Yesterday was like my grandmother’s 87th birthday or something. 88, 89, I’m not really sure. She may even be in her nineties. I’m not sure, and it’s not important. Anyway, my employer had just told me a few days prior to take the company credit card and take out a girl with it. Because of things I’ve talked about before, that isn’t really an option at the moment, but the timing was too great. So I talked to my sister about us going to my grandmother’s “favorite restaurant,” El Charro’s. Obviously, we’re white trash from rural Mississippi, so naturally, that would be someone’s favorite restaurant. We did the math and discovered that it would be easily done under the $50 that I was authorized to spend for this purpose, so we offered it to my grandmother.
We soon learned that she does not like El Charro’s, and that she would rather go to Applebee’s instead. Oh. Yeah, well… that kinda doubles the bill, you know? And I just paid my phone bill this morning and ordered hormones yesterday. It’s not like I have a ton of money. In fact, there was no way for me to afford taking me, my sister, her husband, her two kids, my dad, and my grandmother to Applebee’s. Even El Charro’s would have had me spending $15-20 of my own money, but I simply couldn’t handle that with Applebee’s. I could, really, but it would mean that I’d have to stretch the pack of cigarettes I was smoking until this upcoming Thursday, at least, and that wasn’t going to be possible, because I had two cigarettes left. But I couldn’t back out, then. My grandmother was visibly excited; I’d never offered to do anything like that, and it clearly meant a lot to her.
They have margaritas for a dollar.
They have many fewer margaritas now than they did when I arrived.
Anyway, so after we placed our orders,I learned that my nephew added $1.99 to the bill by playing the games on the tablets they have on the table, but it was again asking for authorization. $1.99 isn’t shit to make my nephew happy (he’s more like a little brother honestly), so I authorized it again. Then my dad’s appetizers showed up as I realized that Applebees isn’t for people like me who don’t really eat brown food (you know what I mean), but I found a Thai Shrimp Salad that was acceptable, even though I was probably more Thai than it was.
As the waitress took our orders, she wrote nothing down, and my dad asked if she’d remember it all. She said she would, but I had my doubts, because she’d already forgotten my sweet tea. Twelve minutes later, my dad’s appetizers showed up, but noone else’s did, and it took six more minutes before my appetizers showed up. Three minutes later, my sister and her husband’s appetizers arrived, exactly when everyone’s entrees did.
Amusingly, everyone’s food was burnt and improperly cooked, except my Thai shrimp salad, which war bomb as fuck. We ate in almost uncomfortable silence, with everyone thinking the same thing: I was about to have to drop a hundo on food that was easily outstripped by a McDonald’s dollar menu.
I gave the waitress my credit card (company card) and my debit card, and told her to charge $50 to the credit card. I also told her that I don’t carry cash, so she needed to add a 17% gratuity. The food was awful, but the service was decent. After I stood by the door for nine minutes thinking about how badly I wanted a cigarette, she returned and told me that all of it had been put on the credit card.
At this point, I’m pretty sure I’d be justified in telling her to reverse the charges because I wasn’t paying for a bad meal to a server who can’t follow simple directions, but I firmly and politely said that wasn’t going to work; the charges HAD to be reversed, and she HAD to do it as I told her. Her manager came and took care of it, I added the tips, and walked outside.
My dad and grandmother were GONE. These old ass fuckers VAMPED, dude. Didn’t say thanks, didn’t even wait for me to finish paying. Just left.
As though I needed another reason to hate my family. The same people who oppressed me for fifteen years. Didn’t even wait for me to finish paying the bill man.
I was stunned when I stepped out into the parking lot and saw only my sister’s vehicle. Surely, my dad and grandmother hadn’t left, right? I’m sure they said “Thanks, we enjoyed it” offhandedly as they boxed the leftovers, but that didn’t actually qualify as a true “Thank you for doing this,” did it? What they offered was a token response, the way I was programmed to say “Thank you, that was good” after eating a meal–as my grandmother programmed me to say when I was a kid. That was all that was. Surely that isn’t what they considered sufficient to the fact that I’d just dropped a hundred freaking dollars when they know how broke I am, and they know that I had to have made some pretty major sacrifices to afford this?
I thought my dad must have moved the car on one of his many smoking trips. But as I approached my car, parked beside my sister and her husband’s, it became inescapably clear, and I looked around the parking lot. They were gone. G–o–n–e. My father and grandmother showed the same level of appreciation that my nephew shows when I give him a stick of gum or something. They dined and dashed in almost every sense, and the only way that idea is broken is that they did offer up the token of manners, that “Thank you, it was good” line that people in the south are taught to say.
Thank you. It was good.
It was good?
I didn’t fucking cook it.
The best they could offer was the token mannered bullshit that kids say to their mom after dinner? The same unenthusiastic bullshit that I said to my grandmother probably thousands of times growing up? You know, when I was six? And then… And then, they didn’t even say bye?
My dad knew how fucked up it was. I know that, because he texted me shortly after I got home, saying:
Thanx we both enjoyed it.Nice place.Be safe.Watch the blue lites.
I’ve been on the verge of tears pretty much perpetually through the last week, and this is going to be what finally makes me cry. This brazen disrespect, this utter disregard, this almost psychopathic handling of the situation when their child/grandchild took them out for a fucking goddamn birthday dinner, to not even say goodbye, and to offer up nothing more than a mumbled expression of gratitude as they boxed up what they hadn’t eaten.
Isolation will kill you, you know?
I shouldn’t be willing to even speak to my family, other than my sister, and even my sister is in a huge grey zone, and there’s a growing elephant in the room there. The verdict is still out on whether she is really going to reject me (she hasn’t yet, but she also hasn’t accepted me yet), but the verdict has long been delivered with my dad and grandmother. And here I am, taking $45 that I should have put toward my GoFundMe campaign (that’s not true–with the phone bill and hormones, there was no way that I would have been able to donate to the campaign this week) and using it instead to buy them a dinner, and the best they can muster is the reply of a child whose mother reminded him to say “Thank you.”
It’s hard to even explain how much it hurt to walk out into that parking lot and see my grandmother gone. The dinner was for her fucking birthday.
I’m just thankful that my sister was still out there.
My grandmother expects me to come out tomorrow and reformat her computer.
That’s not going to happen.
That was flagrant abuse of my emotions, an absolute disregard for my feelings, and a shining bastion of selfishness and arrogance.
I replied to my dad a simple “Really disrespectful.”
He replied back:
I did say we enjoyed it. Right? And thanx
You’d honestly get the impression that these people are sociopaths. Maybe they are. Maybe that’s why my worldview has always been so skewed: I was raised by sociopaths. This is… actually pretty likely. So now they’re going to pretend like they didn’t do anything fucked up. That’s fine, I can pretend, too. I can pretend not to give a shit.