this past weekend K and i made a trek north for a family reunion (on my dad’s side). the last time i went to one of these things was the summer after my senior year of high school. i wore a red t-shirt that said “13th annual johnson family reunion” on the front and “back to the good ol’ days. peace, love, and harmony” on the back. note, my last name is not johnson and the family depicted on the back is black (i am also not black). i thought for sure this t-shirt would get a laugh out of everyone there and i would be a comedy sensation. alas, no one even noticed the shirt (even my parents) so all i did the entire time was wander around wondering why no one in my family paid any goddamn attention to the genius in their midst.
this time i didn’t have any such notions of being the center of attention so i just wore a really cool t-shirt i got at comfest from vivisect apparel of ohio with a bunch of math lines drawn on it. (they don’t seem to have the design on their website or etsy store, so you’ll just have to take my word for it when i say it’s really fucking cool. of course, i like just about anything with ohio on it, so maybe i’m slightly biased).
family reunions aren’t something that happen very often in my family. this one was mostly for my dad’s cousins (with a different last name than ours) so i really didn’t know anyone there outside of my immediate family and my aunt/uncle. i’m generally not that outgoing at events like this, and apparently no one else in the family is either, as i ended up sitting at a table with everyone i knew for most of the afternoon.
at one point my great uncle don from florida suggested that 2 people from each table get up and move to another table to get to know some people. one of my dad’s cousins and her son ended up at our table which was cool because they were kind of interesting people. the lady was a yodeller and had travelled to europe a few times to attend yodelling … events … i guess. her son was a native american re-enactor who has been on the history channel a few times. he was also a metal worker. he recently did a handrail for the wrigley’s of chicago (wrigley field, etc).
it’s pretty interesting to hear about these people that share genes with me, but that i don’t know at all. we have some things in common. there are quite a few musical/artistic people in my family which is pretty neat. of course, those genes seemed to have skipped me, although i guess i am kind of creative in certain ways. just not visually artistic or musical.
the best part of the reunion, to me, was one of the 2nd/3rd/whatever cousins had done a good bit of geneology research and had cds with old photos on them. it’s strange to look at these pictures and think of these people as actually existing. even stranger to think that i wouldn’t be here without them. it just kind of brings into perspective the entirety of humanity, in a way. all these disparate events and people connect in your past and somehow you are made out of those completely random encounters. even more amazing when you take into account the myriad and infinite ways that things can not happen.