Monday, October 3, 2011

Saying Goodbye

No, I'm not. I'm not going anywhere. You're stuck with me now.
But yesterday evening, Mr Gingerbread and I travelled an hour down south (= a hop and a skip down the road for American readers, a long-distance journey for this Irish writer) to attend my brother-in-law's birthday party. My husband's sister - she who is pregnant, as mentioned here - invited us to the party and so Sunday evening saw donning our gladrags and dancing shoes, and off we went.

And it was all very nice till the end of the evening. Then my husband and his sister started to do something that his family are prone to doing: The Protracted Farewell. Mr G and his sister share a similar sense of humour, so they were exchanging quick-fire banter of the slightly demented stand-up comedy sort, when I gently stepped in and alerted my better half to the fact that it was almost midnight and he'd wanted to leave a half-hour previously. I leaned in to hug my sister-in-law goodbye, then she turned to her brother - and the weirdness began.
"Goodbye," she said. "I wish you both a safe and pleasant journey back to Gingerbreadtown."
"I thank you," he replied, "And I also extend my gratitude on the kindly proffering of an invitation to this, our dear brother-in-law's birthday."
"It was my pleasure. I am very happy to have been able to welcome you both here as guests."
"Again," said my husband, "We were delighted to have been asked. It was no trouble at all; on the contrary we welcomed the opportunity to be a part of the general revelry."
"The pleasure was entirely on our side and once again, on behalf of my husband and myself, I would like to thank you both very much for having come here tonight."
Etc.

Get the picture? I personally think that they're just overcome by the emotion of parting, but rather than give each other a quick squeeze and indulge in the kind of parting that is a sweet but brief sorrow, they start making very formal ... speeches to cover the awkwardness. When all four members of the Hubby family are saying farewell, it becomes the kind of event to which one feels one ought to have been invited. I have to resist the temptation to applaud during the pauses. Instead, I wander off to laugh into the clematis and come back twenty minutes later for a round of hugs, dragging my husband into the car as he wishes his father continued good health, his mother many good wishes and his sister a safe and pleasant return trip to her home in southern Bavaria.

4 comments:

Annie said...

This sounds so familiar. I'm married to a Pole, well his parents are Poles, and his endless aunts, uncles, cousins, etcetera ... my 'Pole' is actually as British as they come, born and raised and schooled in the UK and not prone to public shows of affection ... but the rest of his family take half an hour to say goodbye, and that's before the kissing starts ... by the end of that I'm usually crying into the clematis! You have my sympathy ;D

Janelle said...

ha, ha, ha, ha...once again you have me in stitches. This type of leave-taking made me nearly bonkers when my husband and I were newly married. Now, I load the kids and start the car while the LENGTHY goodbyes start. Eventually, they make their way to the drive, and I blow kisses and wave as they follow us out of the driveway.

KinnicChick said...

Are they midwesterners? (US stateside) Or of Norwegian descent? Because this seems to be the actual norm around here. :) LOL

Never pack the refrigerated food/cold leftovers in the car until well into the goodbyes in this neck of the woods. A good 20 or 30 minutes into it. (Because of course, it would be rude to rush them along DUE to the cold food being packed already. *snickers*)

Anne said...

Our family are all 'quick goodbyers' so you gave me quite a giggle reading your interesting goodbye! Sounds like such a good family! :)