Posted by: fullandbye | January 14, 2008

Clark’s Law

The background:

My favorite uncle was visiting from Toronto, and the family was supposed to gather either at my mother’s house in Kirkland or my cousins house in N. Seattle on Saturday evening to see him. On friday evening there was some confusion where the dinner was to be held, but it seemed most likely that my mom would host. I would be arriving late after my SCUBA class, and I was told that if the party moved to my cousins house I would get a phone call informing me of the change, otherwise to make it to mom’s house whenever I could.

The event: After SCUBA I show up at mom’s house around 7:30 (1/2 hour late or so) and find the house dark and empty. No cars in the driveway. No note. Nothing. I immediately assumed that the party moved to the N. End, and was a little miffed that no one had bothered to call me, but whatever. I ring my mom up, and her partner answers the phone with

“Your brother is fine”

What. The. Fuck? No context. Nothing. My heartrate doubled.

“Fine from what? What do you mean he is fine?”
“Your brother is fine?”
“You are not answering my question. Where is everyone and what happened to Matan?”
“We are at the ER and Matan is fine.”
“Allan, what the fuck are you talking about?”
“We are coming home now.”
“Why are you at the hospital to begin with?”
“Matan is fine.”
(screaming into the mouthpiece)
(silence…then a muffled “raz is on the phone. you should talk to him”)
(my mom gets on the phone)
“Raz, your brother got rear ended this afternoon. He has whiplash but is fine. We are at the ER but are leaving now and will be home soon.” (note that in one sentence my mom gave me ALL the information I was pointlessly trying to get from her beau).

At this point I just lost it. In one furious tirade I told my mom how bothered I was that no one thought to call me to let me know that anything had happened to my little brother, and that no one considered what I might think when I arrived to a house I was invited to only to find the place deserted, and to have an inquiring phone call answered with “your brother is fine” followed by a fruitless back and forth that gave me almost none of the information that I needed to get a handle on the situation. Mom listened and then apologized for not calling me, admitting that I deserved to know about what had happened.

I was angry not because anyone acted maliciously, but because they acted carelessly. I was mad because it seemed like my family completely failed to abide by the most basic standards of communication. I was hurt and offended because it made me feel like less of a family member. The whole thing was really emotionally charged. I called my mom to see where my family was because I was where I thought they would be, and instead I found myself in a maddeningly frustrating round of questioning that gave me precisely enough information to flip my shit, but not enough context to avoid being (overly upset). The whole situation was no good, but everyone agreed that my criticism was valid and everyone agreed that better communication is needed in situations like this. End of story.

Clark’s Law.

SCUBA class was awesome. Pool drills and tests etc. all weekend. Four open water dives this coming weekend. Practiced buoyancy control and hovering yesterday. Managed to hover cross-legged for about 5minutes yesterday in 12′ of water without touching bottom or breaking the surface. Super excited for animals I might see this weekend. Not like I really need another (expensive and mildly dangerous) hobby, but I am excited to see what there is beneath the waters I so frequently ply.


  1. Well today your dad sent out an email at work about it. He wants everyone to adjust their head rests. Does that make up for the miscommunication?
    Glad your bro is ok!

  2. My dad, forever a champion of The People, all looking out for their safety and shit (although I guess that is his job and all).
    That is hilarious. Dude was probably up past his bedtime reading about injuries preventable with proper headrest adjustment. Oh, dad…what a character.
    That pretty much does make up for the miscommunication. I spoke with The Dad last night and he was really apologetic for not calling me either.
    I am glad he is ok too. Know of anyone wanting to sell a compact pickup?

  3. <3.

  4. I hate things like that. It’s happened to me as well, where my Grandmother will be dying in the hospital or my dad will have surgery without anyone bothering to tell me, and it pisses me off.
    I’m glad your brother is ok, though.

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