This past Sunday, following four months of snowbirding in Florida, my parents returned to Philadelphia. Translation: I should be a raging alcoholic by next Tuesday. No, really.
“PJ, the computer won’t work,” my dad yelled from his upstairs office, my mother and I in their kitchen cleaning up dishes from take-out Chinese.
“Well, I’m not coming up there until you get up from that damn desk,” I screamed up the rear stairwell,already cranky from hoisting five suitcases from the trunk to the second floor and from the stress of negotiating my crippled father up 18 steps thanks to the electric stair-chair curiously not working.
I finished rinsing a plate, turned off the faucet and moseyed upstairs.
“I didn’t touch anything,” he said from behind me.
“Right. You never touch anything. And must you be three inches away from me? I can feel your shrimp-fried-rice breath on my neck.”
I slid off the chair and crawled under the desk. I felt around the back of the tower and jiggled the wires. Then I plopped into the seat, turned the monitor around and saw the plug was loose.
“You have got to be fucking kidding me!” I said as I tightened the plug, the monitor quickly coming to life.
“Yeah, but I didn’t do it!” my father exclaimed.
“Did you go to the gym last night?” my mother asked when she dropped my dad off at the office.
“Yeah. Two hours. My abs are killing me.”
“Two hours is a long time. Hey, PJ do you have any interest in joining Weight Watchers?”
“Um, no. Have I said anything about wanting to lose weight?” I asked, saliva pooling beneath my tongue.
“So then you’re just telling me I am fat?”
“Well, then, enjoy Weight Watchers,” I said before retreating to my desk.
“I’m calling to see if I need to post your bail,” Leslie said when I answered the phone.
“You know how you never realize how bad a situation is until you get away from it?” I asked as I rifled through old issues of Bon Appetit.
“Like your broken sofa or television that doesn't show the entire picture?”
“No, like your parents. Today dad, a man who spends 80% of his day parked in front of a computer, asked me how to save a file on his desktop. And then mom proposed we celebrate Mother’s Day on Saturday night since a brunch invitation would potentially alter the dinner reservation I had made. You know, because in addition to me being fat, I’m apparently anti-social,” I said, my pulse racing.
I took a deep breath. Then I took another. “This is going to be a very long summer,” I said as I released the cork on a bottle of wine. “Very, very, very long,” I added between sips of Chardonnay.