Sunday, July 4, 2010

Family Barbecues: Answering THOSE Questions

So being that it is Fourth of July weekend, there are a whole bunch of barbecues and picnics and other such festivities that involve me getting to see a lot of friends and far removed relatives that I never really see. 

With these meetings come a couple of inevitable questions: "How is school going? What year are you again?" "How is work?" "Do you have a boyfriend?" "How is life in New York?"

hate those questions. There is no way for me to answer those questions without lying.

My life is complicated. I know that there's nothing special about this. Everyone's life is complicated. But I've yet to figure out a way to perfect my answers to these questions that makes it seem like things aren't complicated. Nobody wants to hear me try to explain that I'm technically a junior, but that I'm graduating in the middle of July, so I guess I'm sort of a senior too. Nobody wants to listen to me rant that my job is a disaster since they just fired my manager with no real plan for how to replace her. And forget the boyfriend thing. I know for a fact that not only does no one want to hear about the 3 different dysfunctional relationships I'm in (not to mention the 2 guys I'm attempting to date on some sort of normal level), but that my mother would strangle me if I mentioned anything remotely close to the truth. Life in New York?

It's good. School is good. Work is good. My boyfriend is good.

We're all good, and fine, and dandy.

It's just easier to lie. It's easier to say "Yea, it's great. It's all great." 

What makes this even worse is that I'm trying to answer these questions in the company of many people who are also in their early twenties who have perfectly simple answers to these questions. For all I know, they're lying through their teeth like I am, but they're a lot more convincing with their steady girlfriends, and husbands, and children, and houses that they just bought, and job titles that don't imply retail servitude. I just stand there telling half truths to end the conversation as quickly as possible, and retreat to a corner with my plate of food. 

Are there questions that you absolutely hate answering at family gatherings? Do you lie, or do you tell the truth? 


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