Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the modern family

The archetypal family consists of a father and a mother with several children. It's a self-contained unit, and has stood the test of time as the base of society, and has given structure to neighborhoods and societies for generations.

Of course, families are a little more complicated these days. Well, as a statistician I'm not sure if I'm just taking a biased sample. Maybe families were always complicated? Or maybe they were complicated up until the industrial revolution, and then got uncomplicated peaking at the 50s, and then descended into chaos? In any event, for the purpose of the guide, I'll refer to complicated families as the modern family.

What's complicated? Well, let me tell you1.

I traveled to my ancestral home last week to party with my family as I recently graduated with a Master's Degree in Stuff That Won't Really Improve Your Chances Of Getting a Job, But We Pretend It Does During the Admissions Season. At one point, I needed a car to go have lunch with my good friend Drew. As my father is known for having cars, I asked him if I could borrow one for the day.

My father replied that I could borrow his Volvo. The only complication was that it was parked at Craig's house. Craig, for those of you not in my family, is my father's wife's ex-husband. This brought up an awkward series of conversations which will not be repeated here, but suffice it to say, there was some confusion as to why his car would reside in that particular locale.

On the date I needed the car, my father was kind enough to drive me to Craig's house to pick up said automobile. On arriving at the house, we found the Volvo parked outside. My dad gave me the keys, and wished me luck. Curiosity got the better of me, and our conversation went something like the following:

Me: Is anybody driving the car?

Dad: Yes, Craig's wife's son normally drives it, on the condition that he drive [your two step brothers] to their various activities, but he's been shirking his duty, so I'm taking the car back.

Me: (nervously) Does he know you're taking it back?

Dad: (laughing) He'll figure it out when he sees it missing.

Me: (much more nervously) Well, I'll drive fast.

Dad: Not to worry, he's not home. He's at my place.

I thanked him, and skipped quickly over to the car, and sped off as fast as prudence would dictate. I spent the rest of the day worrying that this kid would stumble into my car wherever I parked it, and would re-repossess it.

To summarize, I repossessed my father's car, which was in possession of my father's wife's ex-husband's wife's son.

THAT is a modern, complicated family.

1. Apologies to my Father in the event he ever reads this, and wishes it not be so public, but I just had to document this incident for the guide and posterity.

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