lately, my friends and i have noticed how much our parents' baby boomer late-life crises make us want to slap them. we're not talking health matters or anything like that - just your run of the mill 'why can't you behave like a normal person?' thing.
so my dad and i are going to new york in august and he and i have been exchanging emails about it in preparation. this is what i pictured: jazz, dinner, great views, lots of walking around, harlem - really kicked back. some urbanity, some coffee shops and bookstores, some music and a little bit of night life (while assiduously ignoring the fact that three of the best nights i've had have ocurred in this city.) the plan was to travel together. as father and daughter. to share experiences and bond as adult parent/child.
well, it was a good dream but all dreams eventually die.
this woman he's meeting, well, she's not divorced or nigerian. actually, she seems like a very nice young woman from a really great, large, extremely friendly barbadian/haitian family. a christian barbadian/haitian family. they loove dad. all of them - the woman's mom, dad, brothers and even a cousin or two. (personally, i think they want to convince my dad to move to new jersey to start a church.) they want to pick me up from the airport and drive me and dad all around new york; they want to be our tour guides, have dinner with us, take us to listen to music. they want dad 24/7.
all of this would have been easier to handle if dad's meeting this woman had been a date. a date ends after a few hours. but no. this is a freaking family reunion.
does this bother my dad, that these people are going to monopolize all of our time? no. his attention-whore tendencies (which i share) blind him to one simple fact: i don't know these people and i don't care.
i don't want to hang out with people who are strangers. i want to hang out with my friends. and my dad. i want to walk through central park and washington square with my dad; i want to sit on the Met steps with my dad; i want to hear wynton marsalis with my dad. i want to eat cake in harlem with my dad. i want to smell the icky hot garbage smell the city has and watch my dad freak out at all the people and the subway. i want to finally meet Sid! and i desperately want to introduce my dad to a good friend and his family. (the friend who has generously offered to put us up!)
friends + dad. dad + friends. no strangers.
i want to slap my dad.
perhaps it's selfish of me to whine that i don't want to hang out with my dad's new faith friends while forcing him to spend time with mine, but i'll accept that. i think my selfishness should trump his. he's staying with my friends! how does that make me look - my dad not even acting like a guest, just a random lodger?
so you know what i think will happen? i think my dad will end up staying with this extended barbadian family (or a hotel) and i will stay with L- and C- (with little e-) and my dad and i will have parallel weekends in new york and perhaps our paths will intersect and we'll have dinner one night while i'm there.
have i mentioned i want to slap my dad? cuz i do.