Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The sound of silence

I am dreading Thanksgiving, and the annual over-the-river-and-through-the -woods trip we take.


Because I lost my voice.

What? No, that’s too passive. Correction: a germ-infested little boy got into my bed exactly five mornings ago and, while aggressively cuddling and telling me how much he loves me, coughed a wet cough all over my face. Exactly three days ago, my throat started to hurt. Exactly two days ago, I ceased being able to speak.

And very little pisses me off more than not being able to talk. I can deal with the cough, the snot, the knifing pain in my chest when I breathe, and the generally crappy feeling I am experiencing. I cannot deal with not having a voice.

It’s hard enough not being able to talk at home. I screamed at Caroline for ten minutes yesterday, ordering her to turn off her iTouch. As I was about to detonate due to her total lack of a response, I realized she literally hadn’t heard a word I said. Even her polite friends didn’t answer my questions until I stood right in front of them and tapped them on the shoulder, at which point I got a tentative, "Uh, Mrs. Kennon? Did you say something?" (Girls, I am ALWAYS saying something!! That is a rhetorical question.)

I tried to have one of those always-enjoyable, thirty-minute phone calls with Verizon tech support, and most of it was spent with the representative saying, "Ma’am?? Are you there?"

Yes. Bad enough.

But visiting a family that’s just as weird as my own?

(Okay, Whit, I think you actually won last time we argued about that, and we’re currently edging you out in the weird and dysfunctional category. But the pendulum will swing. Just wait.)

It can’t happen. How can I yell at my children to JUST WALK AND STOP DOING CARTWHEELS DOWN THE AIRPORT HALL or say, in an exasperated voice I have perfected, "You packed it, you carry it!" I can’t ask Whit to go get me a Diet Coke. I can’t change our seats around so I am sitting by myself with my family. For God’s sake, I can’t even try to get in the Thanksgiving spirit and be nice to strangers. They’ll think I’m some sort of demented charitable mime if I start mouthing kind words about their adorable children.

And once I get there? How can I stay up late, drinking wine with my in-laws and psychoanalyzing everyone who will be sitting at the Thanksgiving table? How can I boss anyone around on Thanksgiving Day? How can I make snarky comments to my husband about his family? And what am I supposed to say when we go around the table and everyone has to declare what they’re most thankful for?

Oh, wait just a minute. I just realized something. I bet I know what Whit and the kids are going to say they’re thankful for.

I dare you, people! (And I am SCREAMING that.) (Inside my head.)

Happy Thanksgiving, particularly to the afflicted (points to herself) and those who are thankful for said affliction (points to her family).

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