My brother has been visiting for a week, staying for an extra week, and in almost every way it has been great having him here. I like my brother. We get along well and I can spend a lot of time with him without him getting on my last nerve. That’s partly because I can tell him when he’s being an idiotic know-it-all and he doesn’t get mad at me for it, and he is very funny and makes me laugh.

He is also a bit of a weirdo. This trip, I am reminded anew of some of his strange idiosyncracies.

1. He is a healthy eater, always insisting on fresh steamed vegetables with every meal, and has been pushing me on turkey bacon. And yet he smokes a pack of cigarettes a day. “Why are you worrying about the bacon when you are sucking on poison sticks half your life?” I ask. He doesn’t reply. Also — why do smokers think they won’t smell if they smoke outside? I have gently had to tell him that he reeks of tobacco at all times.

2. He is an environmentalist, hanging his clothes outside, washing only in cold, making sure the house is almost always in total darkness, and yet he insists on driving his car everywhere. I am right on the Metro line, and downtown in about 10 minutes. He has been visiting all the downtown museums but absolutely refuses to take the subway, instead driving and spending a half hour finding a cheap parking spot. He has also been nagging my ass since he got here about getting a car. NO! I AM AN ENVIRONMENTALIST!

3. He is fiercely independent, and hates to be told what to do, yet he is beholden to his little Garmin GPS device he calls “Little Buddy.” He plugs addresses into Little Buddy, a female with an English accent, that are five blocks away. He is so dependent on being told where to drive and what to do by this little device that he usually pays no attention whatsoever to traffic signs that might suggest Little Buddy has it wrong.

Last week he drove me to the airport. He refused to follow the “departures” sign because Little Buddy, whose voice I was rapidly coming to despise, was telling him to go elsewhere. “But that’s the ramp to departures!” I said. “I’ve been here 100 times!” Little Buddy led us to some industrial loading docks near the airport, but my brother still insists it wasn’t her fault — it was the fault of whoever redesigned the airport.

All in all, however, it’s been fun. He runs errands for me while I cook and clean for him. It works!

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