Game Plan: Family Gathering

A continuation of Southern Boulevard’s handy “Game Plan” series. Read GAME PLAN: Museum Visit here.


Family gathering game plan graphic

It’s that time of year again!

All across America, families are packing into the car and heading off for a day with relatives. Some will spend hours driving so they can continue arguments they have on a daily basis, or packed shoulder-to-intestines with sweltering strangers in trains and buses, or soaring hundreds of thousands of feet above ground while watching lame movies in an attempt to distract themselves from the imminent danger.

Family gatherings are a lot of fun and it can be a real privilege to see and meet with older relatives as well as the baby of the family. However, many times they are fraught with awkward conversations, unacknowledged issues. This organized graphic will help you be a pleasant visitor and enjoy your time with family!

The blue line is you, a sibling, and two parents. When you enter, your sibling will immediately go into the bathroom to the right. They’re smart. You will foolishly follow your parents into the Living Room. Here, you will execute a quick buttonhook play to avoid the hug of your aunt’s smelly boyfriend. Agility training in the months beforehand is advised.

Sprint to the dining room, where you and your parents will split up and dodge around a small knot of older women. If your foot speed is lacking, you might be pulled into a lengthy rehashing of the Depression. You have been warned.

The kitchen is a bit tricky. There’s not a lot of room to maneuver. This will require a feint. One of the three people (probably you) will lunge forwards, distracting your relatives as the other two dodge around behind them. When they look for the others, simply charge through. Consider turning a cartwheel or forward roll to avoid contact.

A lot of houses have a random “DEN,” which for our purposes will be called the Den of Iniquity. This is easy. Your cousins will be texting. Thing is, they don’t have a game plan, and are trying to avoid socializing with their bloodline without relying on agility and physical conditioning. Simply wait until they’re looking at someone’s Instagram and take the corner tight so no one can grab you.

But now they’re on to you. Several generations of your DNA are converging behind you in the Den of Iniquity and coming through the Living Room, shambling, moaning, brandishing red cups full of Coke and plates with nitrate-laced meats on them. Grab your terrified sibling from the bathroom and run upstairs. It’s your only choice. Reach your cousin’s bedroom window and jump down off the woodpile, car, or shed which is hopefully in easy reach. Trees are also an option.

Your parents will hopefully execute a feinting maneuver or Travel-Fatigue Negotiations and escape out the front door, meeting you in the yard. Congratulations. You’ve done it.

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