This isn’t awkward. This isn’t awkward. It isn’t awkward! I kept repeating the phrase to myself, the thoughts becoming louder and louder until my ears almost hurt, as my parents and my friends sat in our living room, eating sausages and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol (NOTE: for my family, one drink is excessive). I tried my hardest to will the not-awkwardness into reality, but — just like when I tried to will being Tina Fey’s long lost son to be true — nothing happened.
Outside, snow fell, blanketing our home, and making the scenery perfect for the day: it was Christmas Eve.
As we sat, chatting and imbibing, the lack of someone’s presence was easily noted. We pretended it wasn’t an issue, that there was nothing amiss, but we all knew the terrible truth; my brother should’ve been there. But he wasn’t.
I can’t believe this happened. That jerk. If only I had said something else. Oh, this terrible!… Oh well, I thought, mentally going through all five stages of grief in under 3 seconds.
My dad began to joke about something with my friend’s mother. What did he say? I don’t know, I was too distracted, but, knowing them, it probably involved feces, The Bachelorette, or blowing up fruit, because we are classy people.
A few minutes more passed, and then I heard footsteps coming upstairs. I looked expectantly, and it was him: the prodigal brother. He had returned, after 30 horrible minutes of uncertainty.
The last fateful time I had seen my brother was, as said, half an hour before. Upon seeing him I made an inquiry about the one request I had given him for the evening, and it set him fuming.
“What? You were serious!?” His arms came up like a comic book character, showing his frustration and disbelief.
“Um…. Yes.” I looked at him simply, perplexed at his confusion and shocked at such a dire reaction.
“I thought you were joking!”
“Um… No.” Again, I looked him up and down, one eyebrow raised in skepticism at this reaction. I saw the steam building up inside his body with nowhere for it to escape except through his mouth in loud bursts of frustration.
“You can’t do this! You can’t be serious! Greg, this is Christmas Eve, you can’t take over!” He bellowed all this at me, his indignation matched only by his incredible rate of speech.
My dad, hearing this (not unusual) level of volume and passion from my brother’s voice hurried over to resolve the conflict. Ah, my father, always the mediator; I knew I could rely on him. “What’s going on?” he asked, his voice serene as two sleeping kittens.
“Greg was serious earlier!”
My dad simply laughed. “Hah, no he wasn’t! Greg, you were joking, right?”
I looked at them both plainly, aghast at this turn of events. “Um… Nooo?”
Then my dad’s face, generally calm and kind, changed, as he too was filled with anger. “Greg, you can’t tell me what to do in my own house! I dress like this for meetings and I won’t let you tell me what to wear in my own house!”
My brother pointed one finger at me and poked me squarely in my chest, basically bowling me over because he was in good physical condition and I have the physique of a pudding cup. “Greg, you’re a Christmas dictator.” He decided he could no longer look at someone as atrocious as Kim Jong Un and went downstairs in a huff, never to be seen again (for 30 awkward minutes). My father called to him to come back, but his words fell on deaf ears. He looked at me once more, angry that I would make a request that so thoroughly destroyed our family, before returning to his work getting dinner ready.
All I could think about was the previous day’s phone call that sent this whole thing into motion.
“Hey Greg, can I bring anything tomorrow?”
“No, I’ve got the food covered. I was just wondering if you could wear something other than jeans so it’s a bit nicer.”
“Hah, right, okay. See you then.”
Well folks, it’s coming: the end, whether you’re talking about the doom predicted Friday or the end of the year. New Years is a time for introspection and reflection, where you look at what you’ve accomplished this year and what you’d like to accomplish in the coming year, often with resolutions. It’s these next two weeks where we consider how far we were from working out three times a week like we promised ourselves we would on January 1st, 2012, and decide, “Maybe in 2013 I’ll just aim to have a smoothie every now and then..”
The way we frame a passing year isn’t just in what we did or did not achieve that we had set out to, but we also think about all the big events that occurred, intentionally or not — like, say, moving to New York (whee!). However we choose to measure a year outside the obvious passage of time, whatever units we choose, are based on our own values. In that light, I’ve decided that the only appropriate way for me to conclude 2012 is to embrace my gluttony and present my 12 best food memories of this year that is so close to closing, unlike the top button of my pants.
I recently went from being an
hobo unemployed income-challenged recent college graduate to having an unpaid monetarily-liberating internship with Point of View, a nonprofit that works with PBS.
Now, I know I may be starting at the bottom rung of the ladder, but I think we both know where this is going. After all, ladders are for climbing, and yoga has given me very strong thighs. But don’t worry, I assure you: I won’t forget you.
No, when I’m running the free world as the first gay nerd president (excluding Abraham Lincoln), I’ll remember the little people. Because I am a gentleman.
When I’m looking down on you from the penthouse suite in the Bloomberg building, I’ll remember all you have done for me. And when I’m bathing in a pool of money and gold from my coffers, I will think, “This dollar bill was thanks to that one bearded guy! And I couldn’t have earned this one without the help of that girl with 3 eyebrow piercings!”
I’ll be living the life of luxury, eating matzoh ball soup in Jerusalem with Shimon Peres for lunch before going to meet Queen Elizabeth and having some Cornish game hen with her for dinner. Yes, my existence is on the verge of being more fantastic than I could ever hope, but I won’t — I won’t… Wait, what were we talking about?
Oh well, I’m sure it wasn’t important. Would you be a dear and go fetch me my vintage bourbon?
In the past week, two things happened: Occupy Wall Street “turned one” (though that seems like bad wording because the movement is mostly dead), and I became aware of the $3 Change For Change movement, which is all about supporting candidates who pursue campaign finance reform through “Money Bombs” — that is, getting as many people to donate $3 as possible to those campaigns. While these two movements might seem different, they are essentially the same. Continue reading
Being the politically active hippie I am, I have signed up for a good number of email updates from liberal PACs and candidates, including B. Rock — and this week something magical happened; Michelle Obama asked me on a date. Yes, me, Greg! Continue reading
I’m really not an exceptionally sentimental person. I don’t own framed pictures of family and friends — not because I don’t care about them, but I don’t necessarily think I need to own them since I can scour the internet and find many of them all over Facebook. But I do own one framed photo, and it’s of Nikita, my dog, from a few years back.