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So for today, it’s like I’m five again…

April 21, 2007, 8:22 PM

First of all, don’t get me wrong – I love seeing relatives. Uncle Johnny (Mom’s brother) and Aunt Beth came down from Connecticut to visit for the weekend, and I love seeing them, talking to them, etc. They’re a lot of fun.

However, I do take offense to the way my parents get when relatives come over. All of a sudden, it’s like I’m five years old again. They’ve treated me like a child in almost every way today except cut my food for me. My father actually said “good night” like he was trying to order me to bed last night, for one thing. Then today, they really have gotten on my nerves. We went to Charlottesville today and took the Sienna, since it was the only one that would comfortably seat six people. Since I was the only one who knew exactly how to get where we were going, I figured I’d be navigating from the passenger seat. I was surprised to hear Dad tell me I was driving. I’m like, okay. I prefer to drive anyway. I’d rather just do it than tell someone how to do it. It’s about the only adult thing I got to do all day. And even then, my parents won’t trust my driving, as both parents decided to be back-seat drivers. Mom justified her back-seat driving by saying she wanted to “get there in one piece.”

Now mind you, I’m driving a car that I don’t drive regularly, it doesn’t fit me well (pedals are too far back), and that rides a lot higher than what I’m used to. And a number of controls are in different places, too. After all, I’m now used to driving a Mercury (basically a Ford) station wagon. And here I am driving a Toyota minivan. And I think I did a great job driving it, despite having less-than-awesome equipment. Something’s wrong with the brakes on there, because every time I’d hit the brake pedal, the pedal would shake, and so would the rest of the car. Sable doesn’t do that. Plus the van’s a lot heavier than the Sable. Still, they nagged me about my speed. They nagged me about what lane I was in. Everything.

In Charlottesville, we parked at UVA’s Emmet Street garage, but our group ended up at Bodo’s in the Corner District. Mom and I went back to retrieve the car and bring it back around. I wanted to stop for a photo of the Rotunda with the big “Z” mark in front of it. Mom: “They’re waiting on us!” as she hurried me along as I took two photos. I attribute their bad quality to having to shoot in a hurry. Then further down, Mom stopped for three times as long to get photos of this other thing with her cell phone. She basically blew me off when I reminded her that people were waiting. Then once we got back to the car and got back to pick the rest of the people up, Dad had the family basically storm the car while I was in the middle of traffic, rather than the agreed upon plan – that I would pull off in front of where we were in a turnout lane. I even signaled to them to go back, but there they came. And I got yelled at for complaining. “I’m the parent,” they said. Me, I’m just the one who’s operating a piece of heavy machinery painted red and therefore I’m responsible for everyone’s safety.

On the way up, we’d noticed that Skyline Parkway Motel had been torn down finally (I’ll post pictures once I get over to take them). On the way back, I asked if we could stop so I could get a few shots. Dad got angry with me, and said, “No, what did I just tell you?” I’m like, I’m just asking. Especially since we were going right by there anyway.

Then when we got home, we got ready to go to Staunton, since everyone was going to dinner and then to see a play. I wasn’t going to the play. I don’t particularly enjoy the theater, and so I took the Lappy with me and went to Daily Grind (where I’m writing you now). That part was agreed on beforehand. But still, they tried to get me to dress up. My parents like to obsess about shoes. I could be wearing something really awful, but they’d obsess about what shoes I was wearing. Oh, heavens. I’m going to dinner and then to a coffee shop. My feet would be under a table the whole time. “You can’t wear those shoes!” What’s the difference?

By the way, you know that a parent realizes that they have lost an argument when they pull out the big parental phrase, “Don’t argue with me.” I hear that, and I smile, because I know that they know that I’m right. With that phrase, I know that I just let the air out of their argument.

So, yeah, this has just been a stressful day. It always happens like this any time the whole family goes anywhere together, combined with relatives or not. And it’s always when it’s the four of us. Any combination of two or three of us, and it doesn’t happen. Both parents and me – fine. Mom, Sis, and me. Fine. Dad, Sis, and me. Fine. Any one of them individually and me. Fine. Mom, Dad, Sis, me. Not fine. It’s like I’m five years old all over again.

This kind of experience makes me glad that I’m moving to Washington in a few short weeks, where I will have my own place, and be master of my domain. I’m going up there on Tuesday to look at apartments.

Web site: The first paragraph in here sounds like our family road trips...

Song: Whatever's playing at Daily Grind...

Quote: This is why I usually insist on taking two cars when we go on trips, regardless of the price of gas. It's worth it to be able to have some me time, and split that big, hostile four-person unit into more intimate, personable groups where there's not this power thing where it's like, "We're the parents and you're the children, and therefore we are better than you by our decree," even though we're all adults now. Smaller groups, we're more apt to treat each other as fellow adults. Go figure. My parents are weird. And I'm moving to Washington DC soon...

Categories: Family