Cafe Hitch-hike


Saying hello to wonderful relatives

I'm trying, with some sincerity, to get in touch with my father's family in Florida. I just thought I'd throw a "hey" their way to see how things have been. I don't expect any real dialogues that will bind us or build connections. I don't know, maybe it's morbid curiosity? I do know that it has to do with showing I'm still alive and I have some interest in what is going on.

To give a little background, I didn't know my father's family until I was 17, right when he died. We were estranged all my life until that point. Afterwards, we kept in loose contact. I went to Florida a couple times and got to know them. We got along alright, but they're a bit headstrong and tried commanding me on what I should do with my life (lose weight, find Jesus, not be so reserved, etc...).

I wasn't a bad kid at all, but it made my uncomfortable to be barked orders. My mom or her family never, ever did that. My step-dad's barking had more to do with rules than the kind of person I was or how I should live my life. In retrospect, I shouldn't blame myself for the discomfort. Who wants to be around others who have a consistent way of making them feel like shit?

I have two other half-sisters from my father, Princess and Kelly. They liked Princess, she's so tiny, ladylike and charming. They liked our other half-sis Kelly, she's so spunky and cool. Me? They acknowledged I was smart, but built like a moose (taller than everyone, broad shouldered, and big-chested), on the quiet side, and strange. However, they didn't keep in great touch with me or with my other half-sisters who they seemed to like so much more. For some reason I was the one who kept in the most contact for quite a while before that, too, faded away. Princess really tried hard to keep in touch, but they stopped responding and she was really hurt by that.

What happened with Princess stumped me. She had more in common with them, and she seemed more admired. In addition, her hubby was a West Point grad and our Uncle Jumpranger left the army with lieutenant rankings, so you'd think they'd have every reason to bond, man. That, and my father's fam. is upper-middle class and Princess & Hubby live that way.

I suppose if they didn't keep in touch with that, and they faded from Princess's contact sort of similar to how they faded from mine, maybe they just weren't willing to keep contact. It's not really the Latino way, but I guessed they will just be "relatives" as white people seem to have, that is, people who are related and talk once or twice each decade.

So, I'm getting in contact because I'm visiting their vicinity. I'm getting in contact out of respect; I want to just say "hello."

In some ways, I suppose I'd like to boast about what I've managed to accomplish without them. I also guess a part of me wants them to see that I've turned out okay (so far, hahah) despite my not following their commands.

Gee, perhaps a part of me feels a little good or (gasp) proud of what I've managed to do and become, despite my own shortcomings (anxieties, underpaid, a little overweight, eccentricities). Maybe I'd like to catch up with what's going on in their lives, and also showcase myself in the process. Yes, showcase myself, eccentricities and all. It's like, "I may be from the background I came from, and maybe I fall short in your commands and expectation, but yo, this is my life and this is what I've done so far. It's tough at times, but it really ain't all that bad."

So, contacting the relatives of my absent, deceased father. I might as well look up my best friend from fourth grade; I'll probably get a warmer reception there.

downwind | upstream