The first of maybe three times that I met all my many actual and partial French Asian relatives in France was interesting and fun but also in many ways strange and kind of difficult. I am separated from all these people by the huge divides of geography, nationality, memory, history, generation gaps, skills, experiences, ideas, stylistic representation, language, age and time. I anyway made I suppose the best of it, I think we all did, from what I could loosely barely mostly tell.
I have a terrible sense of direction, I get lost extremely easily, I got really lost in the city trying to see and do things, I even got lost trying to find my way around the apartment that housed all those wonderful people who either were my apparent relatives or were lifelong friends of the family. All this on top of trying to figure out who was who in relation to me, where I was at any given point, what I was doing, there’s a reason I call myself a “Disoriental,” I have an often shockingly difficult time making my way from any version of A to a designated B.
Anyway, when all was “said and done” and it came at last the time to leave, I made the rounds of thanks and hugs and stared at that huge group of humans gathered in the front hall to bid me adieu. I said my thank you so much and I’ll always remember this visit in terrible French and even worse Laotian, I gave, experienced and received many hugs and smiles and kissed countless pairs of cheeks. At the end of the big ceremonial farewell, I grinned widely and gaily, gave one last florid wave and sauntered through the door, only to find myself in the pitch dark, surrounded by innumerable coats, scarves, hats and other closet type things. In leaving I had missed wide the actual exit door and ended up in the closet.
I hung around in there with the coats and dark for a few beats in order to compose myself a bit and delay the embarrassment of reappearing. When I finally emerged with a facial expression of what I willed to be consummate nonchalance, I peeped at all the faces and people still standing there in a big group close together staring at me with various versions of concern, confusion and wonder. The general expression on those many gathered faces pretty much amounted to musings like, “So this is how shit runs in Canada” and, “Who the fuck raised this retard.”
I acted as cool as cucumbers are often described to be and casually mumbled a second much more indifferent goodbye as I took the most measured steps possible toward what I hoped to Christ was this time the actually correct door. Having to say goodbye all over again after you’ve already done so with great drama and flourish is always anticlimactic and a little bit awkward, especially when your first and failed attempt at exiting involves ending up in a closet.
God I am really authentically an idiot sometimes. Or as Dylan likes to put it, “You’re lucky you’re cute!”