Quick, breathe in deep

1 12 2010

My parents are flying in tomorrow for a long weekend visit.

My mind is a blank.

I like my parents, I do. And I respect them. I also recognize that on many levels we have little more in common than our genes.

Now, we do have enough in common—chattiness, a penchant for peanuts and beer, a basic degree of courtesy—that we can get along. From a distance of a thousand miles. Or for weekend visits in which I fly to them and then spend half of my time with other people.

But they’re coming here. Because I invited them.

Did I really think they’d come? After their last visit, they said, That’s our last visit. Of course, they drove, and stayed at a hotel in Queens that was near exactly nothing, and I’d only been in NY a short while and didn’t really know my way around, so it made sense that the trip was more hassle than it was worth. But once I moved into own new place—i.e., a place they could stay—it seemed to me that I ought at least ask them to stay.

See, that basic courtesy shit.

And they reciprocated. I don’t know that they really want to hang out in New York City. They see museums as a chore, aren’t into adventures in food, are not aficionados of the avant garde, and don’t really cotton to the idea of ‘just hanging out’ or ‘soaking it in’. No, they’re here to see me.

Again, that basic courtesy shit.

I don’t know what to do with them, and they most definitely are ‘doers’ (see: don’t just hang out). Thursday is set—they’re taking me to the Rockettes and then seeing another show while I teach—but Friday Saturday Sunday? I have no idea.

I sent them a long list of possibilities, figuring it would be better if they’d pick what they’d like to do, and then I’d go with them. Tenement Museum (they do like historical stuff), boat tours, tunnel tours—they haven’t said a word. I am afraid, very afraid, that they’ll want me to figure it all out.

If my folks were up for anything, this wouldn’t be problem. They are not up for anything.

So I’m thinking that we could hit the Craft Fair at St John the Divine’s on Friday, then they could, I don’t know, do something while I teach that night. Saturday, if it’s nice, we can walk through Prospect Park and maybe hit the Slope. Maybe we can dial up a movie to watch Saturday night.

Sunday? Christ. There’s a Packer bar in the West Village—maybe they’ll go for that. I don’t know what time their flight leaves on Monday; I hope it’s not too late.

That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? I’m girding myself for a visit from two people who love me, a visit I should be anticipating with joy rather than dread.

And so I am trying not to dread. Breathe in, breathe out. Empty my mind, empty my self. No fear, no dread, just being.

Breathe in, breathe out. Let it be, let it all be.

17 rules for hosting visitors to New York City in August

23 08 2009

When issuing general invitations for visits to New York City, remember:

1. Enforce the no-visiting-in-August rule.

2. If friends nonetheless visit in August, make sure they are of good cheer, and willing to adjust.

3. Apologize to those August-visiting friends for the lack of air conditioning in humidity-infested apartment.

4. Do not freak out when August-visiting friends buy air conditioner for you while you’re flat on your back with a migraine.

5. After freaking out when August-visiting friends buy air conditioner for you while you’re flat on your back with a migraine, thank them. Continue to thank them.

6. Even though apartment is now comfortable, leave apartment to see the rest of the city.

7. Don’t try to see everything there is to see, but do take them to the places they request.

8. When these friends shop, be glad that they are efficient shoppers, i.e., once they find what they like, they buy it, and move on.

9. Take friends to visit one of your favorite places in the city, one you need to visit more often yourself.

10. Be grateful when friends are not simply polite about your favorite place, but genuinely impressed and glad you showed them.

11. Be glad friends are only minor-ly freaked out and/or really good at suppressing freak-out at sight of rats and roaches.

12. Suppress urge to compare one’s own fucked-up life with their utterly-together lives.

13. Introduce visiting friends to NYC friends. Trust they’ll get along.

14. Try new bars.

15. Try new drinks.

16. Drink the whiskey in front of you.

17. Remember the best part about the friends’ visit is the friends’ visit.