I forgot to include this story. My uncle, let's call him Uncle Dumbass, has a truly bizarre habit. He's one of those knowitall jackasses who is convinced that he knows everything about every topic, when in fact he knows very little about almost no topics. He once got into a very heated argument with my wife about breeds of dogs. He was convinced there was a dog called an English Ridgeback. Not a Rhodesian Ridgeback, but an English Ridgeback. A few things to demonstrate how truly idiotic this is:
1. My Uncle Dumbass is, like me, from South Africa. The Rhodesian Ridgeback originated in Rhodesia, which woould eventually become Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is on the South African border. As children in SA, we actually learned about this dog in history class, as it was used to hunt lions. He apparently skipped that lesson.
2. My uncle is a carpenter.
3. My wife, on the other hand, is a VETERINARIAN. Just as she wouldn't argue with him about miter-saws and lathes, he should, in turn, probably not argue with her about dogs.
So, the scene: My aunt's dining room table... ooh! let me digress one more time because my aunt and uncle have reached a level of tackiness as to become truly glorious. Their dining room has: a) pink walls, b) a giant brass-and-white-and-crystal chandelier, and c) a giant black, white and green marble dining room table. It's stunning. If you're ever in their neighborhood, I highly recommend touring their house.
Anyway. The scene: My aunt's giant tacky dining room table. Present - my aunt, Dumbass, and moi. My aunt has cooked up a storm, and it is delicious delicious delicious. She made a few roasts (ham, beef), some various veggies, corned beef, those nasty sweet potato and marshmallow things (which was the only dark spot), and seafood curry. Curry is a staple for most members of my family, since there is a sizable Indian population in South Africa.
My Aunt: TK, aren't you going to have any curry?
TK: Mmff..ggg...chew... yes. It'll be my dessert! I'm going through the meat courses first.
Uncle Dumbass: Oh, that's right, you don't like spicy food.
TK, MA together: Huh?
UD: I forgot, your mom never made spicy food because you and your sister never liked it.
TK: What the hell are you talking about?
UD: You. You could never handle spicy food. Have you gotten better at it?
TK: Are you drunk again? I've always craved spicy food. In fact, when I was a kid, other kids rarely ate at our house because the food was too spicy.
UD: No, that's not right. You could never handle it. I remember.
TK: (starting to lose temper). I 'm starting to remember that you're... insane. What are you talking about? I've been eating spicy food for as long as I've been eating solid food. My mother makes perhaps the best curry in the world. Are you just making this up?
UD: Maybe I'm thinking of someone else.
TK: (in my head) maybe you're just a fucking dumbass.
Later on, I was lamenting waking up Christmas morning in an empty house, and he tried to remind me that I've never been that into Christmas. In fact, for my entire life, Christmas has been my favorite day of the year. I used to wake up at 5:00 in the morning and pace around my room in my Snoopy pajamas until it was ok to wake everyone else up. I still wake up ridiculously early on Christmas day.
And I'm spent. But that's a brief glimpse into the madness that is my uncle, and why I don't go around there much.