My sister Katie called today. Which was curious since I recently talked to her two weeks ago, and I am going to see her in two days for Thanksgiving break. Admittedly, my family's idea of "recent" is warped. My family works like that, however. Like a well-oiled machine, we each have our role and don't bother trying to tell the other sprocket, spring or hinge how to do their job, live their life, etc. which resolves itself in very little communication. Well, maybe we aren't well-oiled after all; communication is apparently a sign of the health of relationships, so a lack of it, in light of how abrasive family functions tend to run, might render void my idealistic analogy of machines, oiled or otherwise.
Anyway, the message Katie left on my voicemail was characteristic of our long and tumultuous relationship as sisters/partners in crime/rivals. In a breezily abrupt though girlish voice she set in literally right on top of the voicemail beep, "Hello Meg, the girl who is IM-possible to get a hold of. It's your sis, just calling because I will just burst if I don't tell somebody what happened today. So call me. Well when you get a chance, or I guess I could just tell you all about it when I see you, in case you forget your phone's existence again. You really should check your phone once in awhile. Ok, hope the day's been good....call me."
Now I didn't really feel like jumping to the phone, yet I was not ready to ignore it. On the one hand, her uppity attitude was not exactly enticing me to engage in conversation with the world's most condescending little sister. My paper was also beckoning me to ignore distractions. Yet, I did want to know what was so important that she broke family tradition and actually communicated with me. Plus it would feel satisfying to prove wrong her whole theory on my lack of phone skills. So I dialed her up, the cell phone equivalent of rolling the dice, because honestly God only knew what sort of interaction we were about to have.
"Hey Kate. Got your message."
"Oh whoa, you called back...Hahahaha! It takes a mystery for you to call me back, is that it?!" she laughed. Now this laugh has plagued my childhood. It starts as a fast hyena giggle ending on a drawn out sort of barking "Ha!" It is very grating since it is meant to make you feel a fool. It's rather malicious, like a gleefully mischevious elf.
"What's up?" I say, trying to hold back my impatience. Am I not calling her for some purpose other than to be laughed at? "Katie, honestly I have ten minutes, use it how you will."
"Hahaha...hmmmm ooh, Hahahahaha..ah Meg!....hahHA!" After 19 odd years of feeling like a solemn and sober joke, her antics are just boring me right now.
"Are you ready, yet?" I ask.
"Yeah, hehehe, ok. Oh Meg you crack me up, 'ten minutes, use it how I will'? Loosen up kid! Well that just is not enough time for this story, what are you doing? Homework? Come ON! You know you wanna listen to this."
"Katie, I do want to listen, but I have a paper to finish before I come home for Thanksgiving break. And my flight's tomorrow."
"Fine. haha, Miss Uptight, hehehe, I guess this will just have to wait till the Turkey's on the table then!" she quickly and snidely counters, oozing nonchalance. It is so embarrassing that I can't rise above her baiting, but when she plays the "you're so uptight card" I feel like it's back to the days when we shared a bathroom and there was the daily sibling rivarly sort of sniping. I know I am not under attack, but geez, it just feels like it on a very primitive level.
"Kate. I am sure you can tell me before the feasting ensues. You ARE coming home on Wednesday."
"Yeah well whatever then-I'll see ya then, sis."
"OK sis" I finish. We hang up, and I get back to writing about prions and people's brains gettting turned into spongiform due to eating Mad Cow infected beef. Well at least my brain will only get holes of a figurative kind over the break, since turkeys do not harbor the pathogrnic agent, though I have a sneaking suspicion there is something a little bit sick about my family.