Can I interest you in some cheese?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by ulterior epicure

(This blog post is for anyone who would rather walk on glass than have to sit through an evening composed of bad hors d’œuvres and nonsensical conversation composed of crap you could give three rats’ asses about.)

Last night I had to undergo the dreaded visit to the in-laws.

(I’m glad I’m not one of those bloggers who actually counts with the support of extended family because it means I’m actually free to write about this stuff.)

The arrival at the in-laws is marked by the significant other’s mother greeting us at the door, ready to take our coats, and remind us to remove our shoes.

This is followed by significant other’s father ushering us to the living room to where a predictable guest already awaits.

This guest would be none other than the significant other’s “still-a-bachelor-even-though-I’m-way-past-forty” brother who’s happy as a clam that we’ve arrived. This because we can act as an audience for his new house digital picture display.

Without even a glass of alcohol to take the edge off the nightmarish evening that awaits me, I’m asked to witness shot after shot of his new bathroom, new living room, new kitchen and new bed.

By the tenth picture I’m ready for the significant other to light me on fire so I can catapult myself from the third floor terrace in a blazing glory.

However, before I can even hand him the matches, out comes the significant other’s mother with a tray of cheese. Yay!

OMG, have these people never heard of real aperitif and why in all these years have I not understood that the only way I’m ever going to eat anything tasty in their home is if I bring it myself?

“No thank you, I will pass on the cheese.” (Why? Because like I’ve told you for the past nine years, I hate cheese.)

“Would it help if I threw in some crackers?”

“No, I’m still going to pass.”

(Perhaps you might interest the significant other with this type of rat food. He seems to be very fond of it. Perhaps this is also why you continue to serve it year after year.)

At this point, the significant other’s brother pulls me out of my reverie as he tugs on my sleeve to remind me his digital frame is still cranking out pictures.

In the meantime, the significant other’s father looks out the window and then looks at me, almost as if suggesting he would like to join me in the “light myself on fire ceremony” followed by the catapult.

“Did you see this one of the toilet? It’s a great shot, isn’t it?”

I would like a shot of anything now to anesthetize me to this mental anguish but instead, out comes the significant other’s mother bearing gifts of coffee and more cheese. This time true to her word, accompanied by crackers.

This further convinces me that somewhere between the first offer of cheese and the time she went into the kitchen, she lost her ability to comprehend English.

“Did you see this shot of my new bed?”

(God I wish I were in bed. Alone without all this black noise, the cheese tray and the ever-changing digital frame.)

How many pictures did he actually take of his bathroom and why are we looking at them anyway?

“Honey, do you want cheese?” significant other asks with a smirk.

“Do you want me to stab you?” I whisper back. “I’ll give you fifty euros if you smash your brother’s frame.”

“I would have done it for twenty”. “Deal. Now go and put it and us out of this misery.”

Almost as if privy to our whispered conversation, the significant other’s brother turns off the frame and carefully puts it away.

“I guess I’ll put the cheese away if no one’s going to eat it.”

(Again in my head) OMG, are we still talking about the cheese?

The significant other’s father still has that look on his face; almost pleading that we commit the double suicide.

I sadly shake my head from side to side, and take a sip of my tepid coffee.

The cuckoo darts out off the clock and reminds us it is now 8pm.

There is a God.

We make a run for the door and shout, “It was great seeing everybody. See you next year.”

Really? That soon?

As we head into the night, we jointly exhale and walk away as fast as out legs can carry us.

When was the last time you had to endure your in-laws?