I am not with my family enough to be on my guard like I should be. I know the rules, I know the politics, but I forget them, and when I am here once or twice a year, I let my defenses down and rush in to re-engaging. This is the only thing I can think of to explain what happened on Sunday.
I took a red eye on Saturday, and didn’t sleep at all. I’m not sure why, except that I couldn’t get comfortable and there was HBO on demand, so instead of getting some sleep I watched the Newsroom, Girls, and Game of Thrones and when I was finally sleepy enough to try and rest, the lights started coming on. I drove down to my parent’s house, stopping for a huge coffee on the way and getting here before 8. I had breakfast and then tried to get some rest because my sister Gina and her family would be here at one.
We had a great afternoon snacking, watching football, arguing about the Redskins and the Cowboys and catching up. I marveled at the changes in her daughters, and the incredible transformative year. At some point we left to go to the mall and ended up in the Christmas section of Sears while waiting for my brother in law’s car to have an oil change before dinner. My dad found a train set and he was checking it out because he has always wanted a train to put around one of the trees in their house.
I noticed that it was a Polar Express train and I said, absolutely without thinking, “Oh no, it’s Polar Express. I hate that movie, it scares the hell out of me.”
Everyone was immediately silent, taking in my words, and I saw Gina’s face transform. Her eyes getting bigger with glee and her expression changing and I realized my huge mistake. I; tired and jet lagged and out of practice, had admitted a weakness. Now this might seem innocuous, but in this family, it is pretty much an open ended invitation for lifetime ridicule. You are afraid of the Polar Express? They asked. Why? What? How can that be?
I immediately knew that all was lost and just resigned myself to the fact that the entire family would know within an hour, the impending train jokes, and the 72 inch HD Screen with SurroundSound viewing that I would have to climb two stories up to get away from.
So pretty much, Merry Christmas.
But seriously, that movie is seriously frigging weird, right?