Friday, September 30, 2011

Oral Intercourse

The exceptionally gifted Tony at West of Mayberry wrote a great post recently about dirty talk in the sack. (Speak Porno. Don't Listen.) After pausing for a while on "who else can hit you there?", I started thinking about the art of erotolalia. This may come as a surprise to some of you but between the sheets, Pac is a man of few words.

In fact, my vocabulary seems inversely proportional to my level of arousal. I consider myself lucky if by third base I still have access to the basics like "fuck", "yeah", "slower", "faster", "harder", "oops sorry about that" and "get off my balls". Beyond that my ability to vocalize devolves into a random series of grunts, moans, gasps, snorts and clicks. (Although I'm pretty sure that last one is my trick knee acting up.)

I could be cheeky and say it has to do with blood redistribution, but I'm not Tony. I guess talking dirty just isn't my thing. Now JB on the other hand... JB is a talker.

I always found it interesting how JB — who can't be bothered to read subtitles of a foreign film or the instructions on a bag of microwave popcorn — keeps drawers full of gay erotic novels. The ones with hundreds of pages and not one picture past the front cover. When it comes to porn, it seems our roles are reversed: I'm the one who wants to turn off all higher brain function and be spoon-fed. After all, if I were in the mood to work for my nutt, I'd be going after the real thing.

But I have to admit that once I started reading these stories, I was hooked. And as I continued to explore JB's trashy library, I began to experience déjà vu. That's when I realized where JB was picking up his distinctive coital commentary. Unless you're going to tell me "let daddy do the driving" is just a coincidence?

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy filthy, nasty sex talk from my partner. Just as long as he doesn't make me feel obliged to reciprocate. In general I tend toward being a man of action rather than words.

That sounds more heroic than saying I'm ADD and not good at multitasking.

It's not the dirty talk itself that distracts me, it's the pressure of being put on the spot to think of what to say. I'd want whatever I say to be effective and appropriate to the moment without being cheesy, repetitive or cliché. I'd want my words to pack an erotic punch while still not offending any potential sensitivities my partner may have regarding his body image, gender notions, spiritual attitudes, ethnic stereotypes or mother. And I'd want to do this all while maintaining an erection.

Or I can just hand the keys to my animal hindbrain, cross my eyes and howl like a gorilla who got his bananas locked in a Samsonite. (Oh yeah, I had to reach way back for that one.)

At a bar a few years ago I hooked up with a hot guy who took me back to his place. Things got pretty intense and just as we hit the short strokes, he caught me completely off guard by shouting "SAY SOMETHING DIRTY!"

Sadly the moment was lost when the only thing that came to mind was, "You've got dust bunnies the size of cantaloupes under your bed?" No, I didn't say that.

I didn't say anything.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Metaquestions

My friend Jim over at Jim's Stuff was asking questions yesterday. To be more specific, he was asking questions about questions. Handsome and inquisitive... that's hot.

One of the reasons I keep Urban Dictionary bookmarked is because I can often find words I need that ought to be in Webster's but aren't. At least not yet.

(The other reason I frequent Urban Dictionary — along with WikipediaIMDB and Wikizilla — is to decode StevieB's pop-culture references which I know must be hilarious, but often zip right over my head. This used to make me feel like this until I realized StevieB is sublimely this. Oops, wait... I mean this.)

I'm a big fan of meta-thinking, so Jim's post is right up my alley. I once got so overwhelmed by my to-do lists that I made a list of my lists. I called it my meta-list. Then I crashed for two days and forgot where I put it. Anyway, the questions Jim was asking were metaquestions; questions about questions. For example, why do people feel the need to ask if they can ask you a question?

      (Hey... did I just ask a meta-meta-question?)

            (Ooo, and what kind of question was that?)

I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. If you haven't heard a Yooper speak, just imagine a scene from "Fargo" or "Strange Brew", and you'd be close. Not exactly, but close. Yoopers have a habit of ending nearly every sentence with ", eh". For example:

   "I could eat pasties every day of da week, eh."

I'm not sure if "eh" is a word or just a sound, but it has the effect of turning the most straightforward, unequivocal statement into a question. I've always wondered, what drives our instinct to speak like this? Is it simply a way to add emphasis to what we said, or are we looking for affirmation?

Considering the instinctive response is, "You betcha, eh," I'm guessing the latter. You'll notice this response to the original statement-cum-question comes punctuated by its own verbalized pseudo-question mark, soliciting further affirmation. This results in social exchanges such as:
   "Cold out dair, eh."
      "You betcha, eh."
         "Ya, eh."
            "Worse den last year, eh!"
               "Oh ya think so, eh?"
                  "Fer sure, eh."
                     ...
I call this an "infinite yoop".

But my primary concern is this: how insecure do you have to be that you need affirmation for practically every thought you express to others?

I'm just grateful my college roommates helped train me to overcome my yooper speech characteristics with their persistent mockery and unrelenting ridicule. And I'm happy to say I no longer require this type of constant affirmation.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Google±

I don't like feeling left out of the loop when it comes to cool, new things. So I was excited yesterday when I saw Google finally blessed me with Google Plus access. After clicking on the "+You" and setting up my profile, I started having second thoughts and stopped short of adding any friends.

After all, it's been so long since I've checked my Facebook that I have no idea what half the people on the planet are bitching about. I've been specifically trying to avoid the family drama playing out on Facebook, and now my family seems to be divided between the "sign this petition demanding Facebook return to the old design" camp and the belligerently indifferent camp.

If I did participate, I'd have to side with the latter camp. I've been on Facebook long enough to see several design tweaks and evolutions. If Facebook never changed, its membership would still be limited to college students and these people would have to find something else to complain about.

It's obvious that some people really dislike change. What gets me are the ones who think they're entitled to immunity from change. I'm all for taking a stand, but pick your battles. It's not climate change. It's not Darfur. It's Facebook. Of all the ways of making life more complicated and disappointing, the surest is expending much more energy resisting the inevitable tide of change than adapting to it.

Do I really need another social network? If I do this Google+ thing, it's going to be what Facebook originally was: a fun, happy place to connect with like-minded friends. Back in those heady days when the power and possibility of the Internet heralded a future of utopian optimism. Those carefree days before I realized it doesn't matter how far away I move away, I can still experience all the instantaneous, unbuffered right-wing dogma, domestic strife and hormonal imbalance my family has to offer.

As I considered all of this, I noticed a little red "1" in the corner of my Google+ home screen. A notification. Already? I've only had a Google+ account for five minutes. I haven't added a single friend. You'd think my life experience up until now would have taught me to be wary of red flags. Evidently not, I clicked it.

Someone added me to their circle. My sister-in-law. Make that ex-sister-in-law, now that the divorce is final. The same person who recently unfriended me on Facebook because she wanted to sever all ties with the family of her ex-husband and make a fresh start.

Sigh.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Septemblur

It's not often I start a blog post with the title. In fact, I find the title is usually the last and most difficult part of any post. Usually it's half-assed because I'm done writing and I want to hit "publish" and move on. Or it's something I think is witty and appropriate at moment but later makes me wonder what I was thinking. And when I occasionally change the title after publishing, Blogger maintains a ghost of the original title in the URL. I kind of like that.

I try to look at my calendar first thing every morning. (Okay, but at least tenth thing.) I hate being surprised by alerts for an early meeting I'd forgotten about or, worse, were scheduled since the previous evening as my boss has a habit of doing. Working with off-shore teams in India, meeting opportunities tend to push the traditional boundaries of the business day.

Something caused me to do a double-take at the calendar this morning. September 22nd? Already? Wasn't it just August? What happened to Summer? What have I accomplished? What's the Guinness Book record for consecutive rhetorical questions?

It doesn't help I've been under the weather all month. Bronchitis and a sore throat finally sent me to visit my new doctor. (Still working on a name for him.) A week later and the antibiotics don't seem to be helping. I really can't wait to feel normal again.

I'm reminded of the Fall of 2003 when I returned home from Mom's funeral with a scratchy throat. By the time that particular rhinovirus finished playing my body like a pinball machine, it was 2004. What I learned from that experience was how much the mind affects the body and it's ability to protect and heal itself. I felt like I let my guard down, and paid the price for it. It's good for me to remember that.

So here is today: September 22nd. The final day of Summer. With exactly 100 days left to make the most of 2011. And with new resolve, that's exactly what I intend to do. Just as soon as I take care of one last thing I forgot to do yesterday...

Happy Birthday, Dad, I miss you.

7-year-old Pac and Sis with Dad.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rinse, Spin, Dance

We've known this day was coming for a long time, but there was finally no putting it off. It was time to say goodbye to our old washer and dryer. And by "say goodbye", I mean go to work while the JB stayed home yesterday to wait for Lowe's to take away the 18 year old Kenmores and leave a shiny, modern Samsung laundry duo in their place.

Out with the threadbare, elasticly-challenged tidy whities, in with the sleek, platinum, front-loaded Baskits.

For the past few months, the dryer still kinda worked but it wouldn't cycle off by itself. JB lost whole nights of sleep worrying about me wandering off leaving the delicates tumbling ad nauseum until they finally burst into flame taking the house with them. I can't blame him, it sounds like something I'd do.

It was bad enough when the dryer did work, it would stop with a loud, jarring buzz. Not exactly a buzz, the sound was reminiscent of when I was fifteen trying to learn how to drive stick. It was enough to make anyone's hair stand on end. Anyone but me, evidently because I rarely heard it. This was a constant source of friction in our household. I can't count the times JB would leave the house to run errands, but not before leaving strict instructions: "When you hear the buzzer, take the clothes out of the dryer, put the wet clothes from the washer into the dryer, and fold the dry clothes. Got it?"

"Yeah, yeah." Bzzzz. Whatever. It was only an hour later hearing the sound of JB's key in the lock that my hair stood on end.

When the dryer finally refused to run at all last week, I considered trying to fix it. It was obviously a problem with the timer, maybe I could find a replacement on the Internet and replace it myself like I did a couple years ago when the heating element fried. But JB nixed that idea. He didn't want to spend the next six weeks in the laundromat. And he finally wanted to get a good night's sleep.

So Sunday we went washer and dryer shopping. I'd much rather spend an afternoon at the Apple Store, but JB promised margaritas if our mission was successful. As is typical, I was drawn to the units with the most light-emitting diodes while JB was looking for a bargain. I was shocked when the sales associate informed us that, to his knowledge, none of the 2012 models are Wi-Fi enabled. JB looked at me like I was nuts, even after I explained how a laundry app would be helpful for reminding me when its time to change loads.

We compromised on the Samsungs after seeing they were on sale. And shiny. And call me prejudiced, but I don't think I've ever seen a dirty Japanese person. I recalled news reports from the latest earthquake showing people brushing dust off their sleeves even as they dodged falling debris. What is Kenmore anyway? Sounds suspiciously Irish.

When I got home from work Monday, the old washer and dryer were on their way to the farm and the new Samsung Laundry System was all hooked up and ready to fluff with honor. "How do they work?" I asked, expecting to see stacks of freshly folded laundry.

"I don't know yet..." JB answered sheepishly, holding out the instruction manuals. Twenty minutes later, the first load was spinning at a blinding 1200 RPMs with a soothing, barely audible jet-engine whine. Contrast that with the Kenmore which spent every spin cycle plotting its escape the laundry room, banging against the walls like Meg Ryan faking an orgasm.

Then into the dryer. We opted for the default "normal" setting, mainly because I was still only halfway through the washer's manual. The technological miracle occurred when the clothes were dry, and the machine stopped on it own. Then it began.

"Ding." Nice.

"Ding, ding, ding..." Okay.

"Ding, ding, dah, ding, dah, ding-a-ling-a-ling..."

The electronic concerto continued for another two minutes as JB and I looked at each other with disbelief. Just when it sounded like it was finished, the next movement would begin. It sounded like a classical ice cream truck. I half expected a mob of high-brow children to rush through the door, waving tens and twenties.

"Oh hell no..." I flipped open instruction manual for the dryer. "There's got to be a way to shut this music off."

"You find it annoying?" JB asked.

"You don't?"

"Can you make it louder?"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sleep Impact

As Pac's Pad approaches its first anniversary, I'm learning something interesting about keeping a blog. All those annual cycles and patterns I always suspected are now backed up with documentation, and sometimes pictures. That's how I've confirmed I always manage to get sick this time of year.

The JB is funny about contagious illnesses. Half of his brain is aware they're caused by germs that can be spread from person to person and that, regardless of the type of germ, doctors will try to cure you by writing a prescription.

But the other half of his brain runs on a mixture of Mexican superstition, voodoo and sweet agave nectar. On this side of his mind, people can -- and often do -- cause illness or give you other types of bad luck by making you the target of their "ojo", or evil eye. For this the cure is a ritual involving prayers, a cup of water and a chicken egg. I'm not kidding. Wikipedia says:
"Mexican folk concepts of disease are based in part on the notion that people can be victimized by the careless or malicious behavior of others.[citation needed]"
All I know is that my huevos are sleeping on the couch. Is that citation enough?

This is how I ended up in the living room yesterday morning around 5:30 when I was awakened by a noise outside. Our condo is relatively secure, with controlled access to the lobby, hallways and car port. Once inside this common area, the only way an intruder could enter our home is by breaking in through the door from the hallway or by climbing onto our balcony and breaking in through the one of the two sliding glass doors into either the master bedroom or the living room.

Although we live on the first floor, our balcony is elevated about sixteen feet above the tree-lined courtyard. Okay, the real-estate listing called it a "tree-lined courtyard". It's a parking lot. Theoretically, a burglar, rapist or evil clown could jump the property fence or, if he's really lazy, follow a car in though the gate, then climb onto our balcony and break into our home. The climb to our balcony would probably require some sort of ladder or grappling hook. That is, unless there were a large vehicle, say a truck or SUV, parked directly underneath. Which there usually always is.

Now that I've detailed on the Internet how rapists can break into my bedroom, allow me to continue my story.

Knowing the balcony is a possible point of entry, I always keep alert to any noises coming from outside. So when I heard someone moving around out there yesterday morning, I was up like a shot. I instinctively reached under my bed for the baseball bat, only to jam my fingers into the side of the couch. Fuck, that's right. As I sat up and my eyes focussed through the sliding glass door, I saw a shadowy figure which I instantly recognized. It was JB. Naked. Watering the plants. And not with the watering can.

He stood leaning forward with both hands on the balcony rail, pissing into the plants with quite a bit of overshoot falling into the darkness below. There may or may not have been cars parked down there, I desperately want to believe there weren't. I shudder imagining how that association tribunal would go down.

If I didn't know JB any better, my first reaction would be to slap some sense into him. But after dealing with his sleepwalking for fourteen years now, I can confidently pass along this advice, should you ever find yourself in a similar situation: It's very important that you do not attempt to wake the sleepwalker. Unless you're into water sports, wait until the urine stream comes to a complete stop, then commence slapping.

And when the stream did finally stop, JB didn't go back through the door into the bedroom, which he left wide open. He turned toward the living room door and began walking. Powerless to do anything to stop him, I watched him walk right into the glass with a thunk! That distinctive kind of bone-on-glass thunk that says, "Grab the Bible and a baggie and meet me at the dumpster, we're having a birdie funeral as soon as the twitching stops."

Being the compassionate guy I am, of course I burst out laughing as I watched him bounce backward two steps before shaking it off and trying again. Thunk! Before he could muster a third attempt, I unlocked the door and let him in.

"What on earth are you doing out there?", I asked.

"Using the restroom," he replied absently, yet with full certainty of my being an idiot for asking such a stupid question.

I led him back to bed and a minute later he was snoring. All day at work, I couldn't wait to get home and tell him about his early morning adventure. At first he didn't believe me, as I knew he wouldn't. But I had proof. No, I didn't take any video. Although I thought about it, and even had my phone in my hand the whole time. I just couldn't bring myself to record him.

Instead I showed him the schlong print on the sliding glass door, complete with dribble.


Stay tuned for next week's episode when Pac asks a Home Depot associate in which aisle he might find their Mexican-strength chicken wire.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/14

Most of the guests had already arrived and more were still trickling in. One thing I liked about that apartment on Greenwood was how spacious it was, but now it was feeling rather cramped. With all the cars parked along the street and guests still arriving, it was going to be hard to pull this party off as a surprise.

I was amazed at the turnout considering the short notice. The invite had only gone out that afternoon. I was overwhelmed by this display of love and generosity, and I said a silent prayer of thanks to God for bringing such wonderful friends into my life. Into our life.

But I also realized they probably needed this get-together as much as I did, and I think they were grateful for the opportunity to celebrate. This was backed up by the fact many of my friends brought guests, some of whom I was meeting for the first time. I'd told my friends they could bring guests, but I honestly never expected even half of them to show up at eleven o'clock on a Thursday night. Yet every single one of the friends I invited was there, plus some new ones.

Some people brought food, others carried bottles of wine and cartons of beer. My friend Laura, ever the leader, took charge organizing the food into an inviting buffet. Hot Toddy, of course, took on the job of bartender without waiting to be asked.

I took the phone call outside on the deck, hoping JB wouldn't hear the sounds of a lively party going on inside his own house. Despite feeling I've lost all control over the event, I still wanted it to be a surprise to him. After hanging up, I rejoined the party. "Ten minutes!" I shouted over the music. This seemed to ramp the party up another notch as I grabbed the cold beer Toddy held out for me.

I gave up any notion of trying to turn off the lights or shouting "Surprise!". I decided it would be enough just for JB to walk in on this amazing spectacle. And the look of bewilderment on his face when he came through the door told me we'd hit a home run.

JB always looks handsome in his flight attendant uniform, even at the end of a long trip. And this one was longer than most. He let go of his rolling suitcase to wipe away tears with the back of his hand as one friend after another welcomed him home with hugs. Toddy put a glass of wine in JB's hand.

It was one of the funnest and happiest parties I'd ever been to, let alone hosted. And it was over in the blink of an eye, with the last of the guests leaving by 1am. Most of them had to work in the morning, after all. When it was just myself and JB, I wrapped my arms around him and, for the first time since hearing his voice on Tuesday afternoon, lost my composure. "Don't ever do that to me again!" I said into his shoulder, half laughing and half sobbing, my tears absorbing into his starched white shirt.

"I sure hope not!" It wasn't much of a promise, but it was the best he could do. I knew he wasn't about to quit the job he loved so much, and I was proud of him for that. I was just glad he was finally home. Three days later than scheduled, but he was home.

Hard to believe that party was ten years ago today.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For, Pac

I was looking forward to Fall, but instead got a case of seasonal whiplash. I know it's just a temporary weather fluctuation and I'm sure we'll have plenty of sweltering days left before Winter. It doesn't help I've come down with a chest cold just as the air turned cool and damp. I've also been putting in some late nights at the office the dark drive home is a jarring change.

After having what seemed like most of August off, JB has been flying his ass off and is currently on a 7-day trip. As is typical, those little luxuries of bachelor life that smack of sweet freedom when I'm deprived of them lose their shine when the quiet loneliness sets in. Little things...

  • Like being able to watch the History Channel on the HD flat-screen in the living room instead of being exiled to the old standard-def plasma in the bedroom. (Every night this week I've fallen asleep on the sofa immediately after turning on the TV only to wake up and find Tivo turned the channel to record one of JB's reality programs anyway.)
  • Like being able to go out for beers after work. (Beside being slammed with work projects and getting home late, this cold has me wanting nothing more than to cocoon. Any energy I might have left at the end of the day would be better spent at the gym than the pub.)
  • Like not being pushed and pecked to pick up after myself and do little chores after a long day at "work". (As I run out of clean clothing options, as the cats stand by their empty dish judgmentally glaring at me, and as this place begins to remind me of what my bachelor hovel once looked -- and smelled -- like; I'm reminded how much JB does himself around here when he's not flying.)
  • Like being able to choose whatever tickles my fancy for dinner rather than having my menu chosen for me. (And shopped for me. And cooked for me. And ready and waiting for me when I get home from a long hard day.)

Maybe by writing this down, it'll stick in my mind when JB gets back home next week and has the rest of September off.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Spamily Flame Night

It's been a week of bad decision-making on my part. Which means my long weekend will be all about damage control. It's bad enough when a holiday weekend starts out with a long list of household chores. Now I have to add formal apologies and ruffled-feather smoothing on top of that.

I need to remind myself that these situations can be learning experiences, and that I need to better manage in the future how my emotions guide my actions.

Let's start with a hypothetical example. Say your best friend, while on a business trip, has the opportunity to casually socialize with your long-time online crush, even before you ever got the chance to meet said crush in person. Should you:

a.) Encourage the meeting, taking satisfaction in the idea that two people you respect and admire have the opportunity to become friends because of you? 
b.) Encourage the meeting, but secretly worry that your online crush might find your best friend attractive and that your best friend might take the opportunity to get back at you for that time you slept with his ex?

c.) Prevent them from meeting by not bothering to help arrange it at all? 
d.) Encourage the meeting but tell your online crush that your best friend has pesticide-resistant crabs, then tell your best friend that your online crush is self-consciously germaphobic so please don't call attention if he hesitates to shake your hand or use the same toilet seat?

In this completely hypothetical example, I chose D. And now I feel a passive-aggressive twinge of guilt about that. Hypothetically.

Now for a less hypothetical example. Earlier this week, I publicly snapped at a family member. By "publicly snapped", I mean I cyber-pantsed him in front of family, friends, complete strangers and a handful of career politicians.

Somehow, after my dad's funeral in Feburary, I made it onto my uncle's (Mom's brother) right-wing political rambling e-mail list. After months of silently deleting conspiratorial missives regarding our President's citizenship status, and how Barak Hussein Obama wants to sneak into the homes of capitalists to rape them in their sleep... I finally had enough. It didn't help I just got home from a particularly unproductive evening at the bar knowing my best friend was crossing time zones to hijack my fantasy life... er, sorry. Suffice it to say I probably wasn't in the best frame of mind to be sorting through my inbox.

I love my uncle, and don't believe for one second that he's a bad person. I know he's just forwarding whatever resonates with his beliefs, and that he doesn't write this crap himself. Although he does often add his own thoughts to the top, like "Yeah! Where IS the birth certificate?" or "Yeah... How come Obama didn't have any girlfriends in high school?" or the ever-witty "WAKE UP AND THINK SHEEPLE!" And every single e-mail ends with the same inspirational quote by Edmund Burke.

He doesn't seem to understand how ironic that quote looks under a message like this:

Wow, a two-fer. How... efficient.

Maybe it was the volatile combination of liquor and jealous sexual frustration, but for the first time Tuesday night I finally took my uncle's favorite quote to heart. He'd just sent another rant about illegal immigrants, this time about a wily Mexican named "Jose Illegal" and an unfortunate "American" named "Joe Legal". (I quote "American" because Joe could actually be of Irish, African or -- like my uncle -- Croatian descent. The term "American" as used in the e-mail should imply a nationality, not a race.  "American" can be used to refer to a race when speaking about indigenous peoples including those of Mesoamerican descent which, ironically, include the majority of people from Mexico.)

Whatever merit this moral parable might have carried in a legitimate discussion about immigration policy and the abuse of public tax dollars was lost because of the names given to these two characters. I mean, you can't possibly have a hispanic-sounding name and be "legal", right? If they chose "Jose Illegal" and "Jesus Legal" then my beef would be moot. Okay, maybe not.

I know I've made fun of the JB's family on occasion, if only because I mistakenly thought my own Wonder-bread family suffered from a lack comedic appeal. But I love JB's family as much as my own, and at that moment I let my emotions get the better of me. I hit the Reply button and -- very politely, I thought -- told the story of my partner's family.

I wrote about JB's mom who, as a young single mother reeling from the untimely death of her husband, had the audacity to move to the U.S. from Mexico, intent on giving her children the opportunity for a better life. And how her children are all fine, upstanding, hard-working, tax-paying American citizens, with children and grandchildren of their own. Although I admit to expressing dismay with some of them intermarrying with Italians (not that there's anything wrong with that) and others becoming Republicans Party campaign volunteers (which is just all kinds of wrong).

Okay, I may have hit the "Reply-All" button. Then maybe added a bunch of friends to the BCC. And copied my ex, Joe. (Which seemed funny at the time.) It crossed my mind to wait until morning before sending it. For a few seconds.

The next day the shit hit the fan. Understandably, several of my uncle's like-minded friends on the CC list took issue with my response. The overwhelming whine was "this isn't about legal, tax-paying Mexican-Americans, this is about illegal immigrants."

"Perhaps, but the e-mail never made that distinction, resorting instead to inflammatory stereotypes and over-generalizations," I would say if I were crazy enough to actually respond to these people.

A few of the responses actually took a swipe at my homosexuality, which I guess I implied by referring to my "Mexican husband". I even got an automated response from one of the U.S. Representatives on the original CC list, telling me that she only responds to e-mails originating from within her congressional district. (Don't ask me how she determines that.)

Then my cousin called in tears, angry that I broadcast my response rather than replying privately to my uncle or calling him on the phone. Evidently, it's okay to "broadcast" offensive, ignorant nonsense, but it's highly inappropriate for the recipients to rebut using the same forum.

Then all sorts of feelings came to the surface which took me by surprise. Evidently there's a significant chunk of my family that think I don't like them and believe I'm a snob who thinks he's above them. What? That was news to me, as I've always felt they looked down upon me. Especially considering some of their attitudes toward Mexicans. And gays. And (I'm guessing by pure extrapolation) gay marriage to Mexicans.

My cousin went on to accuse me of "starting trouble" in the family and demanded I apologize to her father.

Sigh.

Of all my family drama, past and present, it was only a matter of time before it was my turn to grab a giant spoon and help stir the pot. Yes, I'm going to apologize. But I'm also going to try to use this opportunity to foster a better mutual understanding which is obviously sorely lacking.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll get off that damn mailing list.