Christ. Well. It happened again.
The rumbling you heard Thursday was not, in fact, a tornado, earthquake, thunderstorm or any other natural disaster. It was my parents, a.k.a. Gloom and Doom, crossing the 14th Street Bridge and trying to drive the straight line to my condo. They didn’t quite make it. Not sure how “drive straight up 14th Street” resulted in a left turn and several rotaries, but it did. At least they didn’t repeat a “Nantucket, 1978,” when my dad made a highway out of a bike path.
After several minutes of my mother screaming that they were lost, and me responding with “Ya just gotta tell me where you are and this time I need something more descriptive than ‘Facing a building,'” they finally pulled into my garage.
You know, when I looked at that SUV, it naively registered in my mind as the jam-packed vehicle of two people who just spent the winter in Florida. But never once did it say, “Everything inside is coming into your condo!” But it did. The doors opened and out of all orifices poured every possible piece of crap that one collects while wintering in Palm Beach. New pillows, new bath towels, chip clips, magazines, catalogs, tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, more fucking tissues, more catalogs, coupons and an invitation for some event going on at the Greek Church on the Upper East Side of NYC right at that very moment in time. Except that we’re in D.C.
Me: Mom, why do you have this invitation?
Gloom: Well, we wanted your brother to go so he could meet a nice girl with a mustache, but he didn’t.
Me: The party is over now anyway. Why do you keep these things?
Gloom: It’s not me, it’s your father.
Doom: It’s not me, it’s your mother! I’m going back to the car to get more stuff.
Me: You guys need help. You’re like those homeless people who have the shopping carts and carry around all the crap they don’t need. It’s not the Great Depression anymore. You don’t have to stock up! How many fucking boxes of tissues did you bring?
Gloom: The last time we were here you didn’t have any.
Me: Yeah, and you bought me 27 boxes!
Gloom: Oh. How many boxes are left?
Gloom: Well what have you been blowing your nose on?
Me: It’s anyone’s guess.
Gloom: It’s not me, it’s your father. He sees a sale and he can’t help himself.
Me: Oh no. It’s you too. It’s definitely you too. You send me more God damned newspaper articles with that fucking red underline and I’ve asked you to stop.
Gloom: Well I underline it so you don’t have to read it all.
Me: THEN JUST READ IT TO ME OVER THE PHONE!!! If you guys keep doing this shit, you’re not going to be allowed back.
I took a Klonopin and went to bed. Actually, no I didn’t. They were in my bed. I went to couch.
Friday afternoon, my oldest brother called from NY to check on Gloom and Doom. After all these years he needs a better name than oldest brother. I need to think on that. I have a few names, but none he would appreciate. Anyway, the prior evening, he and I were on the phone, simultaneously anticipating the arrival of family members: me expecting our parents and he expecting our elusive brother. Oddly enough, both arrivals were Thursday night. Even more oddly, both departures were Saturday morning. We placed bets as to which of these dueling visits would fare better. I would like to state for the record, I won. I can see how you wouldn’t think that but our brother is a gem. And by “gem,” I mean, well, you’ll see.
So, the phone call Friday. Oldest was mad because he got stuck at work and Older was at his apartment waiting for him to come home and play. Just like the good old days. Oldest wanted to blow work off to go hang with Older who is so famous that none of us ever see him. Yeah. Well, it’s a tricky combination of famous and selfish. Long story. Anyway, after I spoke to Oldest on Friday afternoon, I handed my mom the phone. She hung up after several minutes of whispering and the following occurred:
Gloom: He wants to leave work early but his boss called a meeting and now he’s really mad.
Me: Why doesn’t he just say his brother is in town, he hasn’t seen him in four years and he has to go?
Gloom: Well, I told him to just say he’s going to the bathroom and he’ll be right back and then just leave.
Me: You really have no idea of what it’s like to have a job, do you?
Gloom and Doom hauled ass out of my place at the crack of crack on Saturday morning because all the Greeks need their taxes done so my dad had to get home and start sorting out their papers, explaining that supplies to make Baklava can’t be passed off as an itemized deduction, that you can’t deduct part of your house as an office just because you bring your toolbox inside at night and that plumber’s crack is not a disability.