the stepson of my stepfather and his family visited two weeks ago. they live out of state and when they come into town, they’re usually here for several days. I like them, but truth be told, I don’t know them very well. The stepson is at least 15 years older than me, and our parents married when I’d just graduated from college, so there’s really not a huge bond; not like my step siblings on my father’s side, who I’ve known since I was five.
The Kid calls the stepson and his family, “newspaper people,” as she says their reasoning is very black and white, whereas we (my mother’s line) are extremely colorful. I couldn’t agree more.
My stepfather is a lovely man, perhaps the most honorable human being I have ever had the privilege of knowing. At 85, his health is waning and his lung cancer has returned. He adds a very vital and interesting dynamic in this household, well-loved by all of us, and deservedly well respected.
I managed to lay low while the step-fam was in town, partially because I wanted them to have their time, and partially because I was at the end of a slew of medical tests and the last ones had made me sick as a dog.
However, the day they were leaving, the wife of my stepfather’s stepson found me, huddled under blankets, in the den and sat down to chat.
Her: how’ve you been?
Me: fabulous! Thanks! (with a slight note of sarcasm)
Her: (grasping for a conversation starter) so, what do you do for fun these days?
Her: (shifting uncomfortably, as only a Southern Baptist in this situation can do….) uh…. oh! Uh, what do you drink? Wine?
Me: (finally giving it up) actually, I don’t really drink, I was just kidding with you.
(Okay, I do drink, but I consider it seldom enough to count. I talk more about wanting to drink than I ever do.)
A few hours later, after the step-fam has left, I’m in the kitchen with my stepfather.
I clearly looked like hell, as the test I’d had the day before was the most excruciating thing I’ve ever physically experienced. I’d been in bed that weekend, too, with exception of seeing my stepfather’s stepson’s wife.
SF (stepfather): how are you feeling?
Me: just great, thanks.
Him: uh, are you on narcotics?
I stop in my tracks, wondering where this had come from and then realize that the step-fam misinterpreted my lying around for drugs. This was a little disconcerting, but very amusing.
Me: uh, nope.
(I wait a beat…..)
Me: why, do you have some?
Some people just don’t get my sense of humor…..