Me: Dude!!! Mom just changed her Facebook status to ‘Interested in: Women.’
Brother J: Arhahahahaha!!! Did you call her yet? Did you tell her what she did?
Me: I tried but she didn’t pick up, so I called you instead. Don’t you dare call her! I saw it first! I get to be the one to….
One minute later.
Me: Mom!!!!!!!!!!! Mom!!! You’re never going to believe what you did….
Mom: I know. I know. You’re brother just called to tell me I’m a lesbian.
Me: Damn him! Why does he have to ruin these small moments of joy for me?
The conversation above exemplifies how fast news normally travels in my family. Except for when I actually need it to. Like yesterday. When a gigantic earthquake hit Christchurch in New Zealand. The Southerner called me from work as I was making lunch to tell me about the earthquake and warn me about potential residual tsunamis hitting the coast of Wellington (Don’t ask me why, but my immediate reaction to our conversation was to carefully wrap my passport in a ziplock bag and place it in my pocket.). He also let me know that he’d sent my dad and my brother an email informing them that we were ok. At the moment, I didn’t have internet access as a result of trying and failing to set up a wifi connection in our house or else I would have contacted them myself.
A couple of hours later, I turned on the news and immediately thought, Oh Shit, Mom. CNN’s headline was Earthquake Hits New Zealand in big letters splashed across the front of the screen. Why couldn’t they have just written: Earthquake Hits the South Island of New Zealand, Not the North One Where Your Daughter Lives instead? I knew that despite the fact that the news anchors were very clear about the precise location of the earthquake, mom would still manage to convince herself that Wellington had somehow moved to the South Island of New Zealand and I was in imminent danger. However, I didn’t think too much of it since news typically travels so fast in our family I figured someone would let her know that the Southerner had been in touch and we were fine. Because Christchurch IS NOT Wellington.
Oh, how wrong I was. Around 12:00 a.m. EST I finally got the internet working again and learned that I had four missed voicemails on Skype. I immediately called mom and was greeted by the wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Mom: Oh my god, I thought you were DEAD!!!! Why are you trying to kill me!!! Are you ok? I even sent you a message on Facebook!
Me: Was that before or after you announced your new lesbian status?
Despite teasing mom, more so than anything that’s happened since we got here, the earthquake made me homesick. If something that awful happened in my city I would want to be with my family and loved ones, immediately. So that everyone could reassure one another in person that we were ok. Instead, I use sarcasm and biting remarks to communicate my love telephonically. Trust me, it’s the next best thing.
If you’d like to give money to an earthquake relief fund, the Red Cross is taking donations: http://www.grabone.co.nz/christchurch/red-cross