My grandpa has been admitted to hospital recently for water retention in his body (speaking of this, I think I’m a horrible grandson), and everyone in the family—aunts, uncles, wives of uncles, husbands of aunts, cousins, boyfriends of cousins, girlfriends of cousins, cats, dogs, cockroaches and more—rushed to see him in the hospital on the very day he was admitted. This was nothing hilarious about, considering he is in his seventies now. A slight discomfort in him means some hidden fucking big problem. Still, I was amused. No, not because Grandpa was in hospital. I love him too much to see him in pain—not to mention his suffering from breathlessness because of the liquid building up in his lungs.
I was amused by the responsiveness of the branches of the family. I remember that when I used to drive, I would be among the first to be by Grandpa’s side whenever I received a call from the first in line. That first-in-line being my uncle, the son of Grandpa who lives opposite him (he needs to be shot if he can’t be the first).
Once, when Grandpa had the same issue, and his son (okay, Uncle) and I rushed to his house to attend to him. He lives alone, by the way. After persuading and convincing him that seeking medical attention was the right thing for him, I drove him to the nearest hospital in the middle of the night.
As per our family’s S.O.P (Standard Operating Procedure), we activated the rest of the family once Grandpa went in the A&E. He was treated and waiting for admission when Uncle and I called the aunts and uncles to inform them of what happened.
The next morning, relatives flocked in as if the hospital was having a clearance sale for soiled sanitary pads or bloodied wire gauzes (this is how I will describe some of them). When Grandpa was fine, we didn’t hear about anyone visiting him. Not even when they stay within walking distances. However, everyone would come in extremely concerned when Grandpa got admitted into hospital. I, of course, would have the privilege of witnessing this irony that unfolded before my eyes.
When the nurses led Grandpa away for some usual checks, one of the aunts started to ask the magical question, which they have the right to anyway.
“Who sent Father in?”
“It was me.” I answered.
“Wow. That’s so filial of you.” She said with a tone of sarcasm, behind the smile she put on. “You can be sure that you’ll have a share of Grandpa’s assets when he pass on next time!”
Was there even a need for her to say that? I mean, I won’t even think of Grandpa leaving us—he is the last grandparent I have now—not to mention his “assets”. Aw, come on. I’ll have Grandpa enjoy his good health rather than any material things he is going to leave us with, and this is coming from me, a small leaf from his family branch. Can you imagine that coming from his daughter?
To make matters worst, that very same aunt commented this while we were on our way back from the hospital, “Given the condition that Father is in now, it’ll be a problem for us if he’s not dying anytime soon. His frequent trips to the hospital are going to burden us all.”
Fuck. Anyone able to teach me how to respect this elder? Anyone?
Just like the above incident that happened years ago, this time, everyone got activated because of Grandpa’s admission to hospital. I have sold my car, so I have got downgraded to become one of the last to be informed. Yes, I was terribly worried. Yes, missus was worried as well. So off we went to see him—with dragging feet. The thought of having to see some of the relatives made the already painful visit even more unbearable.
#1. The In-Charge
Usually the eldest son or daughter of the Chairman or Chairwoman, the P.I.C is the person who will be responsible for everything regarding his or her parent, including making decisions (supposedly) to their best interests. In my case, the eldest child of Grandpa is my mom, and there’s this tradition among us that’s different from many families we know. We’re a very traditional family (at least Grandpa is a traditional old man), where males are favored and they’ll have the say in family matters. Plus, my mom is a soft-spoken lady, so all her opinions or suggestions tend to get buried in the sea of noises from loud chatterboxes. The P.I.C here is the second uncle—the youngest son of Grandpa—as the elder one passed away many years ago.
I’m totally for the idea of having a decision maker in the family. After all, —siblings or not—not everyone sees eye to eye on everything. Having a P.I.C mean there will be someone to make the final decision(s) and put all arising noises to rest. Problem is, not everyone is suitable for this role.
Let me shed some light on how this Uncle (yes, the same Uncle that I had mentioned earlier. I had two and one passed away) manages and solves problems. Once, Grandpa got admitted to hospital in the middle of the night, and in the course of sending him in, this uncle and I brought nothing but only Grandpa’s IDs along. Fast forward, and Grandpa was resting in the ward on the bed.
We all know how elderly can be like children at times. They are like babies; throwing tantrums if they don’t get what they want, yet at the same time easily pacified with some “acknowledgements” of their needs. Throw in some compliments, and they will be smiling again. But we still love them, don’t we? After all, they went through the same stage when they cared for us when we were kids.
So, Grandpa, at this time, was grumbling because we did not bring along his phone’s charger and his denture-bath container. He was so unhappy; he frowned at the thought of having to have his dentures soaking in a cup and waking up to seeing his cell phone with its battery at 50%. He was so unhappy that he did not want to sleep, even though it was already 2am in the morning. In order to soothe him to bed, I told him that I would make a trip to his house (his house was a good 30 minutes [minimum] drive from the hospital) to bring over the stuffs he need. Uncle, at that time, suggested that we go together.
That’s right, together. Leaving Grandpa alone fuming because he was being unreasonable (okay, I exaggerated).
He further suggested that we could go driving our own cars. Which means two drivers, two cars, one location, and same stuffs.
He had to come along because (Grandpa was naughty. Haha) the keys to the doors were with him. I proposed to go alone, because the reasons were simple: one of us should stay behind to make sure that Grandpa was sleeping instead of staying awake to continue getting angry, and also, the keys could be removed from his pocket and put into mine (didn’t think of that, did you? Haha!).
Apparently, no. Uncle decided that my short-sightedness was not going to make the unlocking of the doors happened, and insisted on coming along—with his own car while I drove mine (Vroom, vroom! Honk, honk, muthafuckers!).
At that time, rather than pacifying the fuming Grandpa, I had to—in the middle of the night—discuss with and convince Uncle that driving two cars to and fro wasn’t a feasible idea. After a lengthy discussion, Uncle finally relented.
His decision? We would all go together in one car. YEAH! That was indeed some breakthrough in human intelligence worth recording in the books (sarcasm level 99).
I have to say I love Grandpa a lot. He was the wise old man that we could always rely on when difficult things such as deciding on how many of us should bring back his heavy charger and huge denture-bath faced us right in our faces. Grandpa, the wise old man, started to pay attention to our discussions. In his usual nice tone, he offered his humble opinions to Uncle by saying, “Are you stupid or what? Can’t you just pass the keys to your nephew so that he can just make a quick trip back to bring it over?”
No one defies the King. NO.FUCKING.ONE.
Uncle then did the act of a filial son—following the instruction of Grandpa—and passed the keys to me. Not without reminding me which doors each keys were for. He was so important; I could have broken the keys if it weren’t for him.
As you can probably see by now, the problem solving capability of this P.I.C has defied description; I’m an absolute asshole if I were to disagree with him.
#2. The Broke
We all have that few relatives that are always broke—financially. Unless we are all Tony Starks, all we can do is to only pity them and feel sorry for the plights they are in. We love to help if we can, but we have our tables to put food on; we can’t help in any monetary ways but only pray that they can soon work their way out of the poverty cracks that they have fallen into.
I am glad to say that none in our family falls below the poverty line. Everyone is fortunate to have a roof over his or her head, and none of us have to face the problem of not knowing where our next meal is going to come from.
"I'm so much richer now."
You may ask, since none in the family is poor, where does this relative come from to even make this a point worth mentioning? Well, sadly, in my family, there is this aunt of mine who—although holding a day job—is always poor. Remember the one that said Grandpa would be better off dead? Yep, that’s her.
Allow me to introduce you to this aunt of mine. I grew up playing with her two kids—my younger cousins. My cousins were great to be playmates with, but sadly, we don’t get together now as much as when we were kids. Now, back to my aunt.
This aunt of mine would always be in debts of some form. You see, we could all understand—and help even—if the debts were to come from housing mortgages, or instalments for furniture and fittings. What baffles us (us, being all in the family), even until now, is the fact that she’ll always be in debts from her gambling addiction. Since the day I knew her, not a single day passed by without hearing about her borrowing money from some moneylenders from the gambling dens.
I remember how we would always get calls from her saying she had moved, because the price offered for her house was just right for her to profit from the sale, and she would be paying off her debts with the money. That’s the thing about gamblers—they don’t fucking stop after they pay off their debts. She would move, sell, pay off debts, buy new house and get another mortgage, only to sell again when she got debt-ridden again. This cycle had been going on for as long as I remember, until the housing authority banned her from applying for another new flat. Which means she would have to get a roof over her head from the open market. Since she was broke, where was she going to get the money for down payment? That’s right, my cousins.
In order to help in the family’s finance, my cousin (her son) had to ask for a loan from his boss for the down payment and renovation of the flat they purchased. Bear in mind that we are not talking about few hundreds or few grand. Last I heard, my cousin’s loan was still outstanding, and it’s still standing at around a 50k figure which he is at the moment repaying every month from his salary. I have to say, he is lucky to have such a nice boss.
Her daughter was made to pay for the utilities in order to further lighten the load of their family. With her problems miraculously solved, and her monthly payables off her shoulders, her paycheck is now hers to keep. With $2K on hand every month and nothing to pay for, what is she going to do with her money?
Yes! More gambling!
What do we get when we see each other? Fake fronts, angry personality and of course, requests for money.
#3. The Commentator
Let us face it—most seniors tend to comment. A lot. Perhaps because they have lived decades more than us, they felt that it was okay to be so. The same apply to some of my relatives.
As I grow older and as I start my own family, some elders—mainly aunts—feel obligated to teach me how to run my family. Don’t misunderstand; I appreciate advices from the experiences of the seniors. As much as I love the care from relatives, I am also clear-minded enough to know who are sincere, and who are just—maybe, subconsciously—showing off their wrinkles of age from their bellies.
I once attended a dinner that had auctions going on as we had our meals, together with Grandpa’s side of the family. As I had expected, it wasn’t exactly an event I would have fun attended. First of all, it was noisy. Fucking noisy. Chatterings, laughters, munching noises and not forgetting, the auctioning of items and the loud cheers and claps whenever someone bid $500 for a sack of uncooked rice.
Crazy, right? I know.
My little prince was very much an introvert like me, who didn’t like being in a place like this—noisy and crowded. I would feel extremely tired over the social minglings by the end of the day or event, so I would rest enough before even attending. Unlike me though, instead of slowing down his energy usage for situations like this, little prince would expand all his energy in one go as he communicated with us by crying. So there he was, crying non-stop while missus and I tried all ways to pacify him and calm him down.
By the time we got all sweaty over the soothing and walking around, concerned relatives started coming over to us with food, drinks, and advises.
Came this aunt from the table Grandpa was seated, with her 2 dollars worth of experience in soothing babies. All she said when she came over was, impressively, “Why can’t he stop crying? Just some noises and he’s crying non-stop. Do something, he’s annoying.”
Fuck you (on second thoughts, no, no fuck you). I felt she was as annoying.
To rub salking soda (that’s what I call when I mix salt and baking soda) to the wound, she further said, “Kids don’t behave like that. I never had problems with my kids when they were toddlers. There must be something incorrect about your parenting.”
Excuse me, but these comments weren’t going to help at all. Oh, you took the effort to walk over just to tell me this while I was busy patting my prince. How nice of you. Maybe instead of taking the time to walk over to my side, I suggest that you walk over to the nearest minimart so that you can stock up the condoms in your handbag. We recognize your need for sex following the passing on of your husband. Due to the outrageous number of fuck buddies you are having, I strongly recommend the use of condoms. Yup, you are welcome.
#4. The Condescend Comparer
I recently wrote a post about this poisonous trait I hate about some people. As a matter of fact, this is the trait that I hate most. It is very common—as common as commentators—to have relatives actively showcasing their superiority.
Yes, we know that your children are very well behaved; they are filial and we know it. However, I am confident that my mom feels the same about my siblings and I. Since mom is not talking about us to you, I don’t see the appropriateness for you to constantly repeat how good you are having in life. My father always teaches me every family is different, and every member is beyond compare.
Yes, we know that you have children taking care of your monthly payables.
Yes, I heard of how you moved to a new place.
Yes, we have also heard of how you got blacklisted by the authorities because you have used up your rights to buy a new home and to appeal to buy a new home.
#5. The Random Talker
Everytime we get together, we talk. That’s a must. We don’t get together to sit in a huge circle praying to our smartphones nor have a wager over whose battery is going to last longer playing Diamond Dash. We talk, and that’s healthy. What better ways can we connect with each other than this disgusting act of sprinkling saliva like pepper with the flapping of our lips, right?
But if that expression of love became something cruelly monopolized by people speaking with two mouths, it could be a very daunting experience.
"With these two mouths, I can speak with more efficient!"
Grandpa was admitted on a Sunday morning this time round, and by evening, almost all of us were at the hospital grabbing those urinal bags on sale (buy a urinal bag now! Comes with 2 litres of urine!). As usual, juniors like us greet the seniors when we saw them, so I was busy spouting nonsenses before I could check out on Grandpa.
“Hi Aunt. Hi Aunt. Hi Uncle. Hi Aunt. Hi dog. Hi cat. Hi goldfish. Whatup tarantula?”
This went on like, forever, and with every addressing of a senior, came acknowledgements like:
“Hi. Hello. How are you? Have you eaten your dinner? My dick’s hard. My pussy’s wet.”
Pretty standard, until I got this:
“Are you not working today?”
Excuse me? It’s a Sunday evening, and your question meant…?
Now, I’m not putting down retail jobs nor am I looking through a different pair of glasses at people who work on Sundays. I have cousins working in hotels and resorts, which require them to work on weekends, and they are earning good money. The fact that I have not been working on Sundays for more than 10 years made this question somewhat perplexing. It came to me like how I tuned the wrong frequency on the radio for the station I love.
Wrong channel, bitch!
“No, today’s Sunday.” I answered with widened eyes staring at her tits, trying to comprehend the reason behind the tits’ attractions that got her so many fuck buddies.
“You don’t work on Sundays?”
Her tits were not bouncing as she spoke. Good bras, I should say.
“No, I don’t.”
I had to turn away, because she’s going to go on and on asking irrelevant questions like “How is it possible that there are people in your family eating fruits?” I’m not joking, she did ask that question during that very visit.
Totally random. Absolutely talkative. Impressive bras.
For as long as Grandpa is going to be around—and I really wish that he will be, forever, —we will always see each other. I will not hope to not see them—that will mean…—so I will have to live with relatives of such colourful characters.
Well, at least the blessing would be this: Grandpa is still with us. As far as I’m concerned, this is far more important than bouncing tits.
I love you, Grandpa.
Andy Lawson is the average man on the street that you’ll not even trouble yourself looking at him if he passes by you. He’s sensitive to bullshit, and he hates mediocrity in most people. He is the author of his self-published book: Facts and Fiction of Fengshui: Facts that Masters are NOT Telling You. He doesn’t have Facebook or Twitter, because he hates to be associated with people who tend to be passive-aggressive online, but he does have a very limited set of vocabularies, terrible grammar, a twisted mind that makes himself God in his own twisted world and an ability to communicate with people who wish to be his friend.