a sign of lameness orrr…the middle finger


I wrote a letter to an estranged cousin. The letter was returned to me, undelivered. I’d called him, and I’d emailed him with no response. And thus I felt the story had gone full circle, back to a starting point, back to estrangement.

But no. It continues, like any good story, without a neat ending and with a gloriously “messy” trajectory.

My father went on a trip to Korea recently–I called him last night to wish him Happy Birthday and he announced “I went to Korea and back!” Had it been that long since I’d called my father? No, it couldn’t be–I’d just gone to visit him a few weeks ago! My family tends to do a lot of things independently. It must have been a really quick and surreptitious trip. But here’s the thing: he ran into that cousin (but not my female cousin who is truly estranged and tries to avoid any contact with her family for her own, very valid reasons). What?

He told my cousin that I’d written him–via postal mail, via email. That I’d tried calling him.

The cousin said he got the emails from me. But he was so busy moving he didn’t have a chance to reply. But he promised my father that he’d reply to my emails go forward.

My response: Laaaaame. And then: W…T….F. (And I don’t mean “Wednesday Thursday Friday” by that either). In truth, I felt wounded by the excuse. Remember, it’s been MONTHS since I tried getting in touch with him.

“Dad,” I said, “You mean he IGNORED me? That’s so lame (there’s that word again). Couldn’t he have lied and said he just didn’t receive my emails and then get the email from you?” Wouldn’t that have been better? Wouldn’t that have spared my feelings?

My father replied, “It was an honest answer.” Then added, “And he said he’ll email you!” But the honest answer is so lame…and a big “fuck you” to me. I can’t really accept it. And my father is getting old–he fell for that line. I don’t believe my cousin will email me–why would he, given that he’s so artfully (or not so artfully) avoided correspondence with me thus far?

And it’s not that cousin with whom I yearn to reconnect. It’s his sister, the one who wants nothing to do with her father (my uncle) and anyone remotely related to him (including me).


Today is my writing day. As if on cue, it started raining last night, and the drizzle and gray sky setting is continuing through the morning. Oh perfect writing day! I love writing on gray mornings.

I love rain in the spring–call me weird, but I just love the rain falling in a world full of newly leafing trees, the humidity making scent blossom. I even like that metallic smell that unlocks when the first raindrops hit the sidewalk. I was reveling in this very sensation last night while picking up a salad on Telegraph–people picking up their walking pace, rushing home to get to a dry place, almost in syncopation with the raindrops, amidst that strange wonderful smell.

And now I write, gray skies outdoors, a novel spread before me, a personal essay about my stroke in the queue, a big mug of Mariage Freres tea and a vase of lilacs before me. Ah, there’s a whiff of lilac right now!



Filed under Life, Writing

2 responses to “a sign of lameness orrr…the middle finger

  1. anonwupfan

    I always hate hearing (or saying FTM) “I’ve been really busy,” i.e. too busy to call/write your lame ass back!

    Good luck getting through to your cousin. Family conflicts are the worst. Hopefully, approaching her with an olive branch will work. If her brother ever gets off his keister and responds, that is.

    If not, you’ll still have the lilacs.

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