Parents in Town, Day FIVE – The New Yorker
In four days, we saw every show ever produced on or off Broadway except “Hamilton”; sadly, none of us was willing step up and perform the necessary sex work. We devoured upward of three dinners a night, emerging each morning to press our bloated faces against the windows of still-closed restaurants and shout, “What about the breakfast crowd?” Between meals, we waddled endlessly around Manhattan, traversing many brutal midtown miles that will remain countless, as my parents’ wrists could no longer fit into their Fitbits.
The forced march took its toll. Theatre-related exhaustion eventually gave way to full-blown narcolepsy. I may be the first person to have slept through “Sleep No More,” but at least I avoided the double whammy of gout and bunions that afflicted the elders of my clan, forcing them to wear ergonomic hiking sandals that made them more unwelcome than ever in this unforgiving city.
Not that any combination of foot maladies could stop these unfashionable juggernauts. Though The People of New York v. Their Families clearly states that parental visits “may not exceed four days, although three is honestly ideal,” it was somehow now Day FIVE of parents-in-town. We had crossed a dangerous threshold, into a netherworld where there wasn’t really anything left to do. A desperation took hold of us all—my stepfather, wielding a rolled-up copy of Time Out like a truncheon, began to suggest truly depraved activities. A visit to the Botanical Garden loomed.
This flagrant violation of visitation hours was multiplied by an unholy infiltration of space. Not wanting to impose by sleeping in my actual bed with me, my parents got an Airbnb not only on my block but also connected to my apartment by an air shaft. This came in handy, as they used the shaft to whisper complaints to me about the street noise and my failure to reproduce. I cursed the sharing economy, dreaming nightly about the dingy Fifty-second Street hotel room where my loved ones belonged.
For some reason, I introduced my girlfriend to my parents, who demanded that she join our Caligulan orgy at yet another restaurant (a pretty good Greek place; forgot the name). When Sarah arrived, I watched in horror as my mother immediately wrapped her in a strangle-hug, giving Sarah’s neck a hearty sniff to sample her genetic material. Sarah was cool about it, though. We all even had a good laugh when I caught my mom trying to replace Sarah’s birth control with an unapproved fertility drug from Thailand. Ah, Pylos, the place is called—East Village. Try the moussaka.
In the end, we all survived, and I even invited my parents to come back in March. I’m looking forward to it! He won’t tell me how, but my stepdad somehow got hold of those “Hamilton” tickets.