if i lose weight for no other reason than to fit into the godamned airline seats, that will be just fine with me. the flight to chicago was quite pleasant. fortune blessed me with an empty middle seat and plenty of slack on the seatbelt, but the flight home was not so lucky. not only was the plane completely full, but for some reason i had to seriously suck it in to get the belt buckled. humiliating. and uncomfortable... and to add insult to injury, my lovely full hips/thighs kept pushing the arm rest up... thank god the middle seat occupant was a scrawny hipster who was passed out for the whole flight:)
it was nice to see friends. the movie went well. but i'm glad to be home. i think the next time i go back, i'm going to book myself into a hotel. my folks were kind enough to put me and my guy up for a few nights, but the accommodations were woefully gross and uncomfortable. i probably sound like a spoiled wretch for critiquing the generosity of my hosts, but seriously. i'd bet my eye teeth that crack dens are arguably cleaner than my parent's homes. the problem is that my folks are getting old. in addition to failing energy levels and eyesight, they are in the midst of selling one home and moving it's contents to their vacation/pseudo permanent home. their cleaning lady quit a couple of months ago b/c no one was around and the house was so empty. and my dad is still very much recovering from his heart surgery.
i get it. they have a lot going on. still...
the first nite i got in, my mom picked me up. "where's dad?" i asked. "we're fighting" she said. great. my folks exist in some state of argument 50% of their time... so this was no curve ball. i know how it goes down in their house(s) when they are fighting. internally, i braced myself for all of the shit that i worked so hard to unlearn in therapy, then immediately changed the subject. when we got back to the lake house, i was hungry and tired. i went to the spare bedroom and found some sheets on the bed... i suspected that they weren't clean and my suspicions were confirmed when i pulled the covers back to reveal - brace yourselves - scabs and a few dried blood spots. yeah. that's right. i said scabs. so. fucking. gross. it took everything i had not to keel over in a fit of trauma-induced seizures. clearly, this is where my dad has been sleeping during his recovery. i changed the sheets but still couldn't bring myself to sleep in the bed. i wandered into the office and set up camp on the couch. "why aren't you sleeping in the bed?" my mom asked. "scabs" i said. "god. that's fucking disgusting" she said. "then you better check the couch for scabs, too - he's been sleeping in here, as well."
i did have a nice time with my mom that first night. we reconnected while chatting and laughing. despite the good time, i was acutely aware of the role that food played in our discourse. when she first picked me up she said, "you're losing weight!! you look great." bullshit. and i'm not being an argumentative ass, but seriously. i have not lost substantial weight since the last time she saw me... she just knows i've been following weight watchers and she's somewhat of a sycophant. on the ride from the airport she asked if i was still doing weight watchers and i admitted that i was. when we got to the lake house, she asked if i was hungry and i said that i would forage for something. then she made these super unhealthy little pizza pockets (sabotage!) for us. then pulled out a bag of lindt's dark chocolate truffles and laura scudder's natural peanut butter. "have you mixed these two before?" she said, slathering the gooey peanut butter onto the truffle. "no" i replied, "i have enough bad habits already."
here's the unsettling part for me: why on earth would my mom serve up a gatrillion calorie meal (and by meal i mean 14lbs of enriched flour and 27lbs of refined sugar) late at nite AFTER i'd already told her that i was trying to stick to weight watchers?? perhaps i'm being sensitive, but it all felt a little too much like her trying to sabotage me. for the record, i did not have any of those p.b. and chocolate concoctions. i did, however, indulge in the crappy microwave pizza pieces. perhaps her food choices didn't have anything to do with me. all i know is that the food element didn't feel nourishing and healthy... it felt cloistering and heavy and guilt-laden.
the next day, we did a little shopping on our way back to their other house. it was nice to see my dad up and about. he looks great for an old guy who, just four short weeks ago, had his chest cracked open. we had a good conversation despite my mom slamming shit around us, making loud, angry noises. she refused to acknowledge my father and made it clear that she wasn't happy with us chatting. fortunately, i had dinner plans with my girls and had to pick up my guy from the airport later that evening so i got out of the house pretty quickly.
when my guy and i got back from the airport, we slogged our luggage upstairs to one of the empty, spare bedrooms and set up futons and sheets on the carpet. talk about skeeze city! there were remnants of dead bugs all over the place. the futons looked like they were pulled out of a dumpster and the "clean" sheets that we laid down had a few scabs stuck to them... fucking disgusting.
on sunday evening, i dropped my guy off with his bandmate and left him to a week long recording session. i drove back to my folks place and started packing. that's when i noticed an ant on my makeshift futon bed. further inspection revealed a couple of small, black roly poly looking things wriggling around. i picked up my shit and moved down to the living room and made a little bungalow on the floor. "what are you doing?" my mom asked. "bugs" i said. she grimaced. "yuck. i'm so sorry about the sleeping arrangements. do you want me to kick dad out of your sister's bed so you can sleep there?" ??? what kind of a person would kick a recovering heart patient out of their bed and displace them to the couch?? WTF!? "uh, no. this'll be fine. i have to get up at 5am anyway to get ready for my flight." "are you going to be ok to get up that early?" my mom asked. "yeah, i'll be fine. i'm going to hit the hay soon," i replied, all the while thinking that not even death could keep me from getting on that plane in the morning.
as soon as i left to get ready for bed, i heard my folks start arguing in the living room. SERIOUSLY??? did we not just talk about how we had to get up super early to get to the airport? mom, did you not just express concern about having to get up in 6 short hours? what the fuck are you doing picking a fight at 11:30 at night OVER MY BED!? i didn't know what to do. i was so uncomfortable. there's no where in the house that i could go to escape their fighting. i headed down to the basement and sat on the stairs and called my guy for a sanity check. fortunately, the fight broke up around midnight and i meekly padded in to the living room, carefully checking for land mines or any other remnants from the war, before hunkering down in my bungalow.
anyway, i can't tell you what relief it is to be home... and by myself (my guy opted to stay in chi-town for a week to record another album). i've been kind of floating around in this weird haze. my thoughts are disjointed. i get lost in the dichotomy of the truly great time with my friends and the bizarro world of my folks.
having made three or four trips back to chicago in the recent past has given me new perspective on my current situation. this last visit confirmed some sneaking suspicions in my mind. i realize that i've been glorifying and idealizing "chicago" and my memory of it. it's been tough adapting to a new life, but i gotta say, right now, my chicago life - the streets, the shops, the weather that just won't quit, the city vibe - it all feels very much part of my past. for as much as i resisted settling into los angeles, calling it home, i gotta say it never felt so comfortable as when i got off that plane at LAX and drove back through hellacious traffic on the 405. when did all this change happen?