My husband and I used to head south to visit his family a couple of times a year. We didn’t have kids so traveling to southern Missouri was not as much of a hassle for us.
We were happy to do it. At first.
But then, they started to get to know me. They learned I was not conservative. The learned I did not own a hunting rifle. They learned I was not a ‘huntin’ gal.’ I was dead to them.
I may as well have been excommunicated from a religion that I never subscribed. I learned of my fate during one of the many Thanksgiving holidays we spent with them.
I should have seen the signs as soon as I walked in. Not a single person said hello to us. Not one – and there were thirty people there. Ominous, horror film music should have been playing in the background.
After saying our “Hello’s” as appropriate, we helped serve dinner and then proceeded to eat our dinner. The family retired to the great room for dessert.
As we were eating dessert, Uncle Bo began to wax philosophic about family values, appropriate conduct of today’s youth, and the necessity of church and marrying someone from that church. As he is revered as the “brains” of the family and often looked upon as the patriarch of the family, everyone was nodding in agreement.
It was like he was Jim Jones and the rest of the family was greedily gulping down the Kool-Aid he was offering.
I have never felt to out-of-place and uncomfortable in all my life. Then it got just a little bit better.
He then summarized his sermon with one statement. One statement that was supposed to beautifully showcase his beliefs in behaving appropriately, being a good Christian, raising good chilluns, and where to find the right spouse.
“If you ain’t living in the [insert small Missouri town’s name here] area, you jist ain’t livin’ right.”
It took me a second and then I realized it: there was not a single person there that did not live within a 10 mile radius of that exact spot in which we sat.
Except for me and my husband, of course. As I looked around the room, that is when I realized it.
That whole speech was directed at us. Fuck that, it was directed at ME.
So what shit did my in-laws “teach” me this time? Judgmental/hubris Christians, intolerance and only living in a small Missouri town – 1; acceptance and city-livin’ – 0.
I can’t make this shit up, I am just not that funny. Or that close-minded.