extending rubber family
My cousin, Troy, lives one street away from me. I don't know what number house she lives at, because I've purposely forgotten, and she doesn't know which house I live in because I've banned anyone from telling her.
It's not that I don't like Troy - far from it, she's the most interesting, entertaining member of a huge extended family. It's just that I don't seem to 'do' family very well.
I remember the last time I bumped into Troy at the local market, while ex-DH's super-quiet tiny sister Mouse was visiting. We agreed to meet up that night to go clubbing in (at the time) hyper-trendy Shoreditch.
Which, not ever having been one to really socialise with the hundreds of relations who also live and work in London (gerroff! It's my city ... I was here first ... et cetera), I regarded as a pretty pro-family, modern thing to do.
Having steeled Mouse with the information that Troy was a little bonkers, that (until I'd taken up the mantle by outing myself at a deeply catholic family wedding as a screaming bender), she'd been the twenty time winner of Black Sheep of the Year.
Given that all my friends are gobby, loud and opinionated (sorry guys, but you are. *grin*), this was probably no great shock to Mouse. However, I was a little paranoid that she might perhaps report back to exmotherinlaw that not only was I scary, the rest of my family were both too loud and squint.
This was before Troy moved into the next street from here. So we trollied over to Troy's slightly-trendier-place-than-now, and rang the bell. (While watching the local six year old vandals run screaming through a disused factory wielding burning brands - see what I mean about living in gunpowder-related lawlessness?) Mouse was already sinking well below her collar with trepidation, and ex-DH was desperately trying to gee her up that it was a mere five minutes of house party, that soon we'd move on.
Troy, who, like me, is taaaaaaallllllllllllllllllllllll, threw open the door, screaming a greeting. She was in five inch platform shoes with stack heels, and a tiny tiny tiny rubber nurse's uniform.
Judging by the daisy-stalk neck and pinprick pupils, she was coked out of her skull.
"It's mah cuzzzzen!" she shrieked in a Mancunian accent, flung open the door and stomped inside without further ceremony.
"Guyys! Guyyyys! This is mah cuzzzzen! Where's the vodka - lez drink vodka! Eeeeeeeeee!!!!"
Deep intake of breath, and I followed her inside. This is the fucking thing about family. There's nothing you can do. Certifiable or not, they don't go away.
Fifteen minutes passed: during which cocktails of cocaine, prozac and one pint of vodka were consumed, and we seriously considered swimming in the minging, stinking February canal out back, before I realised that the front door was still wide open, and neither Mouse nor ex-DH had come in.
They were sat in the dark on the wall outside, where ex-DH was trying to talk Mouse down out of a full-on panic attack. A panic attack brought on merely by the sight of my cousin towering in the doorway. Teeth had been clenched, nails had dug into breezeblock, and the words "I can't go in there" had been hissed like venom. This is the fucking thing about family. There's nothing you can do.
Needless to say, we all went clubbing, Troy offered to pay the ancient taxi driver with services of an - ahem - non-monetary nature, and the only person who actually scored either man or beast was Mouse.
I have sixteen living aunts / uncles / godparents, not including their relatives. That adds up to twenty cousins, and they mostly haven't even bred yet. Half the family still seem to live in or around the same valley, oop north, still feuding about the same things as when I was a kid.
Tomorrow, my parents are coming up to visit. Please god don't let them pop into Troy's flat to say hello on the way ....