Tuesday, March 15, 2011


i am sitting here at my desk and it is early in the evening, much later than i originally planned to do my writing, but not so late that im too flooded with alcohol to actually get something down.

the black cat is tearing at the trash bag in the kitchen. i can hear his claws ripping at the plastic, the pokes and prods of kitty destruction. without turning around i just holler at him to stop and he prances into my living room and rubs his head on my ankles. so innocent, the evil creature.

i was thinking about facebook earlier, because i got an email alerting me that a cousin of mine sent me a "poke." i personally am not fond of pokes, they are a passive way of saying hello and, unless in a context that has been established long before, only send a sentiment that you find the person you are poking alive, yet not important enough to send an actual message. im sure im not alone in this idea. poking is probably the most frowned upon feature in facebook. and it is only this one cousin of mine that ever pokes me. if this doesnt explain the fractured family dynamic ive endured the past decade or so, than what else will.

i grew up with this girl, we were the first and second grandchildren, respectively. i was just slightly older than her, but we made a friendship out of consequence, being the only two kids at any large family functions. we explored the brick neighborhoods of newark, new jersey together. we dared one another too eat strange foods, then giggled and winced at the outcome. we swapped blame upon one another, taking the fall for our numerous antics. we would speak with our eyes when one of the adults grew mad, and tried to protect each other if there was any outside threat. we werent best friends, we were family. we were also children, maturation loomed.

we lost contact when i lost contact with the family, but that doesnt mean we didnt share a history. when i reconnected she was one ofthe first people i was excited to see. but the burden of our lineage had made her weary. she was sullen and aloof. i didnt take offense, we all carry our issues with us.

but once we became facebook friends she started poking me. i would always poke back, just so she knew i wasnt ignoring her, but they keep coming. she pokes, i poke back, then she pokes again. i just cant, for the life of me, understand why she wont just write the word "hi" on my wall. its almost as if shes afraid to cross a line and start an actual relationship.

that being said, i have another cousin on facebook, who post all the time. i actually have a few, but we'll get to the rest of them later. this cousin is a guy, and is the son to what i believe was my best and definitely favorite uncle. unfortunately, this uncle committed suicide and left behind two sons. one, the cousin i speak of, was named after him. the saddest thing is i dont know him at all. we only became friends because we have the same surname and were friends with all the other family members, so it made since we should be friends too. ive never even met the kid, and i couldnt quite tell you how old he is. im not sure what music he is into, what he does for a living, where he lives, what he strives for. i cant tell you anything about him except that hes my cousin and his father committed suicide and every now and then he goes to florida.

then i have a cousin who lives in new jersey. she is young and beautiful and i believe wants to be an actress or model. sometimes she speaks in a language that i can assume only the kids can decipher. extra letters and abbreviations and acronyms that havent made it into my lexicon yet. she also post a lot of strange, cryptic status updates that i suspect are directed at a boy she likes, or that likes her [which would be a more accurate assessment] but which mean nothing to anyone else who reads them. it bugs the shit out of me, and i found myself almost disliking her based solely on her status updates. i realized that was being crotchety though, and now i just ignore her.

there are other family members, a cousin in Washington state that likes to snowboard and once posted a picture of his name written in urine on the beach at dawn. there is the cousin that im not sure how im related too that changed his last name to X, recently. seriously, like malcom x. im not sure what the meaning behind it was. there is the cousin with the big mouth who always tries to call but we never see each other and she barely ever post so our meager friendship is waning. there are a bunch of aunts who i avoid like the plague. and perhaps there are more im not even aware of yet.

facebook is a strange connector. it serves its purpose to some extent. i find it strange that even family members of mine are so distant even with this great technology bringing us together. oh well. just dont poke me.


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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at downtownalleys.blogspot.com.