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Well, you quite possibly know that your family is partially screwed up when your aunt attempts to visit you and is not allowed to board the plane due to “aggressive behavior”.

Oh, Aunt Linda. How did this happen? I suppose it isn’t that hard to picture Aunt Linda being aggressive, despite her hippie persona. I haven’t seen her in years, which was the reason for the attempted visit. Encouraged by my hippie phase in my late teens/early twenties, she always felt we understood each other. On Jerry Garcia’s birthday each year, she would bake a “steal your face” cake and snap a picture of it, later emailing it proudly to me. 7 years ago while on a road trip, my brother and I stopped by her apartment in Florida to pay her a visit. Aunt Linda and I drank one of those double- size bottles of red wine while my poor brother looked on helplessly. But even then she had a sense of wavering fragility, as if something wrong could occur at any minute.

And things did go wrong at any minute for her. Over the years it would seem that her life was peppered with melodramatic family mishaps. A traumatic divorce. Both of her sons did time in jail for strange things that were of course never their fault.Her oldest daughter became a female bodybuilder. I am not even sure how that relates to anything and certainly doesn’t fall into the melodramatic family mishap category, but I thought I would make mention of that fact to present a picture of just how strange things really are down there in Florida.

I arrived home from work on the night she was due to arrive in Oregon and checked my email. On my facebook page there was 1 new message, and it was from Aunt Linda. The subject: Plane. The text described an interesting situation where apparently she was not allowed to board the plane due to being “too aggressive”, as well as her claim that she did nothing out of the ordinary. Had a couple glasses of wine before the flight.

My emotions vacillated between sympathy (how dare they!), anger (who is going to pay for those hotel rooms my mom bought her in Portland!?!), and morbid curiosity (wow I wonder what actually happened? can’t you just picture some kind of scene?). But after lengthy discussions with the relatively emotionally sane members of my family, I have determined that perhaps the airline did us a favor by pre-screening my aunt for me. The bottom line is, if a 62 year old woman is denied boarding due to aggressive behavior, and she can’t even get her shit together for 5 minutes to get on an aircraft, that week long visit here in Oregon might not have been terribly enjoyable.

And we never did find out what happened. The airline would only tell us there had been an “incident report”. My morbid curiosity hasn’t gone away, but I may never find out. We’ll save that one to the imagination, I suppose.

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