I recently visited Phoenix for my nephew’s 4th birthday. While there, my sister told me she’s been reading these stories. While I’m flattered and our mom would be so proud we get along as well as we do, I don’t think she’s gonna love this story. So, Meredith : I apologize for all of that which I’m about to describe.
In late 1997, just before I turned 19, just after I moved into my first apartment, and just after my mother moved to Colorado, my sister had her first child. To protect the innocent, I’m gonna say her name was Kari. My sister and I weren’t very close in those days. Our only real bonding moments were over how much we hated our younger step-sister, and to some degree her older sister, but we otherwise didn’t talk that much. This, I will blame almost entirely on myself. My sister had her own life – she’d gone off to college, then moved back with her long-term boyfriend, in order to give birth to her first kid. I, meanwhile, was fresh out of high school and wanted the least amount of responsibility I could muster while still being out on my own. In some ways, I’m pretty much the same way now.
The day my niece was born, I drove over to the hospital and saw my future brother-in-law standing outside the hospital with some friends, lighting up cigars. “IT’S A GIRL!” was the first thing he said to me. He had a huge smile on his face. I asked if I could go up and see my sister, and he said he wasn’t sure if they were allowing visitors yet, as he hadn’t seen her, or their daughter.
I walked in, went up to the room where my sister was and walked right on in. My sister was holding Kari, and she was crying and smiling. She said “that’s your uncle Mitcz!” to Kari, and kinda made Kari do a “waving hello” motion by holding her hand and squeezing it. We sat and talked for a few, and we both agreed how strange it was that she was now a mother. I kissed them both goodbye, and went outside to talk to our (ecstatic with joy) mother.
Since my sister was busy with all this child-rearing, we didn’t talk much. Our mom being 1000 miles away didn’t exactly inspire either of us (again, mostly me) to keep in touch or hangout much. It’s funny now, cause at the time, I just figured my sister and I were such different people that we’d just connect on family events and rarely ever talk otherwise. Looking back, she made quite a few attempts to reach out and spend time with me, but I usually blew her off, figuring she was just trying to do a favor for our mom by making an effort. We’re really close now, which I mostly attribute to her not giving up on me, and I’m very grateful to have her in my life and I genuinely enjoy spending time with her. But, back then, I was pretty much an aloof little shithead towards her.
In mid-October of 1998, I was tripping balls with my friends Cheyenne and Ruben. We called Ruben “The Boob”, mostly cause we were both really fucked up when we met and when he said “Ruben”, I thought he said “Booben” and I laughed for a solid 2-3 minutes. After that, he pretty much was only ever known as “The Boob”. The Boob was this hilarious young gay kid (“kid” here meaning he was 16) who lived with his grandmother on and off until he got into too much trouble and had to go to some halfway house or other. I don’t really know how the system works, and he never wanted to talk about it, but most of the time he just hung out, got high with us, and rotated his way through a series of month-long relationships. We barely knew any of them long enough to even learn their names.
After a night of getting high and tripping on LSD, we were all pretty beat. We could see the morning sun shining in through the window, and decided it was time to get to bed. Cheyenne had to go home cause she had work later that day. The Boob crashed on my couch.
Shortly after, my phone rang. It was my sister. “Hey! are you coming out for Kari’s birthday?” — “uuhhh.. sure. yeah. when is it?”… there was an angry silence. “It’s right now, Mitchell. I asked you to be here today for Kari’s first birthday. Can you come out? I wanna see you, and I want you to spend some time with your niece”.
I was fucked.
I walked into my living room, kicked The Boob awake and said “hey! I need you to join me on an adventure”. He was none too enthused, but I didn’t wanna face this weird-ass situation alone. We drove out to my future mother-in-law’s place, and walked into madness. If you thought toddler birthday parties were insane normally, try walking in with your punk-haired gay friend while you’re both tripping on LSD after being awake for 22 hours. I tried to make smalltalk with whomever I could, but I remember so very little of who was there, or what they said, or what was going on. The whole time, The Boob kept trying to stifle laughter, while pointing at various kids’ toys that he normally played with at raves.
One such toy was a talking Teletubby. I didn’t know anything about Teletubbies, but The Boob said “ohhh they’re GREAT! they mumble insane passages that sound like subliminal messages for world domination!”. This is the kind of fun humor you develop after too much acid. I picked up the Teletubby, The Boob said “push its tummy!” and it spoke. It spoke… some weird-ass language. I pushed and pushed the tummy, and it always seemed to say something different. I was determined to figure out what it was saying.
So, here’s the scene : two grown men sitting on the floor of a kitchen in the late morning hour, giggling and playing with a Teletubby while adults all around tried wrangling children. I’m not sure how long we were there, but eventually my sister just asked me what the hell I was doing. I stood up, said “ohh.. this… yeah, this thing. So funny, right? Like, what’s it saying?”. She grabbed the Teletubby from me and handed me my niece.
The Boob about lost his shit from stifling laughter. Here I am, barely able to form a sentence, holding a 1 year old child and trying to keep it together. She sounded like the Teletubby. I walked around for a minute or two, handed her off to her grandmother, said my goodbyes, and got the fuck out of there.
When I woke up the next day, Cheyenne was back and the first thing I heard was The Boob telling her “OH MY….GOD! MITCZ HELD A BABY!”, and Cheyenne told me I should most certainly avoid ever holding a baby while on LSD ever again.
I’m proud to say that I’ve successfully avoided doing that ever again. But, uhh.. sorry Meredith. Sometimes I’m a shitty uncle.
(photo credit 1Wikimedia Commons : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Teletubbies_are_still_here_2011_(6592747791).jpg )
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↩||Wikimedia Commons : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Teletubbies_are_still_here_2011_(6592747791).jpg|