Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Getting to Know Your Relatives..
One of the most embarrassing things in life today is not knowing who your relatives are, especially those you're related to by marriage and the young offsprings of relatives you seldom meet. You could be having lunch or dinner with them at a restaurant, sitting at neighboring tables, or eating at the same table in a wedding. even sitting side by side at a show or concert. You even talked, joked and laughed together, not realizing that you're related. And then one day, you found out the truth.....
It happened many times to me and can happen to anyone. That's because life today is so mobile. We're flung so far and wide in pursuance of our career. Social visits to relatives are few and far between. Communication by phone is prompted more often by business, official or urgent personal need rather than the need to know and strength our familial bond. Visits to friends' and relatives' homes are mostly occasioned by parties, weddings, and the inevitable departures of someone from this world, rather than by the simple need to foster a relationship or make a social call. No occasion or no invitation, no visit - as simple as that.
And people get married all the time. You can hardly keep pace with the marriages of your distant relatives, relatives who seldom visit you and vice versa or whose house you have never been to before. Unless you're officially invited to their homes for some reception, you'd not want to nor do you know the address, to just drop by. As years go by the number of relatives you've never or seldom met or are totally unknown to you, keep multiplying exponentially. And one day when you come to know the familial bond, you just smile with embarrassment or growl with some misgivings, blaming someone else for the predicament.
Yes, the cause is often the lack of a formal introduction by some senior relatives or even a distant relative who know about the relationship well. At parties and marriage receptions, the more so at get-togethers occasioned by life tragedies such as deaths, we seldom have a chance to be introduced to people formally. You just get around and meet people, especially the hosts, to say a few words of congratulations or condolence. And then you move on. Sometimes you don't even get the chance to shake hands with the host or hostess, or the relatives who invited you for they are so busy attending to the crowd. It is enough that you were there and someone saw you and would mention about your presence to the host.
Thus the familial relationship is never renewed, reestablished or strengthened and people drifted further and further apart with the people you know at work becoming closer to you than blood relationship. This can stretch to the extend that you won't know that the young man or woman you barked at in the office in a fit of temper, at the parking lot over a parking space, or on the road for dangerous driving, is your own nephew or niece by marriage.....
Or worse, the girl that you're saying naughty things to, is a distant cousin or relative's daughter...... Anyone of the boys and girls in the picture could, for example, be your relative by marriage, if you care to trace the relationship.
Well, various program packages in the internet have allowed people to get in touch with their relatives more easily, see their photos and greet each other at the touch of a few keys. Even talk to them through video conferencing. But both parties need to be au fait with the program and have the facilities. Even the phone cannot help when you don't have the numbers. Certainly the interest to know your relatives both near and distant, must come first before a link can be established. More often we just don't care until... .we need to for some reason or other. Well, that's life today.