Yeah, well, today as ever, I'll just eat my watery vegetable soup here and leave the floating kneidle to dry.
Damn cooked carrots they call stew.
I blow over a spoonful and feel sorry for myself. All my life I've been trying to fit into a mold that's too small to fit almost anyone naturally. All my life I've been following a world of rules to become someone I'm naturally not. All my life I've been denying myself certain pleasures because my mother would look me up and down and make me feel awful if I'd be who I am.
All my life I've been trying to live another life.
A first cousin comes over to our table to enthusiastically vinch mazel tov. Mma, maa. Cheek, cheek. "Mahazel Tuhuv! You look really good! Turn around. And this way. Wow. What are you doing?" She feels my waist to check for the garment of magic.
She plops down on the empty chair next to me, picks the maraschino off an untouched appetizer, and mesmerizes the audience by telling a 'beferishe' story about a friend of hers that passed away from yene machlah and came back in the form of a bird to request that a $20 loan be repaid.
We all gasp. Seiz doo a bashefer of der velt.
"Unbelievable!" I exclaim. (Oh, for crying out loud!) "Din v'cheshben.."
It doesn't take long for all the dead-visiting stories to come rolling, and I'm not there anymore. I'm looking into my empty plate, knocking the spoon softly into the poor kneidle to the musical rhythm, my left ear positioned in a way that suggests it's listening, and off I am thinking about a subject I read on a blog and the ensuing comments.
I try to hold my facial gestures from moving with my thoughts. In my mind, I argue with the topic's arguments, think about the mood of the discussion, and absentmindedly slip me feet out of those high pumps.
I perk up when I realize I've been spoken to. "Yeah, yeah. I know what you mean." (I have no idea what you were talking about, my dear sister.) Wake up, I tell myself.
I look around for my kids, wave to an aunt, and spot my brother jerking his head sideways at the mechitsah.
My brother always seems to be bored with male companionship. At every wedding he signals for his wife twenty times. We've come to expect him to be hovering in that area. His wife, Paris Hilton, would make her way over to him in her clickity-clack way and halfway disappear on the other side, leaving her rear in the women’s section for tsnuis. I watch her, or what is left of her, and wonder about my big brother who doesn't seem to find his place between his male counterparts. I've always assumed that side to be superior in social interaction.
My thoughts are already weaving a new web and then a blog about the mysteries of my brother when I realize everyone’s quiet. The kind of quiet that turns the music and all noise off. My sister Rosie O'Donnel shakes her head in Paris's direction disapprovingly.
"Zee zayt ois a shrek! Ah shrek" Her hands fly in the air with despair.
(What? Where? How do you mean? )
"Look at this little skirt she's bursting out of. It's ekeldig. It's not even tsee dee zach. She looks like she's wearing a pajama. Mommy eats her heart out when she sees her like this. I'm just plain worried. Zee glitcht with every day. I've tried to talk to her but her head is in the wrong places." I was afraid Rosie was going to cry. She looked so sincere. No wonder she's the family favorite.
I hand her a napkin to dab her eyes with.
"I know" (now), I nod like an old, sad lady. (C'mon. Glitched? She's got her brains stuck in a clothing rack. I wonder what you would consider me had I not been sobbing along with your veygeshreyen.)
Barabara Streisand, the sister in law from Montreal can't agree more. "He isn't even the type for any of this. He was such a good boy. Zee hut eym fardarben!"
All women 'round the table are now actively worried for the well being of our dear family member. For some reason, I feel like I'm on fire. I feel like they're talking about me. For a change, I’m not bored.
I want to fit in. I want to be an insider in a community whose mold is too small to fit almost anyone naturally. I follow every program, and every exercise to become an eligible member of this celebrity society. I'm not brave enough to be entertainment, in a Paris way.
Hillary Clinton, a younger sister of mine, she always likes to share little darling bits of info that she coaxed outta you. "Uh, uh. Paris' on birth control. I know for sure.".
"WHAT?" I gasp. "Really? I thought she's nursing clean?" (I can hear the rear end of my brain exploding in laughter, and wonder what set it off).
Barbara is already bent over the table probing Hillary for a source. Laura Busch, like always, tries to stop this. She won't accept the loshan hora.
I hand my nagging son the whole basket of sour pickles and tell him to disappear. Nem. Gey shoin. I've got more important stuff to worry about.
Barbara Streisand sips some lemon soda. "My mother saw Paris on the bus the other day. She wasn't wearing palm. Everyone looks at her. She looks very modern. How does she think she'll do shedichum?"
Shedichum! Vey! God help ME!
I suggest to Barbara that maybe Paris should go to the rebbe for a kvitle (ha, ha, ha. not funny) so that she can find the way.
Rosie explains to me that there's really little we can do. "You can tell everything about a person from her clothing. You can see that she wants fremdeh felder. Shpitzle, She's erger than you think. It's bad."
"I see. I see.” (Okay, coward, this has surpassed funny. Can you for once, not act heart stricken?)
I can't take this anymore.
Why can't one be who one is?
I start at the challah. I tear off a chunk and chew with loud thumps. The hell with fitting in!
I won't ever look like Rosie anyhow.