But really though. So I came home today, and the first thing we needed to do was go to the bank to deposit some money. (So cute, they still use traditional deposit methods). So we get to the credit union and she takes out a sock. Like the one you wear with shoes. And gives it to me. Because that’s where the change is stored. Change she got from going to the Pechanga Casino, my parents new favorite past time. My TamBram parents who wouldn’t let us play cards when we were children. That is the only activity they enjoy together. Gambling. More specifically, slot machines. And my mom stores the winnings in socks.
Anyway, back to the bank. So I get to the credit union, sock in hand, and I get to the Coinstar machine. And start pouring money in. The machine starts making clanging money-ish noises and I wonder if I should start screaming OH MY GOD I WON I WON but then I decided that I think my mother goes here on the regular and she’s not as good a liar as I am (actually she’s quite terrible I don’t know where I get it from) and she actually has to see these people again. And she probably didn’t get the mental memo that I’m trying to do an improv routine right about now, and she needs to just go with it, and tell everyone that oh, my daughter forgot her meds today, don’t mind her. I then believe I should get points for being an excellent daughter. I think someone needs to be keeping score.
I get to the teller, to cash in the coins, and he proceeds to ask me what my plans are this weekend. I can’t tell if this is what Americans use as small talk at Credit Unions in Fontana or if he’s really trying to find out if he and I can get together over the weekend. And then I remember this morning a friend told me that I was incredibly narcissistic so I figure it must be small talk and I’ve been out of the country too long. And when I say I have no plans he proceeds to tell me that we should hang out this weekend. I wonder if I can just tell him that I don’t hablo Ingles, but then I read his nametag and his name is Mario (I forgot I was in Fontana) and because I am racist I believe he speaks Spanish so that won’t work. I begin to debate the benefits of just lying and saying something came up, or just be honest and say thank you so much that would be so nice except I have a lot of Keeping Up With The Kardashians to catch up on, and it’s really a toss up. It’s been a good 2 minutes by this point and I am pretty sure I was just staring at his chest. Not in the suggestive, sultry sort of way- mostly in the totally creepy, oh my god is she really an axe murderer manner. It’s at this point I think he believes I’m mentally handicapped so he just slowly backs away, issues a never mind under his breath, and wishes me a good day. I then file this away for the records: if you don’t know what to say, just don’t say anything and people will think you either have a mental processing issue, or a severe cognitive disability. Either of which will make it so that I can continue to avoid conflict and not grow as an individual/(questionably) functioning member of society.
We finish the bank and head to the grocery store. The place I both love and hate. I love it because the people at the Fontana Winco’s are kind of awesome. In the People of Wal Mart sort of way. It’s the best. I grab a coffee at the Chevron and just stare at people. Again, in my now perfected oh my god you are so creepy/maybe an axe murderer sort of way. Which I think just gives me street cred around here/makes it so that I look normal. I mostly stare at people’s tattoos because they are amazing. Also at their urban clothing choices. Lots of exposed skin, Juicy Couture, sweatpants and tattoos. And kids. Lots of kids. Mostly happa children. While I ponder where these half breed children come from, if it’s a Romeo and Juliet sort of story, or just a plain old, I had a child with the man my family hated sort of thing, my mom is starting at me, passive aggressively trying to suggest that I am a terrible daughter for not helping her with the grocery shopping.
Which brings me to the part I hate about grocery shopping. Pretty much everything else about grocery shopping. My brother is the one in love with the grocery store and he sets the bar pretty high, and if I didn’t love him so much I would really hate him. Because, being the eldest daughter, apparently I need to have these feed the family instincts (yet to be developed) and I should naturally be incredibly helpful and pick up groceries around the store. And NOT drink my coffee and stare at people. (To be fair, I bought my mother a coffee as well, and she made me hold it because she was busy grocery shopping). Which of course, I was not helping with. I’m still staring at the happa children and their colorful parents.
Back to the grocery store and me failing as a daughter. After enough of the passive aggressiveness, I start to help at the end of the grocery line. I feel like I do my job and ask the quintessential question of paper or plastic, but apparently this just solidifies my failure because don’t I realize that at Winco’s they don’t give out paper bags anymore?? No, I did not. So plastic it is and my mom finally starts to drink her coffee as I push the cart to the car (successfully, I may add). Again, I think I should get daughter points for successfully bagging groceries and pushing them to the car. (That’s a thing, isn’t it?)
In the car my mom proceeds to tell me that my dad doesn’t want to put any more money in mutual funds. He wants to save it as cash. I offhandedly quip that oh maybe he’s going to run off to Mexico finally, when she turns around and tells me he needs to save it for my wedding.
Yes. After I choke on the coffee for a bit, I finally start to process.
“Mom…uh…so you know that I’m not in a serious relationship with anyone right?”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Also, you know I’m not even DATING anyone right?”
“Yeah, I know.”
“And you know that if/when I get married I plan on paying for it right?”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Ok so can you explain to me why you are hoarding cash to save for a wedding that we have no idea if/when will happen?”
“Oh..you know. Just in case.”
It is at this point I begin to understand. And for that I have to introduce another character into the story. The fortune teller. The FORTUNE TELLER. Because my parents finally got one. Yes, my non dating, non relationship self drove my parents to not only consult, but actually take solace in a fortune teller. Now to be clear, I am an absolute fan of this fortune teller. Because due to his predictions, I have not even heard the word marriage in the last 3 visits (which makes me one happy TamBram 27 year old almost expiring female). It gives them comfort. If I knew it would make them so happy, I would have got them one for Christmas YEARS ago. (Yes, this is suggesting that any ethnic female pushing the late 20’s get one for their parents for Christmas this year STAT.) Also, if we are talking about big data, I feel like fortune tellers are the masters. Because statistically speaking, I should be getting married in the next 2-3 years. It’s a good, objective bet. All of which to say, if your fortune teller is any good (i.e. he took stats 101) he will make ethnic parents really happy.
Which means that my parents really believe I will be getting married in the next 2-3 years. And hey, I’m not one to rain on their happiness parade. So I just nod and smile and move on to other topics. Which now include my brother. And his future wife. Let me be clear, as far as any of us know, that’s not happening anytime soon. As far as I know, he’s not even DATING anyone right now. But why should that stop parental wedding planning? Right, I’m crazy. Anyway, my mom uses this opportunity to tell me all the things I cannot do once my brother gets married (again, GOD KNOWS WHEN). Apparently, I can’t let my brother book my tickets anymore. Even if I pay him back. I should pay him first and then let him book tickets. In case his future wife gets upset at me. His future, fake wife. When she gets upset. Their marital demise will be my fault.
So I should change my treacherous ways now because my brother’s future happiness depends on my lazy ass booking my own tickets (even if we are on the same flight home and he booked the first ticket and it’s really straightforward for him to book the second one and it’s a $70 for Christ’s sake). Doesn’t matter. I have bad, sister in law scaring habits that I need to get rid of RIGHT NOW.
Sometimes I just sit back and wonder.
Maybe I was really just abducted by aliens.