Friday, April 23, 2010

Conversations with Siblings

There are six of us siblings. A nine year span from oldest to youngest. Though between the six of us there is more than nine degrees of thought separation. Yet we all get along. More or less. It's a slight danger to society to let us out together in public. You never know if someone will end up scaling a brick wall (we played The Spiderman Game as children -led by our father, naturally enough. He also made up the game), threaten to start a fight if people don't quit staring at the kilt-wearing males (who unfairly look better in a skirt than I do), hang spoons off noses at a restaurant (most often our own) or burst out into song and/or dance. Because after all, life should be a musical like The Pirates of Penzance or Everyone Says I Love You. When we're together, anything could happen. Add my parents into the mix and then I truly do mean anything

Now that's action. I live 700+ miles away from 4 out of 5 of my siblings (and from my parents). So the actual potentially dangerous times we're all together are limited to holidays. Praise be (I'm sure someone is saying). I owe a great debt of gratitude to modern technology. Mostly to the cell phone. Reach out and touch someone. Stay Connected. Can You Hear Me Now? The cellular phone allows me to bond with my family in a way that's much safer than actual face to face interaction, ie., Conversation.

Here's a small sampling of what my life of conversations with my siblings is like.

My younger sister calls me all the time. Our conversations should be taped and aired. She's hilarious. Plus she's a talker. Often times the conversation is pretty one-sided. I mean it's spoken by her and only interupted by my choking laughter.
Recent comment regarding our family:
Younger Sister: "We're good people. We have morals. We don't always follow them but we have them."
Yes, true. It feels a little like a Alfred P. Doolittle kind of morality. Too bad we can't get paid for it. Where are rich American moralists when you need them to die and leave you an inheritance?
Another time the phone rings and I answer, "Hello?"
Younger Sister: "Are"
Me: "Hippopotami."
Younger Sister: "Are hippopotamuses mammals or amphibious?"
Me: "Mammals means they have live young. Amphibious means they can live both in and out of water. I think you're confusing amphibious with reptilian."
There upon follows a heated argument where she tries to convince me I'm wrong even though I've just looked up amphibious in the dictionary to be sure and read the definition to her.
Younger Sister: "Okay, so maybe I got amphibious confused with reptile. Well, do any other animals besides humans have sex for fun?"
Hold up. There's a gear shift. But I suddenly feel like the all-knowing. First because she'd ask me something like that at all. And second because I know. I'm not sure if I should be alarmed or glad that I know this.
Me: "Dolphins do."
Younger Sister: "Really?"
Me: "Pretty sure."
Younger Sister: "Well, (ever the skeptic) google it tomorrow and let me know for sure."

The next day the phone rings and I answer, "Hello?"
Younger Sister: "I googled it after we talked and dolphins do have recreational sex. Also they have homosexual tendencies."
Me: "That's interesting. I think I'd heard that."
Younger Sister: "We should start a church against the dolphins of Sodom and Gomorrah. Empty the oceans until they mend their wicked ways." I imagine her pounding her fist into the air. The conversation only got crazier from that point on. Somewhere in the midst I nearly died by guffawing. Before hanging up we both agreed that maybe we shouldn't be allowed to talk with each other anymore.
That resolve lasted less than 24 hours.
She and I both have this fear that our conversations are monitored by the government. Mostly due to something regarding a passport and a microwave. But I plead the Fifth on that. Neither wild horses nor homosexual dolphins could drag the story out of me.

My youngest brother also calls me frequently. Most often when he's bored. I'm like the boredom buster for the White kids. Or maybe I'm just a last resort. "I've reached the end of myself. What else can I do but call my sister?" Some gene was activated in the younger sibs which makes them highly entertaining. My brother should have a stand-up show or something. I'd watch it. I'd pay to watch it even. Often times I write down the things he says and put them in a short story later on. He loves that. He also says that helps him talk with me at his top game. At his funniest because he knows there's the potential reoccurance of his words.
A recent conversation:
Me: "I wrote some lyrics and I was thinking that maybe you could do some rap on it once I've got it worked out."
My Youngest Brother: "You already do the beat?"
Me: "No. I figured I'd write the music or if you wanted to you could, but it has to be sung by a woman. That's the point of the lyrics."
My Youngest Brother: "I can't do beats. Everytime I try to do a beat it sounds like something the devil is gonna pop out of."
I nearly fall of the couch as I envision the devil popping out of a beat. Of course, he's wearing red and carrying a pitchfork. This is not an Angel of Light devil. Beat popping devils are horned and mustachioed. Obviously. I wipe the laughter spit from my chin as I write my brother's words in my handy notebook. After my spasms have died down I tell him, "Okay. I'll write the music then."

My older sister and I have a great enduring relationship. Mostly united by movie, book, and inside joke quotes. We don't need a lot of sentimentality or constant connection.
She and I talk mostly by text or when I'm in town. Occasionally by email. Word to word conversations only happen when we've really got something to say.
Our conversations go something like this [by text]:
Older Sister: "The Intercostal Clavicle!"
Me: "Ha! I can't give you anything but love, baby."
It makes a lot of sense if you know the movie Bringing Up Baby. Which I promptly went online to buy so that she and I could watch it together when I came into town. "Look, David, I was born on the side of a hill."
Older Sister: "I just had a george mcdonald goblin princess moment. Now i need 2 read it again. Remember mom readin it 2 us as we drove thru the virginias?"
Me: "Absolutely. I haven't read that in forever. What kind of goblin princess moment?"
Older Sister: "Just a feelin. Sittin on da bus listenin 2 music. I thought thats da goblin princess and had a sudden stronge desire 2 be a goblin."
I remember making some weird allusion about her and I being two old ladies living in a haunted house and having lizards for pets instead of cats. I'm not really sure how I got to that but what can I say? We have a connection. She understood.
Older Sister: "Why i wanted 2 be a goblin i don't kno. I think they were the bad guys. Yes?   But i like ur idea."
Which means I'd better find a cool, creepy house to buy so we can live out our lives in peace with our lizards.

My Second Youngest Brother goes through long batches of silence. He's a quiet one. But not quiet enough. He lived with me for a year and a half and was always thoughtful enough to keep me in my place.
A roughly reinacted conversation from an era gone by:
Me: "I'm going to bed."
Second Youngest Brother: "Your mom is going to bed."
Me: "Dang it. No, your mom is going to bed."
His silence is enough to prove that my arguing skills really suck.
The next day while we're driving some place he snaps his fingers and the traffic light changes to green.
Me: "You don't have magical powers."
But I really feel like he does. Every time my car approaches a light it turns red. And he has this ability to override that. I should pay him to ride with me every where. I know I'd save on time. After all time is money. So there you have it.

Then there's my other brother. Even though he's 16 months my junior I always have to stop myself from calling him my older brother. He's really not even that bossy. To me. He and I recently had a really great conversation. All about politics and ideals and the current world order. About the current world order--we're four-square against it. So we're gonna the change the world. Through conversations and blogs and emails and sheer goodwill.
Says my Not-Really-Older Brother: "It reminds me of Enders Game with the two siblings blogging about politics and changing the world. It's the least we could hope for."

I think you can expect good things, if not from the both of us, at least from him.
As for the rest of us and our conversations--Oy vey, is possibly the best expression to use.

1 comment:

  1. Gay dolphins?! I had no idea. Never taking the kids to Sea World.