Stroszek Weekend

Werner Herzog's Stroszek

Werner Herzog’s Stroszek

There’s the opera, there’s the literary event, and now, just to make sure my weekend is perfect, a relative called to say he’s coming to town and can he get together with us?

At first I despairingly thought, Yes.  He’s family.

And then, No.  I can’t cope.  I’m not f—ing Aeneas.

My husband says, No.

And my cousin told me I would be crazy to let him come.  “Kat, he is so mean.”

He’s kind of a wild guy.  Undiagnosed bipolar II.  (Bipolar II is the lucky bipolar.  It’s out of control, but not actually hallucinating.)

It’s always tough to deal with him.

He’ll be utterly bored in five minutes, and want to go to a restaurant or a bar to talk to strangers.

Once he arrived in an RV, opened a manhole in the street, and dumped his sewage in it.   Is that manic, or what?  It reminded me of Herzog’s film, Stroszek, about a German road trip through barbaric small-town America.

What can you do?  This is family.  This is why I left the Midwest.  This is why I came back.

Families don’t change.  Original reactions are often right.

The last time we had lunch together, he told my cousin and me how unattractive we were.   This did not actually hurt us.  He has said worse.

My cousin said,  “Wow!  Do you think we WANT to be attractive?”

I said, “One of the great things about being over 50 is that I’ll never have to take off my clothes in front of anybody new.”

“Are we supposed to be Playboy or The Jane Austen Book Club?”

“Do you see any attractive men here?”

“Hmmm.  How about that one?”

“Couldn’t he be more built?”

That one looks like he works out.”

My cousin doesn’t take any shit.  As she says, the minute you try to have a conversation with him he’s looking over his shoulder to see if there’s anybody more interesting.  He didn’t even seem to take it in that we’d insulted him.

This all is wearisome.

He can’t help being who he is, and sometimes what he does is better than what he says.  He’s my blood!  I’ve tried to get to know him.  I’ve tried to like him.

What can I do?  Be insulted?  I’ve done that.

So here’s the plan.

Let’s go to Minnesota!  Or Missouri!  Or anywhere!

No, I’ll just have to call him back.