Monday, February 7, 2011

A Teenager for a Brother.

Dear Globlets,

This is a blog assignment I did for Creative Nonfiction. I'm thinking of turning it into a formal essay sometime in the near future. The "ladder" bit was slightly modified because I didn't want to use my brother's real name.

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Dressed for the 50s - Grease Night!

Sometimes we call him Child, and other times we call him Poppet (or Poppetino) thanks to Sexy Pirates Pirates of the Caribbean. I am Oppet to him and our mom is Mommet. When he was a toddler and couldn't pronounce his or my name, he was Aki and I was Nani.

Right now, we're watching 1000 Ways to Die and Aki is responding to an incident with an idiot and a wood chipper. I don't think I need to give you the details. Yesterday we practised our aim using Wii remotes and the foreheads of very angry zombies: Resident Evil -The Umbrella Chronicles. Speaking of umbrellas, a sword-swallower on 1000 Ways to Die is about to swallow an umbrella and the umbrella will open inside of him. Isn't that lovely? Adrian says he can't look but he does anyway. This is what we do on weekends. This is our bonding time.

Neither of us has any idea of what the point of The Umbrella Chronicles is. We hit (A) furiously whenever the characters start speaking and we yell at them, saying, "Shut up! Hurry up! We don't care! Can we get to the zombies yet, please?" We just want to kill things, not be engaged in any kind of plot or storyline, or get attached to any characters. Why there are tiny, savage, abominable snow-monkeys that attack us is beyond me, but we haven't the patience to figure that one out. Shoot first, ask questions never.

There are times, of course, when he drives me absolutely nuts; he is my little brother, after all. I recorded an incident that occurred last Friday:

I was taking down a sheet I had hung up on a wall for a photo shoot and I couldn't reach the last nail so I asked him to bring me the step ladder. I was holding the sheet because I was afraid that letting it go would make the weight pull down on the final nail and it would tear. He was in the other room listening to a song by Andrew Bird and he called back, "What?!"
"Can you bring me the ladder, please?"
"What?"
"The ladder! Can you bring it, please?!
"What?"
"Bring me the goddamn ladder, Aki!"
The music got louder.
"What the hell? Seriously, Aki! Please get me the ladder!"
The music got louder still.
"Aki, I swear to god! Bring me the ladder or you shall die!
"What?"
"Aki, damn it, the ladder! LAD-DER. STEP LADDER. A LADDER ON WHICH I CAN STEP TO REACH A VERY HIGH OBJECT!"
The music got louder.
"A STOOL! A STOOL! GET ME A FUCKING STOOL, PLEASE!!!"
Then Aki appeared. "Did you want something?"
Aki finally brought me the step ladder. "Hey, why did you want the music a step louder?" He asked knowing perfectly well what I had meant.

I was ready to kill him.

I never went through the OH-HELP-I'M-A-TEENAGER-WHAT-DOES-IT-ALL-MEAN/MUST-ACT-LIKE-JERK phase; I was usually just pissed off that I had bothersome hormones that made my skin look bad and my eyeballs leak with every sappy commercial that played on TV (Damn you, Lowe's Home Improvement!). Okay, I'm still pissed off about these things, and although Aki's skin is no longer flawless as it once was, he isn't showing symptoms of that phase either.

He is four years younger than me but he's taller even when I wear high heels. So, he's like 4'8 or something. He loves to bug me about this now. He often walks over to me, straightens his back and looks down at me; grinning, he'll say, "How's it going down there?" He's been waiting to be tall for ages, especially since his friends were all 5'9+ by the time he was 12. He's 15 now, and according to stereotypes we see in the media, his mind should be deep in the gutter. He should be rude to adults and girls, and always acting out, doing illegal things, being emo, getting moody, trying to fit in, trying to be cool, trying to figure out who he is and why he is, but he's not. He just doesn't really care. Although there are times when I think to myself that he will be the reason I move out before I can afford to, he really is the kindest teenager I have ever known. He holds the door open for people automatically; he takes his plate, as well as everyone else's, to the kitchen after dinner without being asked to; he doesn't make a fuss when he's asked to help around the house; he has followed me from his bedroom where we were watching 1000 Ways to Die to the living room, where I'm not distracted by disgusting candidates for the Darwin Awards, and he is now reading an IKEA catalogue with Lucy curled up on his lap. He didn't have to follow me, but now he's with the whole family. He isn't locked in his room alone. Is this normal behaviour? Should we be concerned? Should we be grateful because one day he might snap and turn into a rotten, sleazy prick? Maybe he's just... nice?

One thing I cannot ignore, however, is his unfaltering ability to be incredibly annoying at least once every single day of his life. In fact, I can't remember a day when I did not threaten him with an ass-kicking or a black eye. I've only ever punched his shoulder, of course.
"If you sing the 'Trolololo' song one more time, I'm going to punch you in the face." - That usually does the trick. (He's taller than me but my threats still work? What?)

I cannot ignore his complete and utter obliviousness to 96% of his surroundings either. He jumps into the middle of conversations that begin even when he is in the room at the time and asks what the speakers are talking about. Not only is his hearing selective, but his memory is too, except when it comes to cars. He will tell you the make of any car on the street and what year it was made, and when you ask him how he knows he'll go on about how they changed the headlights in 2005.
"Do you see how the headlights are like this?" He motions with his hands. "Well, now they're like this and the previous model was completely different. Do you see what I mean?"
"No?"
He can't remember how to conjugate certain verbs in Spanish (he forgot all he learned when we lived in Chile), but he knows every detail about every car in existence. If you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he'll say, "Richard Hammond" - a co-host of Top Gear, the best car show known to man. There isn't an episode of this show Aki hasn't seen at least twice.

Together, we sing Blue Swede's "Hooked on a Feeling" while we wash the dishes, we recite Eddie Izzard's "Death Star Canteen" by heart, we team up and kill undead beings on a regular basis, and, of course, we piss each other off beyond belief. And I wouldn't have it any other way. He's my brother and I love him; he loves me too, even though he won't ever admit it out loud.

He's also my model sometimes:

July 2009

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