Call of the wild
Each year, my parents drive down from Massachusetts and kidnap me for a long weekend. We always end up at a time share resort somewhere in Virginia.
The experience is reminiscent of Groundhog Day – that movie where Bill Murray finds himself reliving the same day over and over and over …..
We get up bright and early (yawn) because dad wakes up every morning at the ungodly hour of 4:30 a.m. We find a place to grab breakfast and out of respect for the folks I attend mass. If I go, I attend church services on holidays-only but figure it’s better to go along than make a fuss. We pack the car, get on the road and kill 3 hours talking about sports, politics, the economy….
Dad likes to drive so we spend a half hour exploring the neighborhood (a.k.a. the town center), talking about sports, politics, and the economy. Then we find a suitable restaurant to eat breakfast. Back at the resort I take a long walk with mom while dad cooks. She fills me in on: what my cousins are doing, the trials and tribulations occurring to the people I went to high school with (and no longer remember), and finally my brothers. I look up and stare into the wide eyes of a baby deer standing at the edge of the woods. We return to the condo and over dinner my parents exchange innocuous comments. As the conversation progresses to financial matters, I bite my tongue and down another glass of white wine.
I’m exhausted. But if anything I want to walk around, maybe hike a mountain, lounge by the pool, read out on the patio. Find more deer. But Dad insists we all go for a ride in search of something he claims Home Depot doesn’t sell and he must find. It’ll be an adventure. Plus it’ll be less expensive way out here. We drive and I ignore him as he talks about sports, politics, and the economy. Three hours later we end up at Loew’s where he purchases the sought-after-item (that he could have bought anywhere in America). The clouds are rolling in. Over dinner we bicker about money and dad turns to me and mentions that I’d be much better off moving “home,” living rent free under his roof, and getting back to a ‘real’ life.
I buy a one-way Greyhound ticket to DC (I despise the bus). I say goodbye. My parents look forlorn as the bus pulls away, leaving them somewhere in Virginia. I feel like crying but am not sure if it’s because I’m:
1) disappointed that this weekend didn’t turn out differently.
2) a coward and don’t want to stick around for my parents’ encore performances.
3) frustrated that we never talk about anything real until it explodes in a series of accusations and insults and vindictive verbal warfare.
4) wondering if 2004 will be the year that I stop caring.