Primo: My dad called me.
Me: Oh no! Is everything OK?
Primo: Sort of.
Me: They never call you.
Primo: I know.
Me: You are supposed to call them. That’s how it works. They never call you.
Primo: I know.
Me: What’s going on?
Primo: My uncle Bob died –
Primo: My dad’s sister’s husband.
Me: Oh. I don’t think you have ever mentioned him by name before. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard you talk about your aunts and uncles at all.
Primo: I don’t think I’ve seen him since I was in high school.
Me: That’s a long time.
Primo: He lives in Connecticut.
Primo: So that’s a long way to go from Pittsburgh.
Me: So what?
Primo: So it’s not like it was easy to visit them when I was a kid!
Me: Really? When we lived in the States, we drove from Texas to Wisconsin every summer to visit family. And sometimes, we would go to Colorado or New Mexico for Christmas because we have other family there.
Primo: Well, we never spent time with them when I was a kid. I don’t think I ever saw them more than once or twice.
Me: Your dad didn’t want to see his sisters? He didn’t want you to know your cousins?
Primo: No, I don’t think he wanted to see his sisters. He is pretty bitter about his childhood.
Me: But his sisters are not the ones who abandoned him.
Primo: I know. My dad isn’t necessarily rational. Anyhow, my uncle died and my dad wants me to go to the funeral.
Primo: Because my dad has a hard time traveling and can’t go himself.
Me: That’s part of it, but if he’s bitter about his sisters, why would he go to his brother in law’s funeral?
Primo: I don’t know. But he wants me to go.
Primo: To represent the family.
Me: But you just said you hadn’t seen him in decades. Have you at least been in touch with him? Or your aunts? Or your cousins?
Primo: No! I have not even spoken to any of them since I was in high school.
Me: So why are you supposed to go to the funeral?
Primo: Because my dad wants someone from our family there.
Me: Has your dad even visited them?
Primo: I don’t know.
Me: Where is it?
Primo: Connecticut. Not near an airport. Connecting flights.
Me: So not an easy trip.
Primo: No. I would have to take a day to fly there, a day to attend the funeral, and a day to fly back. And I would have to rent a car and stay at a hotel two nights.
Me: Why can’t Ted go? He lives two hours by train from Connecticut. He could go there and back in a day. Plus, it’s not like he has a job. He wouldn’t need to take vacation do attend the funeral of someone he has seen twice in thirty years.
Primo: Yeah, I asked my dad that and he said that Ted says he can’t afford it.
Me: Yet – you are supposed to come up with the cash for a flight to the east coast, a hotel, and a rental car? Why can’t he just send Ted $100 for the train?
Primo: My dad also says that Ted isn't really part of our family. He wants me to represent them.
Me: What does he mean, “Ted isn't part of this family?” Isn't Bob Ted's uncle as much as he is yours?
Me: Wow. I mean – wow. Your dad is a jerk.
Primo: Yes. He already told his sister I would go.
Me: Before asking you?