Debbie Downers

As noted a billion times on here ,the past few weeks have been insanely busy for both D and me–between work, stuff for the rescue, trying to get more of my own writing “out there”, socializing, and trying to enjoy the summer, our time has been totally tapped. Sadly, this has affected how much we’ve been able to see my family, especially because it can be tricky to carve out time to travel down there that coincides with my dad’s work schedule and with my mom’s trips to the nursing home with my grandmother to see my grandpop.

So it seemed like today would work out perfectly since my dad got done work early and D got out early enough where we could meet for dinner to catch up.

True to form, my grandmothers came for the trip–we refer to them as “the Nannys.” One is widowed and the other, as mentioned, is living on her own with my grandfather essentially incapacitated (he has Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s), so my dad brings them out when he can, which is all the time. It is generally a give in that if we are to go somewhere, they are to come, too.

I hate to say that I mind this, but sometimes it can be frustrating, especially when they are in a mood, which is most of the time. Imagine Statler & Waldorf, the two grumpy Muppets who heckle from the balcony on “The Muppet Show”. Similarly, sometimes there antics can be endearing and sometimes they are…not.

Tonight they were not.

Although we were saved from discussing Beckapalooza (did I mention most of my family are  die-hard Fox Newsers?), dinner definitely seemed to be the perfect opportunity for any concerns about our life choices to be aired.

From what I chose to order at dinner (“Who goes to a steak house and doesn’t order steak?” —um, that would be your granddaughter who hasn’t eaten meat in over a year), to my vacation spot choices, everything was up for criticism.

And usually I let this shit roll off my back. I’m not great at that, sure, but I’ve learned more and more that giving in to it only strengthens their insanity and so it’s best to joke back or ignore it altogether.

But then my grandmother really crossed the line with me.

I don’t exactly remember how it came up–I think it was my dad making small talk, and he asked about our rabbits. I said they were doing good, nothing eventful to report.

“Keeping rabbits in the house like that is cruelty to animals,” my grandmother retorted.

“Nanny, they’re domesticated animals.”

“Well, that’s cruel to do.”

“We’ve domesticated cats and dogs… even humans are domesticated.”

“I still don’t think rabbits should be kept in the house. They deserve to be outside. It’s not right. It’s cruel.”

This was the point in the meal where I officially gave up.

I have long since recognized that each individual leads their own life and how they choose to live it may differ significantly from mine. I understand that the choices I make are not the choices that someone else would make. And I have learned a very long time ago that the life I should be living vs. the life that many of my family members think I should be living are two very different, very separate things. And I have done my best to let them have their opinions and to carry on with what I do, always being mindful to not upset their convictions too much.

But this seriously pissed me off. My biggest frustration with her comments/opinion weren’t that she stated them, it was that she wasn’t trying to make conversation or really even hear any sort of explanation: she was passing spiteful judgment and simply letting us know that we are partaking in yet another activity she doesn’t agree with. And, par for course, she’s letting her own hard-headedness and misinformation completely form her granite-solid opinion. I get that, through no fault of anyone, most people don’t know anything about domesticated rabbits or their proper care. Shit, I knew nothing about their proper care when I had my first one.

But I have been working very hard for the past 4 years to right the wrongs of my own ignorance when it came to their care and have become extremely involved in rabbit rescue and general animal rights campaigning. And I have done this at the expense of being considered a weirdo (well, more of a weirdo), and for being considered foolhardy, and bleeding heart, and all the other bullshit stigma that comes when you support something outside of a selfish reason. I have taken animals, specifically rabbits, who have been on the verge of euthanization and found them a home, I have worked to gain extra exposure and funding for the rescue I work with to try and raise the funds needed to build a facility. And thus far, I have raised thousands of dollars for this cause and have put together fundraisiers and have solicited friends and businesses and have organized events and have sent countless letters and emails and have written grants and networked, all for the sake of this cause.  All in the hope of changing public opinion, of saving the lives of animals, of providing a second chance and righting the wrong of animal neglect and abuse.

So to sit there, and have my flesh-and-blood grandmother pontificate over her slab of half raw cow flesh about how I am cruel to animals was one of the more infuriating moments I’ve had in a long time.

I’m just so floored by the blatant disrespect that she, and my other grandmother (who, when Donnie tried to explain why we’re saving rabbits from shelters/providing them with medical care remarked “I don’t know why you just don’t put them down…medical care is so expensive anyway”) have for me and my feelings. And honestly, the age thing is not no longer an palpable excuse for me.  I have countless friends of ALL ages who are not as bigoted, ignorant, or plain rude as this lot.

And even MORE baffling is how they constantly, passive aggresively remark how we barely come around, how they never see us. And all I could think, beyond why the HELL would we take out extra time for you if this is what will come of it, is if you hate every life choice I’ve made SO much, why the FUCK do you want to spend extra time with me?!?!


2 thoughts on “Debbie Downers

  1. That’s freaking hilarious. You should have Donnie send her a copy of “Food Inc” and ask her if the conditions under which the animals who provide the meat she’s partaking of are acceptable. How’s that for cruel?! And you support it by continuing to eat it!
    My rabbits, on the other hand, are loved, well cared for, happy pets. They get exercise, physical affection and good food — no different than a cat or dog.
    Which is more cruel?

    I can’t deal with elderly people who think they should automatically have everyone’s respect because they’ve managed to live for 7 or 8 decades. You can’t be respected if you don’t afford the same courtesy to others — regardless of their age. You’re not automatically wise because you’re 75. Experience and insight develop into wisdom. Not stalwart, antiquated opinions based on what you surmise, rather than facts.

  2. Usually, i just ignore those types of comments as well. Your family and mine sound very familiar and you simple can’t reason with people who refuse to see past one particular hardened view. I let it roll, and try to talk about something else.

    Sometimes, that’s not so easy, especially when you have loud-talking, one-view family members. I’ve gotten much better about it over the years. I just let it roll. Smile and nod, and then scream in the car. Just remember to ask Donnie to cover his ears first.

    My dad openly does not like animals, and doesn’t understand why I prefer to have cats over children. So the last time my dad said to me, “Just get rid of them. Put them to sleep,” when I mentioned that my cats were driving me particularly nuts that day because Matt wasn’t home so they were felling a little frantic, I replied with “I can appreciate your point of view, Dad. In fact, I tend to tell people who complain about their kids that they should have swallowed.”


    “Go ask mom.”

    He hasn’t said it to me since.

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