Wednesday, September 26, 2012


It was my cousin's birthday Monday so we did the perfunctory family dinner. It led to a good deal of amusement.

First off, because my cousin lives in San Mateo (20 min South of SF), we headed there. It was sunny. What is...SUN!

Actually. Even before that: I had gone to Costco with my dad in the morning to stock up for our big annual beach house party. (BTW: If you live in SF and want to come, we don't even have to know each other in real life yet, the whole world is invited, just DM me on the twits or email here and I'll get you details.) Then to Safeway to buy a couple other thing. By the time we got done with all that, accounting for my dad showing up at 1 to pick me up when he said 12, it was now 3. I was starving and needed to go to the gym so I shoved some food in my face and ran out the door and got to the gym, thinking I had plenty of time to get my hour+ workout in for a 6 p.m. dinner.

I'm a half an hour into my workout, it's just about 4 when my mom texts me, "We're leaving at 4:30 for dinner." I'm immediately annoyed wondering why the hell we're leaving at 4:30 for a 6 p.m. dinner. Apparently I'm mistaken and dinner is at 5. So now I gotta sprint out of the gym and go get ready. WTF are we eating at 4?! Dinner time, as has been long established in my family, is 6. I get some reason about my 8 year old cousins and bedtime and school night which is complete bs but...whatever.

Also, that I'm one of those people annoyed by having the flow of my workout screwed up is...a new one.

I've mostly decided I don't get to be annoyed about any of these absurd family things anymore since I'm the one that still lives here. Until I make a concerted effort to get the hell out of SF, this is my own fault and I'm not allowed to complain. 5 p.m. dinner it is.

We get parked in San Mateo and are walking across the street to the restaurant, where my cousin and his son are waiting out front. Because of the aforementioned sun, my cousin is wearing shorts. Which is when, from across the street I can see that his entire lower left leg is covered in a relatively new looking tattoo. Even from the distance I can make it out. It's the Louis Vuitton logo pattern but where there should be an LV there is instead the SF in Giants font. Not dissimilar to how this looks.

I am dying. I am related to someone with a leg tattoo that includes the symbols of a luxury brand and a sports team.

My family is full of questionable tattoos. My brother is covered from wrists to ankles in tattoos, including our family name in Old English from shoulder blade to shoulder blade. Which wouldn't be a big deal but my last name is ten letters long. My mother has a rose she got at 15, along with a much more tasteful ankle tattoo. My dad has a purple heart with wings that but for the grace of god/common sense doesn't have my ex-stepmom's name in it, as well a couple other random insignia. I have an LSU tattoo, as has been admitted. (I was the last, by a lot, in my family to get a tattoo. And remain the least inked in my family though the urge for more often strikes me. I am prohibited by my financial situation.) The fact that SF is so damn cold all the time means you can rarely tell that most of us even have tattoos. I regularly forget about mine. Until drunk and some guy challenges me on my team loyalty.

And this particular cousin is a bit of a thug who has, in addition to the leg tattoo, neck and hand tattoos along with the usual arm tattoos. I mean, he's a sweet, adorable, handsome guy but he's a bit of a knucklehead who has previously been in some trouble with the man. Which is a really gentle way of saying: dude's been to jail and if you didn't know better, the fact that he keeps his head shaved close, he has a bit of a neo-nazi vibe. Except that what with the Jordan's and baggy shirts, his upper middle class upbringing is aspiring to something entirely different. Oh, and this was his best friend. (Richie was a genuinely nice guy.) (My life is really odd sometimes. Ya know, just kicking it with my cop parents and my cousin's dealer to all Broadway strip clubs friend. At the same table. No big.) So it's not like anyone is gonna call him on this tattoo or that it doesn't blend with the rest of his look.

Still, something about this particular tattoo has me laughing hysterically. Quietly and to myself. I wasn't gonna insult my cousin for his aesthetic choice (he's super sensitive). But...I mean. It's the LV logo. I...don't...really understand what inspires someone to intertwine a luxury brand with their favorite sports team, but as I have an LSU tattoo, I really don't have a lot of room to judge. I guess.

The rest of dinner was fine, usual family banter. Same cousin is headed to New York for a week on vacation, I guess? The details were sketchy. But at our round table of ten, someone asked him what he'd be doing while he was there. Knowing what you do as I've described him, I start joking, "Gonna go check out the Met? Perhaps the Cloisters?" He ignores me, mumbles something about a Jets game. Our aunt to my right is cracking up. "Oh yeah, sure. He's gonna go to the Guggenheim and the Whitney..." "Absolutely. The Frick. Catch a student production at Lincoln Center. Matt! Be sure to catch the Lloyd Wright room at the Met. It's stupendous." We're on a roll. Cracking only each other up. Her and I are the only two out of the group likely to go roaming through museums on an NYC vacation.

I ordered, at this vaguely Southern restaurant, a french dip for my main course. It was actually really good. Thin slices of prime rib stacked high on a sourdough role with way too many fries on the side. I was just about done with the first half when my cousin says across the table, "What's wrong with your food?" I look at him, perplexed. "Nothing. I'm...just taking my time, I guess." I had actually been sitting there deciding if I scarf the second half or take it for lunch, and had just settled on it being the next day's lunch. "Oh. Because you aren't really eating it," he says. I forgot that amongst my cousins eating is a competitive sport. Him and my brother figured out that later in her life, sitting next to my grandmother was always a good bet because as she daintily picked at her food, you could finish your meal and then get what remained of her dinner, which was usually a lot. I laugh and say, "Why? You want it?" "Sure, I'll take it!" I think he's joking. He ate appetizers, a bowl of soup, and his ribeye entree with sides. I sort of laugh and say, "Seriously?" "Yeah...I mean...if you aren't gonna eat it." "Well. I was gonna take it for lunch but...okay, you can have it." I slide it across the table. My aunt says, "That's the best birthday present you can give him." He eats the other half of my dinner. And then declares, "I'm soooo full." Uh, ya think? The boys in my family never cease to amaze me with just how much they can put away. Damn them and their metabolisms.

The highlight for me is always the cousin's whose birthday it is 8 year old football obsessed son's comments. This kid can tell you what day of the week anything happening in the fall is on. Because he's memorized the 49ers schedule and thus can easily figure out from each Sunday what day of the week something is in relation to that. I at one point say something about October 3rd and when is that. He busts out, "That's a Wednesday!" I just laugh, knowing how he got there.

He also, at 8, knows more about football than approximately every guy I've met in SF ever. Now, his brand is pro football so we differ a bit, but I look at him and I'm like, "Damn. How much more would I know if I'd been 8 when I first loved football, not 18? If people had been around to teach me the sport even though I was a girl? If I got to use the family season tickets every Sunday?" I have weird jealousies.

My aunt, out of politeness, asks how my team is doing and I moan about, "Well, we haven't lost but...we're not doing great."

The 8 year old busts out, with his limited college football knowledge, "Because you don't have the honey badger anymore!" Oh you. Why I oughta... Mouths of babes, y'all. Though I will gladly work on talking the football obsessed kid who likes to hit things into going to LSU in ten years...

They may drive me nuts but they are endless source of amusement.

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