Oy to the world

Perhaps I was mistaken when I wrote in an earlier post that I liked people...

Tonight, my brother-in-law's family had their annual (or so I hear) Hanukkah/Christmas/Whatever party, which I'm fairly certain I'd never before attended. I spent the evening sitting around talking with my father, brother-in-law, and his brother-in-law, for the most part, all of whom I like and get along well with. Nearly everyone else at the party, however, meh.

Maybe it's wrong to say that I dislike people. I think it's more that I simply don't care enough to get to know anyone, least of all people I'll more than likely never see again. I just don't feel the need, let alone desire, to make small talk with strangers, even if they're mishpocha.

I think this feeling stems from the fact that I don't have very much in the way of family, myself. I have my immediate family, of course, my parents, my brother and his family, my sister and her family, and other than them, there's not much else. My father's mother lives in Pittsburgh, as does a cousin of mine and his wife (whom I've never met), and my mother's brother lives in California with his wife...at least, I think they got remarried, while their son, my other cousin, goes to school at NYU. That's it. That's the list.

I didn't grow up with a vast network of doting grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. My family has always been spread out pretty thinly from sea to shining sea, and so the little family I do have, I hardly saw while growing up.

A lot of family died before I was born, so I never even had a chance to get to know many of them. My father's father died when Dad was thirteen, and my mother's father died...god, I don't even know. Sometime in the early 70s, I want to say, but don't quote me. Hell, my father's mother (my only remaining grandparent) is technically his stepmom, as his birth mother died shortly after he was born.

In the years since I was born, my family has seen the death of my father's sister and her husband, and my mother's mother and her second husband. I won't even try to figure out how many other, more distant, aunts, uncles, and cousins have died, though I know there's been a handful.

Getting to know, even for five minutes, someone else's family...it just doesn't appeal to me. I hardly have any extended family of my own and I really don't want anyone else's, no matter how nice they may be.

Maybe I feel cheated...


Angelkris said...

A lot of people are surprised when I tell them that I only have five cousins. Total- for both sides. The three from my Dad's side live in Vermont. I think I've met them each twice. I have two on my mom's side- on just moved back from England- living in Missouri doing military training, the other (my only girl cousin) lives in Hawaii. Those two used to live pretty close, but not since we were 10 years old or so. Needless to say, my family network consists of people quite a bit older than me. I kinda of see where you're coming from.

Boston Jen said...

In contrast, I have been in relatively close contact with even distant cousins from my dad’s family, which I guess may account for our opposite approaches to schmoozing… tee hee

Anonymous said...

I find the matter of family at a party to be rather irrelevent. What was assembled, for whatever reason/personal connection, was a group of people to get together and make merry. When I go out to parties like that, it isn't about saudering a permanent and life-long relationship so much as enjoying the company of other people (should anything else develope, well, YAY!). That you didn't is a matter of personal preference and I'm not one to say 'Do it my way' (this time).

I can imagine how something like that might cause one to become introspective but... well... I worry about it when I hear this sort of thing too much. Having spent a good deal of my life on the sidelines, I have to say that, compared to being out on the field, it's a shitty place to be. Memories become second-hand. When we root for a sports team, we are happy that they won. THEY. The victory belongs to the team on the field and they would revel in the same glory whether or not they were watched. The fan goes away happy, but isn't it kind of empty?

THIS. This is what we have. This is our game and no coach is going to call us out off of the bench and into the action. I totally respect your feelings, especially regarding a get-together like the one you discussed. I do it myself on many an occasion. But, from watching your Blogawogadoodle, you do a ~lot~ of sitting, my friend. It worries me. But maybe this is all a little too rough a shout from my soapbox, especially in your house, as it were. Anyway, just be forewarned that any eggnog you might imbibe at my get-togethers will be especially rummied up because nobody has a right to sit still with that much misteltoe hanging around.