Wednesday, August 30, 2006

All in the Place of the Relative (Radiohead)

Language: Italian

My evil grandmother (I also had a good grandmother, but she died in 1998) died last Friday, or possibly Thursday night, in her home, following several years of emphysema, which she never admitted that she had. The funeral was yesterday, August 29, so that's where I was yesterday, and what I was doing.

I'm not hugely experienced with funerals. I've been to basically three, all of which were for grandparents, and all of which were also sort of just as well: in this particular case, Evil Grandma had been more or less unable to do anything for a few years, as far as taking care of herself. Also her brain was maybe starting to go, towards the end: she forgot, a couple times, that my mom had changed her name when she got married. Which wouldn't have been a big deal if this had been a recent wedding, but my parents have been married since 1971.

Speaking of 1971 -- when my mom, and the other kids, were going through her house, they found a bottle of whiskey with that date on it. The speculation is that Grandma kept a bottle from my parents' wedding. Since there was no detail about how it tasted, I'm guessing that it was unopened. If the story stopped there, then you'd think, oh, that's kind of cute, or sentimental, or whatever, but Grandma also had several bottles of blackened, dry, eight-year-old ketchup: she just saved everything.

I was never really a big fan of Grandma, as you can probably guess from the fact that I call her evil. There's a certain oddness to that, since she's the grandparent I take most strongly after (neurotic, conceited, slightly OCD), but then, she also tended to be really pushy and bossy and only ever heard things that she wanted to hear, which meant that you couldn't ever really have a conversation with her about anything, and most of the conversations I did have with her were awkward and strained because she always seemed to be trying to manipulate me into doing or not doing stuff. So about every conversation I ever had with the woman went like:

GRANDMA: Don't you want a tomato for your hamburger, Jessi?
ME: No, Grandma, I don't like tomatoes.
GRANDMA: You don't like tomatoes?! Have you even tried one?
ME: Not lately, no, but I don't like them.
GRANDMA: Oh, well you should have a slice or two of these; they're really good. Put some salt and pepper on top, and --
ME: No, I don't want any.
GRANDMA: Come on, one slice of tomato isn't going to kill you.
ME: I don't like tomatoes.
GRANDMA: But you like ketchup, don't you? And ketchup is tomatoes.
ME: But it's different.
GRANDMA: How about I just put this slice of tomato on your plate, and I'll leave the salt here for you --
ME: I'm not going to eat it.
GRANDMA: Well why not?
ME: Because I don't like tomatoes, Grandma, I just said.
GRANDMA: You could at least try a bite or two of this one. It came out of my garden.
ME: Fine. Leave a slice on my plate, then.

And then I'd give the slice of tomato to Dad, eventually.

R. I. P.
L--- I. S------- (1928-2006)


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

To the right of kidskin, to kidskin, to kidskin, to kidskin,
of the all, all, all, all.
A relative in just the place,
a relative in just the place,
a relative in just the place,
the right of the place.

Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon
yesterday I woke up sucking that lemon
yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon
yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon

All, all, all.
A relative in the just place,
a relative in the just place,
the right of the place.

There are two colors in my head,
are two colors in my head.
That's what you are, here. It tries to say that to you.
Which thing was it that you tried to say?
Tried to say, tried to say,
tried to say, tried to say.

All the relatives, just in the place.

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