Thursday, June 08, 2006

traveling with dad: the boomers suck

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.


bitchphd said...

Ooh, this is weird. I would be annoyed, for sure. It's not the "my friends vs. his friends" thing--it's the "total strangers" vs. "people I've at least heard about, or that my daughter has known for quite some time" thing. Not the same thing at all.

ding said...

thank you!
i was feeling really ungrateful and weird that i was getting angry that our weekend was being co-opted by this very nice, overwhelming, Stranger family.

my dad's feelings will get hurt if i say something and i don't want to throw a tantrum but i can feel a tantrum coming on!

why can't my dad be the normal guy who doesn't know anyone and just wants to hang out and be led?

Anonymous said...

why can't my dad be the normal guy who doesn't know anyone and just wants to hang out and be led?

Becauuusssss your Dad is a grown man my dear. If he wants to hang out with some hot young woman and her relatives, what's the problem? I am sure he is a responsible adult who is more than capable of handling his own self without his daughter dictating to him what he should do or who to do it with.

Have fun Ding!!!! Cut your Dad loose. Doesn't he deserve some fun and happiness? Ding you deserve to have fun too, enjoy NY and go see The Color Purple, It's the Bomb!!!

Oh and, who knows, does he even know what the lady looks like, I hope so.

HAVE FUN , Ding.
who likes your blog

jesus chick said...

did you tell him all the things you want to do together? a.k.a. have you shared your expectations? perhaps there is a middle ground you can reach - doing stuff together and still hanging with the "stranger people" (which is why he's going in the first place, right? and why you decided to go along with him?)

Orange said...

Maybe you could put up with The People for one day (or meet them and your dad for the occasional meal), he could hang out with just you for a couple days, and the other days you could each do your own thing?

ding said...

there's all sorts of anxiety in this trip with my dad, the least of which is who these Strangers are. my dad and i are so alike, we just frustrate the hell out of each other.

i've shared some of my expectations with dad but not all of them; and, yes, thanks to those of you who've reminded me that i'm the one who bogarted the trip. mea culpa.

so i will try to chill out. i'll let the weekend unfold and what happens, happens.