the parents have been in town since saturday. but if you count the fiance's parents, since friday. i am exhausted, and the end, though in sight, is still dishearteningly distant. Jon's parents aren't the problem though; if it was just them things would be alright. hell; they're rational people. they left yesterday. it's my parents. my parents are the problem. big shock. see, there's only so many days in a row of continual negativity (coupled with complete dependence and an inability to function for themselves) that i can take - apparently that number is four.
i'll paint a picture for you, and then maybe you'll understand. take yesterday, for example. they want to go to the village, to look for records. ok. they won't go anywhere in the city without me, so i pick them up at the hotel. well, two blocks into the five block walk to the subway - how far is the subway? this isn't the same subway we went to yesterday. how many more blocks is it? we get into the station - the escalator is too steep. we get on the train - the train is too loud. too jerky. how many stops? gee, that's a whole lot of stops...
we get off the train. if we do not find a restroom IMMEDIATELY, the world will end. well how about there? no, he doesn't want to go in there. there? no, not there either. damnit, he just doesn't know why we even left the hotel room.
we get to a record store, but it's closed mondays. why is it closed? (as if i have some kind of divine intervention in the business practices of village shopkeepers.) well all of the other ones will probably be closed too.
we find another record store. before they've even looked at any records, they grill the employees for ten minutes about whether or not they'll be able to ship the records that have not been purchased. they look and they look. and when they emerge, all they have to say is that all of the records are shit, and the ones that aren't shit are too expensive. (because a mint theloneous monk album from 1976 should cost, what, fifteen bucks?) but is there a used bookstore? well sure. do you want to walk the 15 blocks to get there? of course you don't. what are you looking for? oh, right, rare musical texts. ok. sure. because no one else in New York will be looking for that. there aren't any musicians in Greenwich Village, after all.
ok, so why don't we get some lunch? sure, fine, my mom is easy. she can eat anything anywhere, no problem. she just wants a big salad (now is when we have, say, the fourth conversation about my parents' constipation problems - there hasn't been a day yet that we haven't talked about bowel movements, and my dad hasn't even hit 60 yet). ok, well how about here? no, she doesn't like their menu. here? no. here? no. here? no. ok, well now we're at the NYU dorms. why doesn't melissa just pick a place? what's that? one of your favorite vegan places is just two blocks from here? well why didn't you say so in the first place? gosh, i just don't know.
the spinach salad has too much spinach. the lentil pate is too sweet (what?). my dad's carrot juice is too red. it takes too long. the seats are too small. the tables are too small. they don't like the music.
where do they want to go now? dad doesn't want to walk any more; we've gone at least six blocks already, for chrissake. this frustrates my mother to no end. we end up in washington square park, which is of course under construction. my father just wants to sit; my mother wants to go listen to the bad musicians. each is annoyed with the other for their preference. i take them to my coffee shop... isn't it a bit warm in here?
it's CONSTANT. that's just a two hour slice. at least once every three minutes, one of them has to express displeasure with something. as if they don't know that i'm exhausted and stressed; as if i'd be doing any of this if i weren't trying to please them; as if having them here wasn't putting an enormous amount of pressure on me.
but no, that's not really it. it's really this: it's as if their actions and words shouldn't have an effect on me, or at least not for longer than the instant that it's happening. as if because today they said that they liked last night's dinner, it erases the fact that they complained all the way through it. last time they came to New York was one of the most miserable experiences of my life; not a day went by without some sort of "incident". and when they got home, they called me up and told me what a wonderful time they had and what a perfect trip it had been. because whatever they're saying RIGHT NOW is what IS, and nothing else exists to them. and shouldn't to me either.
wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where there weren't any consequences for your actions? they're sure as hell trying to.
i am exhausted, right down to the very core of my being. so now i will go get in bed with a wonderful man, who will hold me and tell me everything will be alright, and it will. because in 36 hours, they will go to John F. Kennedy Airport and fly far, far away, and he will still be here with me.