Labored [ 2005-09-08, 12:29 a.m. ]

I walked into my parents' house at 2:00 a.m. on Friday morning (Thursday night?), which was really 5:00 a.m. for us, and the first thing I saw was a grey Neighborhoodies hanging on the coat rack, looking suspiciously like the one in my bottom drawer at home, and sporting the words "COBBLE HILL" on it in orange, thereby erasing any and all doubt that anyone should have as to whether or not I am my mother's daughter. My parents were asleep and the house was dark but I looked at the sweatshirt and the magazines on the living room floor and the coffee maker set to brew in the morning and I felt relief. When you are tired and want to brush your teeth and your heart hurts from the continuous destruction on the television it is nice to walk into a house and realize that you are home.

I had a nice weekend visiting with my family in California but I would be lying if I said it hasn't been a rough week or so, and the frustration, disgust, sorrow, anger and fear generated by current events are only part of what is weighing me down. It's the end of one season and the start of another and all of a sudden I am aware of the extra pounds I've put on, probably due to too much drinking over the summer, the layer of dirt in the apartment, probably due to the fact that I never freaking dust or mop, and the layer of crabbiness on my spouse, probably due to his impending 30th birthday and return to school. We went to California and sure enough, what always happens after I visit California happened: The weather was beautiful, I wished we lived there, I got on the plane and cried and started fantasizing about moving home. Except, shouldn't where I live be my home, considering I am 30 and married and haven't lived with or near my parents in almost a dozen years?

Oh, and I have spent a gazillion dollars on clothes and shoes and face wash and I have nothing to wear and my skin is not perfect yet and every time I open my closet the clothes mock me and make me feel like shit because they hang there, some of them still with tags, rolling their eyes and saying YOU SELFISH BITCH YOU THINK YOU HAVE NO CLOTHES THERE ARE PEOPLE IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY WHO ARE WEARING MILK CARTONS FOR SHOES SO JUST WEAR THE GAP BUTTON DOWN SHIRT AGAIN AND CRAM IT.

I feel really badly about not posting this earlier, but my friend Hannah's uncle is still missing in Louisiana and if anyone has any information about David Meehan, last seen in New Orleans, please email me ASAP. He lived at 3901 Tulane.
I would have posted earlier about Hannah's uncle, but my computer is broken and then I was begging to borrow Kent's laptop and our broadband died and we were living in 1998 and it sucked, and then we went to California and went wine tasting and sat in the sun and I was happier and then we came home and the cable modem was still broken and so was the computer and I was pissed again, but somehow our broadband was restored and my husband lent me his laptop and I can finally post about poor Hannah's uncle because while I may whine and moan a lot, THIS IS SERIOUS.

David Meehan. Please write with any information and visit Hannah�s site for more details.

[ETA that as of Thursday, 9/8, I am so, so happy to report that David Meehan has been located and is in contact with his grateful family.]

While you are there please just drop her a note or email and tell her that she is fantastic because that girl has had a mountain of flaming dog shit unloaded on her doorstep this past month and she is in fact, totally fantastic. Hannah is the brains behind the Shopping Hall of Fame idea, birthed late at night over the phone, after telling her of my four-pair-of-shoes-for-$200-in-less-than-24-hours weekend. Plus, she likes 90210, Marcella Hazan, James Peterson, dogs and talking about sororities. Fantastic, no?

I would give almost anything to be back on my parents' deck right now, with my sunglasses on and a fat slab of leftover birthday cake at my side. The birthday cake was for Kent, whose actual birthday is still over a week away. But my parents love any excuse to entertain and threw a party on Saturday night and my most favorite thing that happened was hearing their friend Tom tell me stories about being a seat filler at the Oscars and Emmys and my second-most favorite thing that happened was me eating half my damn bodyweight in cheesecake and my third-most favorite thing was when my brothers and I all got out old albums and got drunk while looking at family pictures. I am pissed I did not either steal photos or take pictures of us that night, because (I think) we were in rare form. The only memento of the night is the bottle of champagne that Hank & Tom brought for Kent, adorned with a card made by scanning in one of Kent's baby pictures that my mother happened to have on hand, left from our wedding. If someone has filled Brad Pitt's seat, you can assume he knows how to adorn a gift well.

We went wine tasting a few times and into San Francisco and for all of it the weather was divine and the scenery spectacular but I still could not stop snapping at Kent for saying stupid things or stop thinking about animals in need of rescue or how in 2001 the entire country flooded New York with love and support and it makes me feel strangely guilty that four years ago people were concerned for my well being when in fact I was FINE, was in proximity to the towers but not ever in any danger and so me and my loved ones were fine and still the love and support came in and kept coming and everyone wanted to be a New Yorker and I wish so badly to take all the support of that awful time and fling it to the south, where it is needed, because I never needed it and am fine and was fine and I can't imagine ever being not fine but there are a lot of people who are so past fine that we need a new vocabulary to really talk about what is going on, but the bit that makes me feel sick inside is the suspicion that support, like so many other resources, goes where it's convenient, not necessarily where it is needed, and an NYPD t-shirt is cool but an entire population displaced is not and there is no way to make reparations for that.

(...because there is nothing like hearing a privileged brat with house intact whine...)

We went wine tasting twice over the weekend, once with Jay and my brother N, and once with Jay and my brother M and his fianc�e. Both times I realized that while I have been assuming I am the wine snob in my family, my younger brothers have clearly out-snobbed me in the wine department. N, who is 23, can turn his nose up at Chardonnay like a champ and M was buying dry Bordeaux-style blends to "put down" for a few years while I was swilling as much as I could, wherever we went. Including 3 glasses of sparkling wine.

When I was a kid my mother used to say, Someday your brothers will be your best friends, and I never believed her. I assumed they would always be little pissers and that I would always be taller than them. It turns out that she was onto something, and that they have grown up into ACTUAL ADULT HUMANS, with personalities and everything. Growing up, they were just "the boys," but now they are people, with opinions and tastes and chest hair. It freaked me out a little.

I went running with M. on Sunday morning and he kicked my ass, not surprising considering he is two years younger and a triathlete. But when exactly did he grow up? Perhaps I should ask his fianc�e...

It is still a reflex when I see my brothers with a drink in hand to wave them away and say things like, Mom and Dad are totally gonna catch you with that beer. Except, now they look at me like I'm crazy and sip syrah and comment on how they prefer spicier Rhone blends to oaky Australian Shiraz.

I miss my family. My almost-sister-in-law laughed when I told her that my job before any of my parents' parties was to make sure the guest towels were up in the bathroom. That's my job when you're not here, she said. That and arranging the napkins and silverware. Oh, I told her, That's my other job. I was then slammed with the desire to be at my parents' house for all their parties, arranging napkins with V. and watching my youngest brother sip vintage port. I would have told that to Kent but he was too busy cramming as many prosciuotto-wrapped figs (stuffed with goat cheese, of course) as possible into his mouth. My parents do parties well.

I'm just not sure I do my parents well. I have a tendency to get, er...tense. And to pace. And to snap at my husband and make him afraid of speaking. And to out his political persuasion at dinner, in the middle of heated arguments about things with which His Type do not normally agree. I also eat too much and like to rifle through my mother's makeup stash, and try to find a way to use each and every skincare product in the cabinet, even if I am only there for three days and therefore only washing my face six-to-eight times. I also like to stare at the pile of wedding presents that never quite made it back to Brooklyn, not because we don't like them but because it is a pain in the ass to get gifts from California to our doorman-less apartment and frankly, it's been two and a half years and I forget what all we got, but clearly we got some stuff because there is a pile in the den with a box of hideous toasting flutes on top.

The weekend was not all pacing and eating and arguing, though. We managed to have a pretty decent time, as you can see:

[Okay, I just got home from Coldplay concert tonight and have to add a few observations. First, it is damn hard for a MAN to look cool at a Coldplay concert. No one pulled it off that I saw, not even the guys IN Coldplay, except for maybe the drummer. Not Chris Martin, though. I like Coldplay a lot but he is one spastic little turd. I can�t imagine how Gwyneth puts up with all his jumping and spinning. I think the name �Apple� had to have been his idea. But it leads me to my second observation (speculation, really), which is that I kind of think all bands hate their lead singers and the only way to avoid this is to be Rilo Kiley (who opened for Coldplay and sang �Does He Love You� which made me very happy) and have a female lead singer with all guys in the band because that is kick-ass. Oh, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have that structure also, and HELLO THEY ARE ALSO KICK-ASS. Otherwise, all the dudes hate the lead singer for being That Guy. Final observation is that it is impossible to get a good meal at a decent price within 3 square blocks of any sporting arena. I wanted to take Brit out for dinner to thank her for the tickets to Coldplay, and instead of taking her to some cool little caf� I took her to giant steakhouse that was out of all the cocktails I ordered and served us a used breadbasket, I think.]

When I got home tonight, Kent had fixed the computer and done a load of laundry. If I squint my eyes I can barely even see the pile of boxes and cardboard and Styrofoam in the corner of the living room, so let�s just pretend it�s not there and call it a night. A good night, even.

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