Sunday, January 11, 2009
I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me
My parents came to visit this weekend for the Law & Order of bridal weekends - full of trials. (Yes, I'm fully aware that was a terrible joke. But I just spent 48 hours with my parents and their Catskills-inspired sense of humor is contagious. Like the black plague.)
To clarify, my parents were in town for my floral trial, makeup trial, hair trial and dress fitting (i.e., dress trial). I was definitely nervous about all of the aforementioned trials, especially the hair and makeup since I selected my beauty professionals by closing my eyes and pointing at a listing in the phonebook. (OK, it was more like pointing at the Google results on the computer screen - but you get the gist.) Baltimore is an interesting mix of cultures: while it has a bunch of chic new boutiques, restaurants and bars, there is also a strong blue collar contingent that (let's face it - is less superficial than I am and) prefers spam to spumoni and smokes a pack-a-day instead of working on their six pack each day. I tossed and turned each night as I dreamt of a hair trial that resulted in a John Waters-inspired bee hive hairdo and eye makeup that looked like Cher's Vegas Show team had gone on a rampage.
Thus, I was actually very happy to have my parents coming along on these meetings, if for no other reason than they are certainly not known for keeping their opinions to themselves. (Not so helpful when selecting a wedding venue, very helpful when they need to tell a makeup artist that powder blue is NOT my best color.)
So no sooner had our Marathon Wedding Trial day began, then I found myself sitting in my parents' Volvo on my way to the mall. My mom started asking about her favorite topic - whether Israel is justified in continuing violence against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. No, not really. She started talking about the wedding. Which I must grudgingly admit was justified being that it was Marathon Wedding Trial Day. So we begin to chat about wedding details when she starts asking about my bachelorette party, which is next weekend.
"When are you going into the city? Do you want us to give you a ride?" [Incidentally, The City = New York City. If you grow up in NJ, there is only one City. And it's not Philadelphia or Baltimore.]
I was flabbergasted. It was so nice and so unlike my parents to drive me all the way into the city, only to turn around and immediately drive the hour back to central New Jersey. (They were the parents who used to always say to me when I was younger: "Can't you get someone else's parents to give you a ride to soccer / dance class / drama practice? We always have to drive."). And so, delighted that two old dogs had apparently learned some new tricks, I exclaimed "Yeah! That's so nice of you - to drive me there and then to turn around and go right back! That would be great."
To which my Mother replied breezily, "Oh, we're not going back. We're going to spend the night in the city to belatedly celebrate my birthday."
My mother (rightly) took my silence as annoyance so she continued defensively, "There are eight million people in the city."
Indeed, there are. Which I was aware of. But still, when I lived in Manhattan, I always managed to run into ex-boyfriends while I was picking up a whole pizza to eat by myself, obnoxious girls from high school when I was wearing no makeup, and random cousins who I cared little for and wanted to have to pretend to make plans to see even less - all on a regular basis. Eight million is actually kind of small.
But I was determined to remain level-headed. She was right really. It was a big city and somehow I doubted that we would go to the same restaurants (or bars or lounges for that matter). My parents would stick to midtown and the Upper East Side and we would likely be in the Meatpacking district or downtown. I took deep cleansing breaths and began my wedding mantra. It will be ok. It will be ok. It will be ok.
And suddenly I realized...it would be. It's fine.
So I continued to chat with my Mom and realized of course I actually couldn't get a ride into the city because I was going to go early Saturday morning and they were going later in the afternoon. Foiled again. I was immersed in thought, trying to figure out whether I could stomach taking the super cheap and moderately dangerous Chinatown Bus to NYC or if I should just suck it up and pay an obscene amount of money for Amtrak, which was sure to be less dramatic and offered bathrooms and snacks onboard, when suddenly my Mom asked "Whose apartment are you girls staying at?"
I replied, "Oh, well we actually got a hotel because there are so many of us coming in from out of town that we decided it would just be easier and more fun. And besides, we'll all meet there before we go out."
"That's a good idea. Where are you staying?"
"The Murray Hill Shelbourne - I got a great deal on a suite so it worked out really well!"
This is the point where my Mom made what can only be described as a sort of "tsk-ing" sound.
My stomach sank. Was the place a total fleabag motel? I was picturing all of us huddled on a small shabby sofa looking around the room at rodent infestations. Gross.
But she followed up the tsk-ing with the following, "Isn't that funny? That's the hotel that Dad and I are staying at!!"
Eight million people, huh?
I lost it. I would love to say I acted maturely, like a 32-year woman about to get married. But instead I threw a tempertantrum. I'll admit it.
"WHAT?!? Come ON! I TOLD you I would be in the city that weekend! God, I can't get AWAY from you people!! I want to GET AWAY! I don't want to SEE YOU AT MY BACHELORETTE PARTY. Sweet Jesus."
I told you. I lost it.
I knew I was acting like an ungrateful brat and that my parents had just as much right to stay at the hotel as I did, but that didn't diminish the fact that I really didn't want my parents to see me stumble out of the hotel for dinner at 9 p.m. as they were coming home after their 6:30 dinner plans.
But I knew I was acting like a baby, so I shut up and stewed in silence. I had clearly conveyed my displeasure and there was nothing else to say. Well, on my part at least. I was definitely hoping my parents would realize that it was their responsibility to say that they would find another hotel.
Instead, my mother said "We booked this hotel 6 weeks ago."
I put on my Parental Translator Hat and pressed "Start." Just as I had suspected. According to my calculations, that sentence in parent-speak actually meant: "I know you're our daughter, but screw you - we want to stay at this hotel. Go find another one if you're not happy."
So I quietly sulked.
When we arrived at our destination (the mall to look for tuxes for my Dad), I continued to sulk. I placed a quick call to Mr F and told him to look for alternate hotels for me. And then I tried to move on with the day.
My Mother and I were looking at patterns when my Father excused himself (presumably because he cared about tuxes just about as much as Mr F did). About a half an hour later he reappeared and walked over to me.
"Mom and I discussed it and we decided to switch our hotel. So we won't stay at the one you're staying at."
[Pigs flying; Devil wearing snowboots; Cats and dogs living together; LC and Heidi hugging.]
He continued: "I made a few calls and we got another hotel to stay at..."
Wait for it.
Wait for it....
"... Instead, we're going to stay at the Marriott."
Yup. In an incredible turn of events, I have been saved by my nemesis, mon frere, Le Marriott. I never thought I'd utter such words, but I want to take this opportunity to shout from the cyber-hilltops: "Marriott, I love you!"