Last week, B and I were a few houses down from our house visiting our friends, the Donahues, when I stepped out of their front door and suddenly saw my idiot first cousin (our Dads were brothers) riding a girly, sparkly pink bicycle through my neighborhood.
*Let's quickly review why this is MESSED THE FUCK UP. 1) My cousin lives over 600 miles away in Cleveland, Tennessee, with the rest of his stupid, redneck relatives. 2) None of that side of the family has known where I live, or if I was still alive for that matter, for approximately three and a half years, minimum. Technically, it would be longer, only I saw them at my Dad's memorial service in January of 2009 (THIS is why I strongly believe memorial services should be "by invitation only."), otherwise I would not have seen any of them for a multitude of years, PRAISE JESUS. 3) Sparkly pink girl's bicycle. He's a 30 year old man. What the fuck?
Did I have to do a double take? Nope. Because I'm used to weird-ass shit happening to me ALL THE DAMN TIME. I am a WEIRD ASS SHIT MAGNET, as I have pointed out on several other occasions. God made me this way for the sole purpose of keeping himself entertained I AM QUITE CERTAIN, henceforth I decided long ago to just take it all as it comes at me. So I took it for what it was-- my 30-year-old male first cousin riding a young girl's bicycle through my neighborhood in tidewater Virginia.
Turns out, I wasn't seeing things, it IS a small world, and somefuckinghow his brother-in-law lives down the street where the cousin and his wife and kid (I currently cannot remember if their kid is a girl or a boy) were visiting. AWESOME.
All of this led me to mull over my "family" for a bit and laugh a little at how it didn't even occur to me to say hello even though we grew up right next door to each other, share a set of Grandparents, and of whom I have a plethora of childhood memories. This would be unusual for B, or most everyone else I know-- to let the youngest child of your Dad's only sibling ride right by you and not even acknowledge that you know him. B still sends birthday cards to his fourth-cousin-by-marriage-twice-removed and such. Not me. Heart of marble over here, bitches. There is that old saying, "Blood is thicker than water." But I figured out a long damn time ago that whoever first said that was a blithering fool and clearly NOT my kind of people. My own, personal Haley quote regarding family goes something like this, "DNA DOES NOT MAKE ME LIKE YOU IF YOU ARE A SHITTY EXCUSE FOR A HUMAN BEING. SO SUCK IT AND DIE, LOSER." (Isn't that MUCH more colorful?) I have a large family-- my Mom has six or seven brothers and sisters (I lose track, because I do not like most of them, either) and all of them (probably) have kids and their kids (probably) have kids and (seeing as how we're talking about Tennessee here) there's an excellent chance that THOSE kids may even have kids by this point. Out of all this SUPER AWESOME "family," (my immediate wolfpack--husband and kids--aside), I claim approximately five people. And two of those are dead.
Why is it that so many people love their family BECAUSE they are family, but would never give them a second glance if they were not related? Why are there so many ridiculous sayings about friends coming and going and family being forever? Family isn't forever. Families move. They die. They do really stupid things that make you spend inordinate amounts of time wondering if you could kill them and get away with it, knowing that you would feel no remorse but would actually spend the remainder of your life high-fiving yourself for ridding the world of such scourge? I choose who I love carefully, and it has nothing to do with genetics. Never has, never will. It may be said that one can't choose one's family. And I can't. But I don't have to claim them, either.