I went to a family lunch yesterday, which lasted long into yesterday evening.
I have been part of this particular family my whole life, which, according to The (very well trained) Daughter is 20 years. In those "20 years" I have never eaten pork. Pigs, because of their pinkness, remind me of humans - pink humans. And so I don't eat pigs or their bi-products. It's not an I-love-pigs-so-much-that-I-daren't-eat-them situation. Really, it's not. The thought of eating pig flesh, for me, is like eating human flesh - and, I'm sure you can imagine, that doesn't rock my world.
Also, I don't particularly like the taste of pig. And, as I'm ageing, I find meat in general less and less appealing. I just don't want to suck marrow and juices out of the knuckles of dead animals. Look - I'll do it - but I'm starting to prefer more civilised ways of eating. I really don't want you to get the impression that I am anything like my (strumpet hussy charlatan) ex-sister-in-law who doesn't eat certain animals "because of their intelligence". (The real reason is to be different and difficult. I bet she tucks into biltong when she's alone.)
Anyway, my uncle, who'd had a bottle of leg-spreader while cooking, cooked what looked, and certainly was reported to be, one of the finest roast porks known to mankind. Even to me, the crackling looked inviting.
The Uncle: Pant - you're not eating meat. Are you not feeling well?
(I'd hoped not to make a big scene. I'd hoped that the fact that he'd drained another bottle of leg-spreader by the time we'd sat at the table would ensure he wouldn't notice my plate.)
The Pant: No, I'm fine. This is enough for me.
TU: But there's no meat on your plate.
TP: Don't worry, I'm fine.
TU: Don't you eat pork?
(I've got to tell you that my uncle has the loudest voice known to man. Minutes after he'd bellowed "don't you eat pork?", I got a text from Precious Jo'burg Friend: How can he not know you don't eat pork? After all these years?)
The Mother: She doesn't eat pork. And she's not that fond of meat. I'm not sure whose child she is.
TU: You don't eat meat? That's insane. What do you eat if you don't eat meat?
TP: I do eat meat. I just don't eat it often. And I'm not that into roast pork. Please can we stop focussing on me and just start eating.
TU: Or how about I'll quickly go and fry some pork chops for you?
(Pork chops... aren't they made of pork?)
TP: No thanks, Uncle. This is perfect for me. Besides which, I'm leaving a little more space for wine.
TU: That's my girl. More wine. Ra-ra.
The problem with hanging out with your family, like I did yesterday - particularly family you don't get to see very often - is that things invariably get out of hand. The Father is a non-drinker, as is The Daughter (which is a good thing), and so they bugger off to do really cool things, like search other people's houses for leftover Christmas decoration and restage the February edition of The Nativity Scene. (They titled yesterday's play: "When Joseph and Mary Found A Real House and Mary Was Able To Plug Her Cellphone In And Sing Versions Of Regina Spektor's Samson to Her Babe In Arms." A very modern take on an exceptionally traditional historical moment. Truly breathtaking.)
But those that were drinking became more and more immature as the night dragged on. And not in a bad way. It was just interesting to watch. You see, I've been waiting to feel like an adult for the longest time. I have tried to be adult - I even wear earrings - but when I do adulty things, I always have the slight disappointment that I'm just not doing it right. Last night was for me, an affirmation that I'm probably as adult as I'm ever going to be, which is as adult as real adults are.
The Uncle started hugging and kissing The Father, declaring his love for him and suggesting that it wasn't the liquor talking. The Mother and The Aunt discussed (and giggled about) their ex-boyfriends from their teenage years. They even got into an argument over whose jeans those were - all those decades ago. And when the wine ran out - a feat I'm not even sure The BF and I could have accomplished - they uncorked Frangelico and started fining each other.
I'm feeling better about myself. Maybe I am an adult after all. Or maybe this adulthood thing doesn't really exist. Maybe.