I love hanging out with my Parentals.
I love it because it requires absolutely no effort. Hanging out with other people usually means you have to talk to them, and that requires thinking of clever things to say and producing intelligible sentences. Hanging out with my Parentals, I can say anything that comes to mind, regardless of how clever it is, because they’re stuck with me anyway. And for some reason, despite what they may say about my mumbling, I think the words I say to them come out quite coherently.
With other people, if I don’t feel like saying anything, I ask them questions that require long, drawn-out answers so that they have to do all the talking. I don’t have to do that with the Parentals. If I don’t feel like talking, no worries, Mom will pick up the slack.
I also love hanging out with my Parentals because they are very good at assuming responsibility for the things I don’t want to do. I can check myself into a hotel when the need presents itself, but I’d really rather survey the postcards while someone else does the hard work. I can likewise make myself dinner, but everyone knows that food tastes better when someone else has cooked it. I can even ask the store clerk for help if I really have to, but I’m certainly not going to complain if Mom wants to do it for me.
My Parentals tend to rise with the sun, make hay while it shines, then spend the evening in relaxation and crash early. I love this about them because that is my normal pattern as well. Nobody else I know is happy to wake up at 6am, dig into bacon and eggs and be out the door by 7. Have you ever had to occupy yourself for five hours in someone else’s house while waiting for them to roll out of bed? Then remain civil for yet another hour while they work up an appetite for breakfast?
There are far too many people in this world who don’t understand the importance of breakfast, let alone second breakfast, elevenses, afternoon tea, and bedtime snack. But not my Parentals. Having known me for 27 years, they are fully aware of my inability to go more than three hours without sustenance. Even if they don’t want to eat six times a day themselves, they are very good at keeping emergency rations on hand for me.
In recent years, they have even stopped force-feeding me horrible vegetables and started offering me two desserts after dinner and ice creams mid-afternoon. I think this is an excellent turn of events. I also think my Dad was extremely nice to bring a 1.3 kg bag of chocolates to Australia for me.
It’s relaxing, hanging out with my Parentals. There’s no need to worry about whether I’ll be the first to tire out and slow them down (I’m the only 27 year old among us, so I won’t), or be deemed boring because I don’t want to shop all day or party all night or have schnitzel and chips instead of sushi train for dinner. And they’re just so funny. Dad with his multi-coloured pen, illustrating for me how digital camera lenses work, for all the world like we were sitting at the kitchen table back in Buffalo working through/extending to a university level my science homework. Mom stopping to chat with every tour guide, shopkeeper, café server, and innocent passerby as though she were home, walking the dog through rural New Brunswick. The two of them with their sunhats and blatant Canadian accents and delight in learning about that most exotic of all Asian food, honey chicken.
Parentals, I know you’re reading this. You make me laugh.