Breaking in

I flew home to San Francisco today, and my parents picked me up from the airport as they usually do. When I got into the car, my mom said to me, “Don’t get mad about this, but we locked ourselves out of the house, so we need to get the ladder from the garage and climb up to the bedroom to get in.” Great. The dysfunction begins already. Today, I had to break into my own house.

The reason this is “dysfunctional” is that we typically keep a spare key with my aunt, who lives upstairs (they live in a duplex in the Richmond district of the city). Because my aunt used to house a black woman who my parents couldn’t stand (my parents are racist. It’s just a fact. They claimed she was loud and disruptive; she was not), my mom took back the spare key from her, saying she feared that “the black people upstairs” (meaning, that black woman and any of her black relatives and friends) would break into their space downstairs and steal everything. Even after this woman died from terminal cancer in July, my mom still refused to give my aunt back the key because “the blacks are still up there” visiting. That’s just lovely.

We would never have gotten locked out if it hadn’t been for my mother’s paranoia and my parents’ shared racism. The ladder in the garage ended up not being tall enough to get to the second floor bedroom, so I went up the back porch staircase, propped open the kitchen window, climbed over the outdoor staircase banister, and plopped myself onto the kitchen counter and jumped onto the kitchen floor. The entire time, my mom tried to put a death grip on me, but I had to shoo her off, scolding her and telling her she’d be more of a distraction than a savior if I fell.

After we got in, I told them both it was stupid and that they needed to get over it and just give the damn spare key back to my aunt. “What if I weren’t here?” I admonished them. “Neither of you could have done what I just did! It’s not safe for you!” Dad said next time, they’d have the taller ladder there because they left it at the apartment, but I told them that there will not be a next time because they will be logical for once and give the spare key to my aunt. It’s family dysfunction and paranoia like this that drove Ed away, and they still just don’t get it.