Monday, June 07, 2004

Confession: I live at home. WITH my parents. It embarasses me a little, that I do. I haven't always lived at home. After high school, I moved out and into the dorms, and was on my own for pretty much the next seven years. In that time, I lived in seven different apartments, in four different countries, with varying combinations of a dozen or so roommates. I know how to do my own laundry and pay utility bills. I even have my own furniture, and my own set of pots.



I moved back into my parents' house after returning from an extended time abroad in Africa, when the condo I had been subletting was suddenly sold by the owner. I was too tired to move again--to look for a place, to find a roommate, to start over. Again. So I moved home.

My bachan and jichan (in English known as "grandparents") also live with my parents, inhabiting a small guest house on the side of our garage. They moved in when I was nine, and have been there ever since. My brother, now in his senior year of highschool, has the bedroom down the hall from mine, and concentrates most of his waking hours on mastering the final levels of disgruntled teenager-dom. Late last year, after my uncle lost his apartment in San Fransisco (and unable to find any last scrap of affordable housing in the city), he retired and moved in with us. He now spends most of his day harassing my brother.

I've been at home for nearly nine months now, closing in on a year. It's been an interesting exercise in closeness and patience, and the daily habit of preserving humor and getting along. But between the seven of us, things seem to work themselves out--daily life takes on a workable pattern, and we go on.

But then again, there are days like this:

Maddy takes the day off work for a mental health preservation day of mall food and shoe shopping.

Jichan: Where you going?*
Me: To the store.
Jichan: Why you no ask us, we need stuff? You stay go store and you no ask us, we need anything? You supposed to ask!
Me: (Sighing, loudly, in head) Do you need anything?
Jichan: Orange juice. We no get orange juice.
Me: Okay, I'll pick up some orange juice. Is that it?
Jichan: Eh. You try wait.

(Goes and argues with Bachan through the screen door for a few minutes, while I stand by the car, waiting.)

Bachan: (sticking her head around the screen door) You going to the store?
M: (how do you explain that not all stores are GROCERY stores?) Um... yeah. I guess.
Bachan: Okay. Stay wait! I come!

I briefly consider telling her that I am going shopping for non-grocery items, but decide to forgo the 20 minute lecture on "wasting money." Because then I'll just feel guilty about going shopping, and end up taking Bachan to the grocery store, anyway. It's a lose-lose, all around. Rar.

Ten minutes later (and twenty minutes after I initially decided to go shopping), we're off and running, and I spend the next two hours of my precious day off at the chinese grocery market and the 99 cent store.

(arriving home.)

Jichan: You get orange juice?
M: Yes, we bought orange juice. It's right here.
Jichan: This small!
Me: What do you mean, small?
Jichan: You supposed to get big!
Me: What?
Jichan: Big! Like gallon! This small!
Me: That's all they had. (This is a lie, but I'm NOT going back to buy ANOTHER bottle of juice.)
Jichan: (grumpily nods and stalks off.)
Me: ARARARARARARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



*Reading back over this, I realize that it makes my grandparents sound like they don't know how to use helping verbs, which in fact, they don't. My family is from Hawaii, and so they speak like they're from Hawaii, and while I hate writing in accents, if I didn't, you might be left with the impression that my grandparents are both totally normal, and they're not--they're loving and wonderful, and totally crazy, and drive me crazy, and the craziness which with they cause my head to explode is all spoken in Hawaiian pigeon. And that's the closest to reality that I can get.

posted by m at 1:56 PM



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