It feels like just yesterday I was posting about my Christmas and New Years problems. Now it’s already Easter. There are too many human holidays for us to keep up with and each one is worse than the last.
My family is very big on traditions and celebrating every holiday together. It’s been like that my entire life. As a kid, I used to love it, but since I’ve come out as a Catkin and am getting to the age where I should be on my own, these days have lost their sparkle for me.
I love my human family, but more often than not, our celebrations turn into debacles. Last year on Easter we all went out to brunch. My parents, me, my sister, my mom’s side grandparents, my dad’s side grandma and her boyfriend from the nursing home, my aunt and uncle, and three kid cousins, and my human best friend.
We always go to this resort on a lake that is about 30 minutes from where I live, we’ve gone there every year since I was 9. I say that because it is a really upscale place, so making a scene at their brunch isn’t the same as making a scene at Applebee’s.
As obsessed with image as my mom is, she can never seem to plan an outing that doesn’t end up with a yelling match or embarrassing antics. Last year was no exception.
We were all seated at this long table in the middle of main brunch room, giving us nowhere to hide. At first it seemed to be going well, everyone was just talking and laughing, but things got awkward really fast.
My grandma with the boyfriend had brought him to a couple of dinners before, but we didn’t really know that much about him. They met at the new nursing home she had moved into and soon they were spending all of their time together, acting like a young couple in love for the first time. He was a little senile, but we were just glad that my grandma had found someone who made her so happy — even at 80 years old. He wasn’t someone we thought we had to worry about.
We were wrong.
Everyone was absorbed in their conversations or food and didn’t notice that he had grabbed his glass and started tapping it to try to make a toast. My best friend and I were listening as he was trying to get everyone’s attention. He kept saying he had a surprise he wanted to share. The room was crowded and loud and no one was listening to him, so no one was expecting what happened next.
He cleared his throat and it sounded like he was going to make a speech. He opens his mouth and out comes a long, high pitched, gravelly burst of yodeling. Real yodels, like a Swiss Alps lumberjack singing to the mountaintops — except he wasn’t in the mountains and in that enclosed room his yodels revebrated off the walls making his singing gratingly loud and abrasive to everyone in earshot. The entire ballroom went completely silent as he was doing this.Everyone turned and looked at him and he didn’t stop. He kept going for what seemed like an eternity. I remember my dad looked so embarrassed. He was quietly trying to interrupt and bring an end to it, but Grandma’s boyfriend yodeled on until the song was completely finished, persisting through the voice cracks and off key notes. He was really determined to perform this random warbling for everyone — and nothing was going to stop him.
Usually I would be ready to dive under the table and escape at this point, but it was around this time last year when I first started smoking weed. I had snuck some with me and ended up smoking way over my tolerance level. I was completely baked throughout the entire brunch. All I could do was watch everything unfold with a stupid smile on my face while everyone else cringed and shrank into their seats.
When he was finally finished, no one said a word. No one in the room was talking. Everyone was staring at our table, like they were waiting for some type of explanation. All we could do was nervously laugh and give grandpa yodels a pat on the back for the sake of politeness. As if it wasn’t painfully awkward enough, my best friend started clapping and asked if he could sing another one. I could see her holding in laughter and because I was so high, I just started laughing and couldn’t stop. As the room went back to a normal noise level, she asked if he could teach her how to yodel, a request he was taking seriously, and my dad just about had a conniption.
He didn’t even hold it in, he yelled “That’s ENOUGH for today.”, louder than he probably intended, as he shot the two of us a glare that made us shut up. I had never seen him that uncomfortable in public before. My dad is usually the calm one who doesn’t care what’s going on. I guess at some point the embarrassment starts getting to him too. He was cracking.
My mom turned to us and started commenting on how they cooked the poached eggs, and we went on like nothing happened.
Being a newbie to marijuana, I was not able to hide how stoned I was at all. I felt like I was in a different plane of reality, it was completely surreal. However, I was going from giggly to paranoid very fast. I started feeling my heart beat faster and I got scared that people were looking at me and that they all knew how high I was. I was freaking out but there was no where I could go. The only thing I could do to release the anxiety was to start meowing.
So I meowed in long whines to try to comfort myself. Luckily everyone ignored me. I was rocking back and forth and staring at my plate as I tried to reassure myself that nothing bad was happening. I desperately needed to curl up in a nook somewhere but I was trapped.
After a while of alternating between skulking around the buffet room and going into meowing fits, I looked at the table and realized there were four or five plates filled with piles of bacon in front of me. I thought that was the funniest thing I had ever seen and I started laughing so hard I cried. My aunt said that the bus boy kept bringing a new plate of bacon to the table every five minutes, even though no one wanted it. She kept yelling at my cousins not to eat it, but there was so much that there was no way to put it out of reach.
The bus boy came back a few minutes later with another plate filled with bacon that he was trying to put on our table. My aunt told him that we didn’t need any and to not bring anymore. Apparently he didn’t understand and kept insisting for us to take it even with her protests. We didn’t even have room for it, but she gave up trying to argue, and we just piled it on top of another full plate. She was fuming and made me to take pictures of all the bacon with my phone as proof for when she complains to the manager. Meanwhile, I was silently panicking about the bacon. I was convinced that the universe was sending those plates to test me. If I failed then I would never get to be reunited with my cat body. Those plates were all meant for me and I hadn’t even known it.
After staring at the plates for a few minutes, the temptation to grab a piece and take a bite started to take over. I panicked and pushed all the plates to the other side of the table. Still, my darker cat instincts kept telling me to eat it. That it’s natural. That I have nothing to be ashamed of. I could taste it. I picked up a piece of the bacon and just smelled it for a while, until my mom told me to put it down. I just wanted to rub my face with it for some reason, which I did, making my mom reach over and snatch it out of my hand like I was the same age as my 10 year old cousin. I just rolled my eyes and sunk back into my chair as I tried to shake the urge to howl in frustration. I picked up my fork to keep my hands busy, but I couldn’t even do that without my mom yelling at me to stop. My best friend thought this was all hilarious. It was the first time she had come out with us for a holiday like this and I am pretty sure she now understands why I’m so crazy.
By this point, the waiter had refilled all the champagne glasses several times. I saw my mom looking nervous and asked her what was wrong, and she motioned and whispered that my grandma (both grandmas actually) were tipsy, on the verge of drunk. She tried to take away her mom’s glass only to be met with a loud refusal. Not wanting to start another scene, she just let out a sigh and dropped it. She wasn’t doing anything besides sharing a slurred story that she had already told us earlier, so we just had to pretend to listen. I heard my sister laughing next to me and noticed she had a champagne glass too, that she was waving in front of her. I had never seen my sister drink before and she wasn’t even 21, so I have no idea why they were serving it to her. I found out that she’s a crazy drunk, like me (we are physical sisters after all). She took off her shoes and kept trying to combine two chairs so she could stretch out while she wailed about not having enough macaroons.
Then she got up and tried to pull me out of my chair to go get more food with her. I was feeling really paranoid, so I didn’t want to go, but she kept trying to pull me out of my seat, almost tipping it over, until I got up. I was still intermittently meowing, and my sister grabbed onto me as we tried to walk around. We ended up stumbling and falling on the floor in the middle of one of the buffet rooms. Neither of us wanted to get up, so we just laid there until a waiter came over and said that we needed to move.
I really didn’t want to go, so I just stayed where I was and curled up. I don’t know how long I was there, but the waiter had walked away and my sister was still on the ground too. I just closed my eyes and let myself float away. I finally felt peaceful and safe, for a brief moment, before I was interrupted by my dad who was standing over me and telling me to get up because we are leaving NOW.
I kept saying no as my best friend pulled me up. No one seemed to understand that cats need to sleep. That’s how we respond to stressful situations. I didn’t care where I was, I needed to escape, even if it was into my cat dreams.
As we were all finally walking out, my sister grabbed a baguette of bread that was on a buffet table. When she tried to walk out with it, the hostess stopped us all and said that we weren’t allowed to take food with us.
She was still drunk, so she refused to hand over the bread and kept going on about how badly she needed it. My mom gasped and asked her if she had been drinking, in the most shocked voice - as if she only just noticed what had been happening. My sister wasn’t saying anything but “Please just don’t take the bread” over and over. The hostess wasn’t giving us the okay to leave, but at this point no one cared. We just walked out, baguette and all.
After the brunch was over, we stayed at the hotel to spend the rest of the day by the pool and lake. There was another embarrassing incident that afternoon involving a paddle boat and a cat’s fear of water, but this post is getting too long, so I’m going to end my recollection here.
We are going back to the same resort and having the same brunch tomorrow. This time my old high school friend Sam is coming with us thanks to my mom inviting him. We always invite a friend to come along and my parents have banned my best friend (it’s a long story) and Sam has been schmoozing with my mom on Facebook for months, so I wasn’t surprised.
I guess we’ll see what happens. I’m spending the night at the hotel this time, so I’ll bring my laptop with me and write about it in the room after the day is over. I should say, that I’m really nervous about being trapped there overnight. I always end up having problems when I’m at hotels or in public. I can’t stand being confined. It drives me crazy. I will just scratch the walls and windows and cry. I’m claustrophobic and being in a room that isn’t on the first floor is really triggering for me. If worst comes to worst, I will just go downstairs and sleep outside. I just hope the hotel staff will leave me in peace. At least for the sake of Easter.
Well, until then!