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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Family Vacations are Hell

I am more than half-way through the holidays. And I question the whole idea of families. Not in a bad way, but certainly in a serious way. I know there are some families that deal out more joy than pain. But those participate in a universal balance of karma by the actions of families like mine.

So here's what's happened so far, the glossy version. Maybe I'll post more details later on, but this should give you the gist of what happened:

Jenny and I survived my stupidity in a vacation in Europe. A relaxing few days in Victoria lulled us into a false sense of preparedness for a Thanksgiving get-together with my father in Vancouver, followed by a ceremonial death by a thousand cuts in California.

Despite the internal bleeding from the thousand tongue-lashings, I doggedly piled together the three families in Kona. It was emotional carnage. Body parts were strewn everywhere. Although the three families left many wounded, I was advocating human sacrifice to the volcano gods. I hate half measures. Unfortunately I was overruled.

Feeling like we had been beaten with golf clubs by an emotionally-disturbed set of feral children, Jenny and I took a break at Hong Kong and Tokyo before facing down my mother and an early Christmas in New York. Hands down the worst Christmas celebration in my life. Kona had given her plenty of ammo to maul us in classic Type A mom-style. I actually had to confiscate the kitchen knives at one point. I kid you not.

The actual Christmas day was spent in northeastern Australia, decompressing. We almost called it off there, but we strengthened our resolve and faced the final leg of our carthartic journey. Jenny and I officially greeted the New Year in Mexico surrounded by hundreds of candles under a brilliant starry night, in a hut with no electricity, an ideal place to renew.

We then moved to a more "civilized" resort in Mexico where we reassembled the three families to reprise the disastrous Kona incident, this time in 2006. If anything, this was worse than the first meeting. Each family had a few weeks to sharpen their knives, and indeed they cut deep. It was not unlike the House of Blue Leaves fight scene in Kill Bill 1: fountains of blood and lots of Asian limbs laying about.

So nearly eight weeks into our ten week family bonding plan... well... I'd say we bonded to tightly we bypassed all the hugs and kisses crap and went straight to nuclear fusion. Heck, we just blew up. The matrix of who hates who is not only too dense to unravel, it is too unstable to even treat. The good news is that the hairball is clearly beyond repair, so we won't worry too much about it. We're on oasis strategy: we'll craft a separate oasis for each of the three families, and try to keep them blissfully apart. At least until there is an indication they can act civilized.

As I write this I am in Singapore while Jenny is preparing her family for transit by train and boat for the third family vacation in Thailand and Vietnam. To respect her father, Jenny is staying with her family in their suites, and I sleep alone in mine. We will vacation for a week, prepare for a big engagement ceremony in Jenny's home town, and when that is over she will spend a few days with her family calming them down while I take a short trip to New York.

Then I fly back to spend Lunar New Year with Jenny's family at their home. Assuming I survive that without being knifed, poisoned, or merely strangled... then the ten week ordeal is over. And the real hard part can start.


Blogger Karate Kid IV said...

My deepest sympathies.

Families are something that one can't live with - or without.

And family vacations are something of a misnomer - unless 'vacations' have taken on the meaning of all our mutual assured destruction.

Like you, I've decided that they are a very, very bad idea.

1/16/2006 3:35 AM  
Anonymous VJ said...

Sig baby, This real life BS is *much* funnier than your previous stuff. Trouble creates good scenes. You can't have humor or great fun without the prospect of some pain & discomfort. This is what great literature is all about. So I'm happy to hear of all these developments.

Welcome to the real world guy, where wads of cash can only occasionally paper over family differences & where terror & trouble will stalk you like a custard filled toddler with a penchant for painting the delicate wall coverings with his feces. It'll happen to you too! Waves of servants will only delay the inevitable, so lay back & enjoy it. It'll be a long strange trip, but familiar to all cultures just the same. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

1/21/2006 11:04 PM  

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