Don’t you just hate it when this happens?
You: Hi mom.
Mom: Hi, sweetie. I have news for you.
Mom: I just found out your aunt Carmen is flying in.
You: Cool. When?
Mom: In about two hours. You’ll need to pick her up at the airport then.
You: Huh?! Say wha —
Mom: She’ll be staying with you for a couple of days.
You: Uhm… I had a few pla —
Mom: I think.
You: You think?
Mom: She might not be there at all.
You: What do you mean?
Mom: She might stay with someone else for a week.
You: And I’ll know this…when?
You get the picture. If this has ever happened to you, as it happened to me this past weekend, there’s a good chance you’re also Puerto Rican.
For those of you who don’t know, Puerto Ricans are notorious for three things: (1) extended families, (2) the Chuppacabra, and (3) visiting with little or no warning. Although I don’t mind the first, and could care less for the second, the third seems to interrupt life on a regular basis. Maybe that visitation deal has to do with the first. After all, if your cousin on your mother’s side fourteen times removed sends you a card for Christmas every year, why shouldn’t he be able to drop by Sunday at four? You’re probably just watching football anyways.
Of course, this is fine when someone’s driving over. The problem is when they fly over. Yes, I know, it takes less time to fly from San Juan to Orlando than to drive from Miami to Tampa, but unless you’re driving around in an tank or an H2, driving four hours north won’t cost you $300. That’s why to make it worth their while, and by extension yours, relatives will sometimes book trips that span a month — which they will tell everyone about but you. They’ll call all your other family members — your sister, your mom, that fourteen times removed cousin who always sends you Christmas cards — and hope that none of them decides to tell you about it. It’s like they don their ninja masks and sneak over on a plane full of other Puerto Ricans in their ninja masks. Their ultimate joy and hope is to have you find them eating your food and sitting on your couch when you get back home from work. (“Hey, how are ya! Thought I’d drop by — for a few weeks…”)
Here’s where it gets really bad for you: you feel like a total jerk if you give even a hint of not altering your plans in order to accomodate them. (“What do you mean you can’t reschedule your MRI?!”) Sure, they’ll tell you its fine, but you know better. It’s not fine, and you’re a jerk for not altering your plans. After all, it isn’t like they can see you every day, right?
And then there’s the worst part. If you say no to them, they’ll wait until their trip is over, fly back…
…and then one of them dies. So now not only are you a jerk, you’re the head honcho of jerks. Not only do you feel bad, but now you have your entire family telling you how big of a jerk you are for not spending time with them before they died. Thankfully, that doesn’t always happen. But then there’s always the fear of “what if it does?”