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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

crazy in the genes

disclaimer to my parents: like batman and delicious sandwiches, you are both super heroes. don't hate me after reading this.

as i mentioned recently in this space, my parents came for a little visit this weekend. the sole express purpose of their visit was to meet their brand-spanking new speckled granddaughter. they flew into new york on wednesday night and returned to to sunny shores of california on sunday afternoon. four days, no more no less. so why, you might wonder, did they book a hotel room on THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CITY from my apartment? not just on the other side of the largest city in the galaxy, mind you, but in the wrong borough and in a neighborhood with only one useless subway line. why? you would wonder that, but then you wouldn't grasp the paradoxical nut of insanity that is my parents.

perhaps a few illustrations would help, uh, illustrate the lunacy.

here is a google map tracing the route from their hotel, the marriott east side (as in upper east side MANHATTAN), to our neighborhood in BROOKLYN.

sure, it looks straightforward, but it takes at least an hour for subway novices from california to navigate (two changeovers -- from the 6 to the 4/5 and again to the M/R, an incredibly reliable train whose name does not stand for Mentally Retarded -- and infinite opportunities for the mta to mess with them). or if they took a cab it would cost $27,365.

now. here is a google map tracing the route from the brooklyn marriott (note: correct borough) to our neighborhood. do you see the alarming directness of route, the easily navigable terrain? one could walk that distance if one were so inclined! did i mention it was also in the correct borough? this is of course only truly useful if you were planning on staying in brooklyn and not doing much aside from staring in awe at your new granddaughter. good thing that's not all they were planning on doing. oh wait, actually it was all they were planning on doing.

when mater nice guy called me with their trip itinerary a few weeks ago, i was delighted they were coming. when she told me where they were staying, i said something along the lines of "WHAAAA?"

mater nice guy: what what?
mr nice guy: that's on the upper east side. where there aren't any trains. i live in brooklyn. which is far away.
mater nice guy: but this is near your office.
mr nice guy (grinding broken pencil shards into my temples): A number one, no it's not. my office is on the west side. and B number two ... we are going to be spending all of our time at my house. you know, where the baby is?
mater nice guy: your father wanted to stay somewhere nicer than last time. and somewhere closer to the airport. talk to him.

this last statement is where the true lunacy lies (mom, seriously, please don't divorce me). the last time they came they stayed in the brooklyn marriott. you've probably heard of the marriott. a good, reliable hotel chain. but no, they wanted "somewhere nicer." so naturally the hotel they stayed at this time is the marriott east side, which the last time i checked, was also a marriott. so much for "somewhere nicer." also, the brooklyn marriott is closer to JFK than the marriott east side. it's just a fact. don't take my word for it though, take a look at these two google maps.

when pater nice guy got on the phone, i said to him: "why on earth did you book a room on the upper east side?" his excellent response, just like a true los angelino, begrudges new york even a single inch: "i don't know from east side or west side." ah yes, this is why, usually, you ASK THE PERSON WHO LIVES THERE about where to stay before you book a room. anyway, my parents came and stayed in the upper east side and had to take an hourlong subway home every night after midnight as their punishment. delicious poetic justice was mine. in all, it was a lovely weekend. everybody was nice to everybody else and it was fun and my mom's even-crazier-sister came up from DC with her crazier-still-husband and we all had a big loony family reunion dinner in brooklyn on saturday where we drank 537 bottles of wine. good times.

so in conclusion and to summarize, you can see what astonishing levels of crazy are coursing through my child's blood (and it is not relegated to my parents. mater-in-law nice guy called us from vermont yesterday to tell us that it was "one hundred and fucking four degrees" and then to gloat over the fact that her city's weather is more severe and therefore she wins. she does this in the winter too when it is ten fucking degrees below zero and colder than where we are, so therefore she wins. it is always incredibly satisfying when the weather is more severe here and she is deprived of an opportunity to gloat, meaning that i am going insane as well. she also calls my wife eight times a day to tell her how cute the child is. craziness i tell you. (mater-in-law, please don't challenge me to a knife fight again at thanksgiving)).

friends from los angeles happened to be in town yesterday, so the missus and i and baby nice guy all went out to lunch with them. we all found ourselves sitting around the table talking about how the crazy is strong with our parents. and then, slowly, we looked over at the baby who, with a little sparkle in our eye, made it perfectly clear that in 30 years she would be having exactly the same conversation with her friends.

UPDATE: it is with great sadness that i report certain members of my family are, inexplicably, currently not speaking to me. (i won't mention their names here, but they do rhyme with "dom" and "mad.") damn you and your loose lips, internet! sure, i am an ungrateful, heartless bastard, but did you have to tell them?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, my wise (and yet crazy) father used to say, 'friends are god's way of making up for your relatives.' let's hope both you and the baby have a lot of good friends

6/28/2005 2:03 PM  
Blogger Moo Moo said...

I think the crazy gene is in my family too, are we related?

6/28/2005 2:35 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

"I don't know from east side or west side"? Apparently, in Los Angeles, they don't have things called "maps" or they don't realize that west=ocean and east=land. That seems easy enough. Of course, in some form or another, this is every parents' visit to every kid, mine included.

6/28/2005 7:34 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

So then my question is: Why didn't they change their reservation to the correct Marriot?

Oh, sorry, you were talking about crazies, right?

Silly me!

6/28/2005 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They came over 2000 miles to see you and the baby and you expected them to stay in Brooklyn, and to stay in a hotel, not your house? Yeah for them, did they see a good show aso?

6/29/2005 12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the parental visit to The City. Just had mine a couple weeks ago. Isn't it something, how one can recognize one's fellow transplants with parents from other-where in tow? The happiness, the excitement, the cringing...

6/29/2005 8:03 AM  
Blogger B said...

All these google maps of NYC are making me long to visit again, but with a new baby of my own that won’t be happening anytime soon.

I know I would have had the exact same experience if I was living in Brooklyn and my parents came to visit. Although you are probably right and your parents are a little nuts, I have to agree that all parents are insane, and we all will become our parents some day . . . God help us and our kids.

By the way, I love that super hero and coffee photo. It just doesn't get any better than that.

6/29/2005 9:51 AM  
Blogger mr. nice guy said...

haha. thanks, b.

all these comments are making me feel the need to defend my parents just a little. they are a tad nutty, yes, (and, anonymous 12:09, they wanted to stay in a hotel, not my tiny, cat-infested apartment) but at least they are the good, funny crazy and not the bad, bodies-in-the-basement crazy.

6/29/2005 10:10 AM  
Blogger emjaybee said...

Hey you're close to my hood (Go Boro Park!) and my mom did the exact same thing; stayed at a posh hotel on the upper east side because she got a good deal. But then spent it all on taxis going back and forth. People from car cultures just don't understand what an ass-pain getting around in this place can be.

6/29/2005 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on..cats or no cats it is only proper to INSIST that Grammy and Grampy Nice Guy stay at YOUR place, no late night commute, more time with the and Mrs. Nice Guy make the journey to the Marriot since you know the way and after all, you can't cancel the room at the last minute......remember that need for a good nights sleep? You just missed your golden opportunity......that sleep deprivation fogs the mind...oh well...maybe next visit?

6/29/2005 9:26 PM  

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