fatman Find the clues!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Killing Time Before the Ceremony

My uncle is starting to look like my dad a little. He's gone greyer over the last few years and I'd be hard pressed to tell them apart from a distance. Unlike my father he has a bit more energy when narrating, say, the physics involved when he tripped over a stick the other week. 'My legs had just twisted over this bloody branch when the forward momentum-' he gestured with an open palm, '-just pitched me forward. Now I've got the leash in one hand (my uncle has a pet dingo. No kidding) and I'm struggling to stay upright...'

My mind drifts a little as he goes into more detail about his recent battle- and subsequent victory- against gravity. The Family had gathered for some coffee before the wedding celebrations kicked off and we were talking about nothing. Same as usual. We had trivial conversations about mundane things down to a fine art. The seeming impossibility of finding a spot to park the car, the price of sausages, laundry powders that make your skin itchy, slogans for bad films, the lack of coherent song lyrics in music these days were recurring topics that had been discussed over the years. Many, many times. We once spent an afternoon talking about a particular hammer. Which isn't to say that we don't discuss the Flying Spaghetti Monster or particle physics from time to time. It's just that we are comfortable with the mundane.

Rod (the uncle who almost tripped to his death) ends the conversation abruptly. He walked away from the incident unscathed, is the gist of it I gather, and will file the story away to be a cautionary tale about the dangers of sticks. Auntie Chris (his wife) and cousin Justine (their daughter) wear the solemn expressions of Easter Island statues. Perhaps they have heard the story several times before.

'Did you know that there are more donkey-related deaths than there are plane crash victims?' I say to change the subject.
'Sounds like crap to me,' says uncle.
'How on earth would anyone verify that kind of information?' asks cousin Justine. She is the director of the Victorian Public Archives and is dangerously competent.
'Just saying is all.'
My mother, who is also at the table, mentions that we should head to the chapel.


Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

Hah! Justine is your nemesis, Fatman. All those facetious remarks at family gatherings will come back to haunt you. She's going to expose you as an ignoramus without even taking your pants off.

5:41 pm  
Blogger Fatman said...

I'll say. That entire branch of the Clan subscribes to New Scientist magazine for a bit of light reading. Compared to the rest of the family I'm a drooling idiot. Heck, up until recently I thought 'Weierstrass' was a type of salad and that 'imaginary numbers' was the type of phone number you get from uninterested chicks at parties.

5:21 pm  
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