Jerk

I am filled with dread at the thought of attending this year’s Thanksgiving dinner at my mother’s house. I am fearful that the fact that I have been able to dodge this annual bullet by forcing my family to go to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner will double back on me and this year I will pay, I will pay tenfold, I will pay in spades, I will pay pay pay.

I am the black sheep in my family, in that I am the only one to have chosen to go out into the greater world, go to college, actually rent an apartment from someone other than a family member, take a chance on living in a different geographical region and make a life for myself. I know that the fact that I have recently returned to my hometown to live for the last few years was taken by some in my family as a sign of defeat, somehow as an admission that they were right and I was wrong, that the world across the bridge really isn’t so great after all, and what did I go and make all that fuss about.

They are wrong to think this, because I am just about ready to hike up my skirts and take a job in the big bad city, but this is super duper double top secret, so don’t whisper a word to anyone, ok internet?

One of the things I learned about out there in the wider world was good food, and how to cook it. Until about two years ago, I made my living by cooking good food for other people. Then my back informed me that those days were over, so I turned to more cerebral pursuits, like editing bodice-ripper romance novels and obscure Chinese scientific monographs. Hey, it beats working.

The rest of my family, with one notable exception, literally wrinkle their noses and make moues of distaste at anything not made out of a box, like if it isn’t from a brand name like Kraft or Stove Top then it can’t be any good. My brother likes canned cranberry sauce, and always serves it still in the shape of the can — just like some pop art sculpture, with its well-defined ridge lines and perfect tubular symmetry. My mother, she will only eat instant mashed potatoes. Prefers them to fresh.

You see what I am dealing with here?

This will also be the first time I can’t drown my citified sensibilities in liquor, since I quit drinking this past year. Ahhh, the gifts of sobriety — perfectly functioning senses, un-benumbed-by-liquor taste buds, offering themselves up for sacrifice on the altar of familial love.

But I am a good daughter, and I love my family, so I have just made a nice batch of cranberry sauce to share on Thursday, and it’s only a few hours out of my selfish, solpsistic life, and anyway soon, if all goes well, I’ll be relocating to the big city and I can indulge my stupid pompous “sensibilities” more often by myself and won’t have to act out so shamefully on my poor, unassuming family who are, after all, happy just the way they are.

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