"The Vacation"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

You know it sucked when you refer to it in quotation marks. I like to relax on my vacations. But, honestly everytime we go to the river I end up being more tired when we leave then when we got there. Usually the only down time comes from waiting on the shower or early evening after you've spent the entire day running around (making breakfast, cleaning up, getting ready to get on the river, transporting to the river, swimming, transporting back to camp, unloading, showering, preparing for dinner, cleaning up, etc.). This time was even worse as my stepfather and I finally butted heads.

He has been married to my Mom for going on 10 years now. I've always referred to him as a redneck. He's very firm in his opinions on minorities and gays. Usually he sticks with one snide comment in the middle of a conversation and moves on. While we were at the river he went much further and began making horrible racist remarks. His comments were so bad I don't even feel comfortable repeating them here. The simplified version of his comments basically involved eradicating a different race. I was so offended I was in shock at first. After the 3rd comment of this nature I kind of lost it. I honestly don't remember how I even started in but I know it soon progressed to a heated argument. A very heated argument. I don't cuss a lot in front of my mother or other relatives. I'm not sure why I don't; I think it's a matter of how I was raised and it just seems disrespectful. This argument was so bad and so out of control I probably said fuck at least a dozen times. I threw all caution to the wind and just let loose. I think I was tired of 10 years of slurs and such and I was just done.

Unfortunately, when I get mad I cry, which pisses me off even more which of course makes me cry even harder. Sucks to be me when I'm angry. So there we are at their property on the river. They have an acre on the water with neighbors on either side. Luckily for us the closest neighbors were probably too far away to hear anything other than loud arguing. I really hope they didn't hear the words I was yelling. Because I was yelling his words right back at him. It was bad. R got involved when it began escalating. She was also extremely offended by his comments and his reasonings behind them.

The situation got worse when my Mom interjected. She was in their camper when we started arguing and she came out and immediately took his side. She said, "You know he just says things to irritate people. You know he doesn't mean it." When I stated that his comments went too far and were not acceptable to say at ANY time; that blind hatred will never make this world a better place, she started in with her own racist comments. Her interjection is the straw that broke the camel's back. I know my Mom has changed since she has been married to him. I was raised to be very accepting of other people. I never heard my Mom make a racist comment until she met him. This coupled with the fact that she took his side without hearing the comments he made. She just defended him. She kept on and on until finally I said I wasn't talking about it anymore and after repeatedly stating that they finally dropped it. My Mom and her friend left to go to the grocery store and my stepdad and his friend left to take the boat out. Since I was moments from really losing it I grabbed R & we grabbed Ryley and took off down the road walking, trying to blow off steam away from them.

I was extremely hurt by not only my stepdad's words and my Mom's unequivocal defense of his statements but also by what he left unsaid. When he mentioned eradicating an entire race I asked who was next on his list of most hated. What group would he have die next? He said we'll see. However, his answer need not be stated aloud. I know his feelings on gay people. He disowned his brother when his brother came out. They've progressed to at least speaking on the phone but my stepdad only does it because he feels pressured to do so by his mother and my Mom. He knows R & I are together. R has come to just about every family event over the last 8 years. He knows. He'll ask my Mom but won't grow the balls to ask me himself. I'm fine with that. We don't talk about it. If he asks he asks. He doesn't treat R or I any different, nor do any of my other family members. But, he vehemently hates a portion of the world's population and by hating them he hates me. His comments hurt, but his unsaid comments hurt worse. I know he wishes all gay people would become straight or just disappear. I'm gay, I'm one of those people. Does he want me to die as well? And does my Mom realize how hurtful it is for him to want to kill people just like me?

We were planning to leave the next day and rather than leave in a huff that night and give him the satisfaction of seeing how much he hurt me we stayed that night. My Mom approached me a few hours after the showdown ended and tried to defend him again. I told her I didn't want to talk about it.

My response to having to stay and suffer through that night and the next morning? Parrot Bay. Followed by more Parrot Bay. Basically I got as shit faced as fast as I could so I could escape to our tent and pass out. It worked pretty well. I went to the tent for something, laid down on the air mattress and promptly passed out. We woke up the next morning and busted ass getting our stuff torn down and loaded up. My Mom approached me the next morning and asked me not to hold her redneck husband against her. I hugged her and said she we're ok. My stepdad hugged both R & I before we left and said he loved us.

The blowup occurred 11 days ago and I am still seething inside. I'm mad at my stepdad and I'm mad at my Mom. I'm really trying to let it go but I am having an incredibly hard time doing so. I called my Mom Saturday to inquire about the symptoms of appendicitis and my stepdad made another stupid, racist comment in the background. I blew it off as I have done in the past, but my rope is much shorter on this issue than it has previously been. I honestly don't know how I'm going to handle being around him for long periods of time. I've pretty much decided that we we're canceling our Labor day trip to the river as I worry that it will be too much too soon. Maybe I'll be better equipped to deal with him by Thanksgiving. Or maybe Christmas. Or you know, never.