Wednesday, April 26

Meet the parents

It's possible that my parents might come visit this weekend. This is a major development. I have lived in Memphis for more than a year and they haven't been to visit me where I live a single time.

They have, however, come to the Elton John and Toby Keith concerts (both times they came by the office to visit me for a few minutes while I was at work), and my mom briefly stopped by my apartment last summer so I could drive her to the airport. But there has been no concerted effort of their part to come to town just to hang out with me for the day and see where I live.

And I don't know why.

I'm sure it doesn't amount to anything more than an oversight, or procrastination and homebody-ness (I can attest to the power of those forces). They came to see me twice in Mufreesboro (one of those times they were helping me move into a new apartment), and I was there for almost five years. There's just something about traveling that is unappealing for them if Civil War sites aren't involved, because they will pack up and go to Gettysburg or South Carolina or even rural Mississippi for a week with hardly any notice. But getting them here? That takes strategery.

So I've started guilt-tripping my mom and telling her that I want them to at least see the apartment I'm living in right now, because I might not renew my lease if the landlord raises the rates this summer. My dad never saw my old apartment (I suspect it was because I was shacking up with Phil; Dad wouldn't come visit us in M'boro when we lived together either), but I'd really like for him to see this one. Not that he'd have much to say about it. I'm just curious about what he'd think. My mom, too. Maybe she can look at my plants and tell me why they all keep dying, and who I inherited the Touch of Death from.

The underlying implication of my "I won't be in this place forever" talk is this: I won't be here — two convenient hours away from them — forever. Actually, I never planned to live so close to them; it just sort of worked out that way. My plan was to inch far, far away and into a big city where I could be anonymous and weird and not have people write mean things about me on chalk boards. And I've never made that desire a secret.

My aunt once told my parents, when I was a teenager, that if they kept me on too short a leash (which they kind of did, though I'm grateful for their rigid guidance because it did keep me out of trouble), I would run loose once I got the chance. I think she might have meant that I'd go a little wild (in the Savannah booze and sex sense) once let off the leash. That didn't exactly happen; I'm a pretty good kid despite my vices, and I've never really given my parents anything to worry about.

But my aunt was right: Freedom is both daunting and tempting, and will hopefully take me far from where I've come. I've had the urge to move away since I was about 15. But my family pretty much keeps me tethered. I hate the thought of moving away and seeing everyone only once or twice a year. I hate thinking that every time I see my nephews, they will have grown taller by inches and smarter by volumes and more and more jaded by hormones. I hate knowing that if I move away, my grandmother is going to get sick and time spent with her while she's still healthy will be a thing of the past.

I hate knowing that time isn't going to stop just because I'm not close to them anymore.

But I know the day is coming that a plane ride might separate us. It's just a matter of where and when. So getting my parents to come see me and the places I haunt right now is just part of trying to catch them up on who I am these days. I do a pretty miserable job of communicating that with words or actions to them. I want them to come see for themselves.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmm... this is fascinating. Do you suppose they felt comforted by the fact that you were with a
"may-ahn" 24-7 in Murf-rees-boro, but are somewhat discomfited (?) by the fact that now you are not in Memphis? It could be something that simple but I don't know them at all. Now they want to come check out exactly where you're at and see that it's "safe" enough for their li'l girl. Which, of course, being Midtown, it's not. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA HA HAHA HAHAHAHA. You know me now, don't you?

Thu Apr 27, 02:50:00 PM  

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