she wasn't drop dead interesting.

4 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger jess at August 29, 2006 11:41 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I first met Dan's mom when he invited me over for Easter dinner, so I was totally terrified because I knew she was a religious person. I was like "do I bring a chocolate bunny? What if she thinks the whole chocolate bunny thing is actually a perversion of the spirit of Easter?" What I didn't know (but quickly found out) was that she's a totally fun, loving, and supremely socially liberal lady who just happens to think Jesus had some good ideas about love and tolerance (and who actually practices them). Aside from the fact that she probably believes in God (we haven't discussed it), we agree on most things.

    She didn't like his ex either... it's such a nice fuzzy feeling, isn't it?

  •   Posted by Anonymous Katy at August 30, 2006 6:34 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • My grandparents are communists. Usually when I go to visit them, I bring something edible (cookies and challah from Moishe's Russian bakery on 2nd Avenue were especially well received), but they're my grandparents, and I'm fairly sure they already have a good impression of me. Their idea of a gift, meanwhile, is some strange artifact dredged from their basement--semifunctional kitchen implements, dusty books that may or may not be in English, strange old clothing, that kind of thing.

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at August 30, 2006 6:41 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • What happened to my previous WTMI post, related to the trip of Michigan for a ride to Interlochen? You must understand that a sensible parent recognizes only negative consequences can result from positive or negative intrusion in the mating process.

    Anyway, research has verified the bona fides of the family of Amy Rose [Rose is not her last name, there's another.] Research consisted of identifying the parents, since Fritz knows another Amy Rose where Rose is the actual last name.

    What degree of separation is this, if David knows people who know Amy Rose? Is that one degree?


  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at August 30, 2006 7:48 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Right, well, it's Anna Rose, not Amy Rose, so that's less of a coincidence. You appear to have the same hearing problems as
    Dr. Mormonstein

    Not sure which post you're referring to. It's possible we've begun to repeat ourselves.

    David knows Queenie who knows Anna Rose. Two degrees.

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