I was nervous, to say the least, about bringing R to Tucson for Easter weekend and to meet my family for the first time. My plans started changing before the weekend even began; with my Grandpa potentially on his last leg, I supposed fluid arrangements and flexibility is to be expected. I had Friday off, so I was thinking it would be nice to see R Thursday night before we went to Tucson, but my parents ended up driving to Phoenix that evening and wanted to stay at my place for the night in order to be back with my grandparents the next morning, rather than driving all the way back to Tucson (or Vail, really). R had apparently been thinking the same thing, so I let him know that I couldn't see him because my parents were visiting. I also decided that, rather than leave first thing in the morning for Tucson, that I should also go visit my sickly grandparents. So my Dad left first thing in the morning to head back up there, and my Mom and I went an hour or two later.
I picked R up around 1 pm, and before long, we were on our way to Tucson. On the way down, I decided to bring up R's mispronunciation of "other" and "together" and the like. He seemed a little stunned, and admitted that nobody had ever mentioned it. He had no problem saying the words correctly, and he blamed his Kentucky heritage for the accent. I don't think I've ever heard that version of an accent before, though, and I've been to Kentucky. Anyways, he took the criticism well, as he has in the past, and I asked him if he would be okay with me correcting him to try to get him to say it correctly. He said he made no promises of being able to fix it, but that he had no problem with me trying. I agreed that that was fine.
We spent some time with my sister at her place before she headed out for her evening activities, and we grabbed some Eegee's, my favorite reason to go to Tucson. Friday night we went to the Tucson swing dance venue, Warehouse Stomp. It was a lot of fun, especially for me because there were almost no follows early on, so I was getting asked to dance almost every song. The dancers there ranged in skill and experience from first time beginners to world class instructors, and I danced with almost all of them, many of them multiple times. R and I of course did a lot of dancing together, and we had a lot of fun trying new things out and showing off our stuff to this new crowd. Saturday morning we also danced, this time at a Farmer's Market where we were invited to lindy bomb. I had wanted to go hiking, but opted to go dancing instead, partially because I hadn't brought a hat or my hiking shoes.
Then Saturday afternoon happened. That was when R would meet my parents for the first time. Now, mind you, he has asked me to be his girlfriend directly once, and indirectly many times, and is already thinking we're destined to be together. He might even be in love with me. On the other hand, I am very much hesitant to even consider him as more than a friend with benefits, and I am certainly not enough over my previous relationship to give even the most wonderful guy an honest chance. So in R's mind, he was thinking he was meeting the in-laws, and I'm of the mindset that I'm testing him to see how he survives and if he's even worthy of being around my family. He was not.
I am not sure if words can do it justice, but afternoon unraveled from a mistake and regret of bringing R, to a complete and utter embarrassment that stressed me out so much I would not be able to sleep. R was excited to get to my parents' place because they had a TV and were watching the basketball games. He decided to reveal to me and to them that he was addicted to TV and if we had one at his place, he would never, ever, ever work or shower or do anything. He said it like he was being funny, but it wasn't funny. He blurted out all sorts of nonsensical things that weren't funny, and laughed at himself like he was hysterical. Now, my Dad actually is hysterical, so from time to time, my Dad would get a few words in and R would just go ballistic with laughter, violently convulsing, turning red and getting veins popping out of his forehead. This went on for several hours as we watched the game. One thing I took particular offense to was R making fun of me about something that wasn't actually true; I don't mind being picked on, I'll make fun of myself sometimes, but he didn't even know me well enough to make the right kinds of jokes to be funny, and then he laughed at himself even more. He sarcastically asked my Mom when she taught me how to cook, to which she responded that she hadn't and that I don't know how to cook. Then he sarcastically asked my Mom when she taught me how to cook. She was really confused the second time he asked her, and he just started laughing even more. It was absolutely insane. A couple times, when I got him alone, I would tell him to calm down a little or to relax or give it a break. He said something about having nervous energy, but that doesn't really excuse being crazy.
My Mom made dinner for us - spaghetti - and I had expected R to go back and get seconds because he almost always eats twice or three times as much as me. He didn't. We then cleared off the table to start playing Pinnochle, my family's favorite card game. R didn't know it, but was prepared to learn. A few hands in, and I got a beer for he and I. He claims the beer was a mistake, because drinking makes him crazy, but I'd argue that he was pretty nucking futs before drinking. Still, he may be right, because the night got worse. It got to the point where he was laughing so hysterically, that my Mom, then my Dad, then I would have to tell him to play a card and he still wouldn't play a card because he was just laughing and laughing and laughing, while we were all sitting there starring at him. I know he was learning, and the game is complicated, so I tried to encourage him to order his cards before we started bidding, and he would blow me off and say, "Blah, blah, blah," and then start laughing again. Nobody else was laughing. I broke out the cheesecake and we all took a minute to eat a slice. This meant that R completely paused the game, because he couldn't multitask. No biggie, we had cheesecake to entertain us for a bit. When we were all done, we tried to get back to playing, but R was going off on some rant to himself. I tried to get him to focus back on the game, so then he started singing to himself and completely ignoring me. When he got up to get some water in the kitchen, I took that chance away from my parents to talk to him privately and try to get him to calm down. I told him we were trying to move the game along and he was jibber-jabbing and laughing instead of focusing on the game, and that I would appreciate it if he focused and helped move the game along. He got defensive about it being a new game and being nervous around my parents, and I told him I understood all that, but he was being overly silly. He told me it would help if I didn't talk to him while he was looking at his cards, so I agreed not to. He did appear to focus a little better and I gave him space without talking to him. But before long, he was back to singing to himself and talking to himself and making jokes that only he was laughing at. Then when my Dad cracked a joke, he lost it, and couldn't play for five minutes because he was laughing so hysterically again. Meanwhile, my Mom was mouthing to me, "Why are you with him?" and I mouthed back to her, "I'm not."
My Mom got very frustrated and was trying desperately to end the game. All three of us started being much more direct and almost yelling at him like a 7 year old, do this, do that, just to get through it. When the game was over, my Mom took a few seconds to say good night and was gone.
The whole way back to my sisters' and for an hour or so there, R and I talked about what had gone on, and I told him that was completely crazy and that he would not be invited back to Tucson if that's how he was going to act. He blamed it on the alcohol and other things, and I just couldn't accept any excuses because he was crazy without the alcohol. It was just weird. I told him I wasn't even sure if I could continue seeing him, and I suggested that maybe it would be better if we just went back home in the morning instead of going to church and spending Easter with my family. It really was like talking to my 7 year old nephew about bad behavior. I mean, R just wouldn't stop talking!! Even as we were talking about it he kept interrupting me and he would ask a question and then keep talking so that I couldn't answer it. I had to nearly yell, "Do you want me to answer that? Or just keep talking?" to get his attention multiple times.
We both agreed that he needed to do more listening and not try to be the entertainer. He also asked me to try to do more positive reinforcement with what I like about him rather than picking on the things I dislike. I gave him a few compliments, including how impressed I was at how quickly he picked up the very challenging game of Pinnochle.
Thankfully, Easter Sunday he was a lot better, more like his normal self, except he was talking about God and church more because we had gone to church that morning and he was sooooo excited to have me at church with him. Whatever. He didn't talk about as many awkward things and he did a better job listening. When offered alcohol, he passed, although he went back and was eyeballing it later, but decided against it a second time. It was hard to come up with more positive reinforcement, all I could think of was in terms of negatives, he didn't go crazy, he wasn't obnoxious, he wasn't laughing hysterically when nobody else was, etc. I was just relieved that Saturday didn't repeat itself, and I hope it never does!