For the past week I’ve been in Fresno, CA. I can’t imagine how anyone could live there, unless maybe they haven’t experienced anything else. And if you live and love it there, I apologize, I’m sure you’re used to the climate – I, however, am not. It’s hot. Too fucking hot!
When I arrived it was 100 degrees outside and throughout my stay the lowest the temperature got was maybe 93. I’m used to the moderate climate of the Pacific Northwest. 85 degrees is as hot as I’m willing to go, and even that’s pushing it. Thank God I was able to spend most my time in or around a pool.
The worst thing about Fresno is not the heat, it’s the air. Everywhere I looked it was dry and brown, and the air quality reflected the scenery. I could smell the dry soil of the earth Earth every time I stepped outside.
So why would I submit myself to the torture of the desert that is Fresno? Because it was time for the first non wedding or death related family reunion since I was a wee tot. All of my dad’s family gathered at my grandma’s house for five days to joke, grow closer, reminisce, swim, drink, and compete for who has the most interesting life.
Immediately I realized that I fit in better with my dad’s side of the family than mom’s. My mom’s family is wonderful, but they are a bit more serious, emotionally focused, and very conservative. I respect them, but I’m not very similar to them. My dad’s family is wacky, they tease each other, and aren’t as concerned with behaving like the perfect Christian. Hell, I was offered a beer before noon, as we sat around my Grandma’s pool – a place we would rarely leave until nightfall.
But ultimately what is a family reunion other than a competition with people you hardly know but are obligated to love? It’s hours of battling over whose children are the most successful? Who has the craziest stories (my uncle always wins that one)? And who’s the favorite? I loved sitting around and listening to stories, occasionally piping in with my own anecdote or tale. But it quickly became apparent that while my personality and opinions mesh well with my dad’s family, my skills come from my mother.
My cousin’s are all athletic – I hurt my finger catching a Nerf ball thrown by my wimpy little brother.
My cousin has a PhD in chemistry, another’s a nurse, studying physical therapy, and grass farming – I studied writing and am currently unemployed.
They can’t carry a tune or dance – music and dance is literally taking over my life.
They are morning people and are early for everything – I am a night owl and am late for life on a regular basis.
They can drink all day long – I’m a supreme light-weight.
I loved my family reunion and I wish I could get to know that side of the family better. But I sure am glad to be back where the air smells lovely and my dearest friends love to dance the night away.