Wednesday, July 19, 2006

More on Oddballs

Feeling a little ashamed of my not-so-secret desires to keep away from my crazy niece, especially after seeing the movie Elf. For those not in the know, Will Farrell plays a 30-year-old elf who doesn't realize he's a person and has acquired very strange (elf) habits, like eating only candy. He visits his people family -- the father who left his mom and him behind 30 years before, the new step-mom, the 12-year-old half-brother. Everyone is very much bothered by Elf when he first arrives. He's weird, he doesn't fit in, he does strange things, he breaks stuff. But he is fun, and all he wants is to be loved by his dad, and his extended family. I was almost more worried about having her stay with me in case she let the dog out. Better that she sleep on the street than the dog does, right?

That said, my niece is 37 years old and she has lived on her own for the past 18 years, shuffling back and forth between rooming houses, seedy apartments, Vancouver, San Fran, Quebec City, and so on.

She won't take any help, institutional or psychiatric, because she doesn't think there's anything wrong with her. Maybe in a way she's right. She takes her welfare check and either spends it on second hand clothes, drugs, or gives money away to others. She pats children on the head and tells them they're beautiful. (Kids, interestingly enough, like her.) She says the police are brutes, which may be true, and that psychiatrists are sick and often alcoholic (also possibly true).