My parents are coming to visit next week. They haven’t been to New York since 2011 when my cousin got married, and that was when Ed came. Generally speaking, if Ed were ever with my parents, it was never a good time. They were always more on edge with him, quicker to anger and create public scenes of yelling and dysfunction, and basically blame him for every single thing that ever went wrong (including going downtown to Brooklyn when I’d ask them to meet me up town). With him, it was always his fault — or at least, they always saw it that way. This time, they’re coming with my aunt, but my aunt isn’t staying with us. And this is the only Manhattan apartment my parents will ever see or experience or live in. And they already thought my last place sounded fancy (they never visited that place) and was overpriced. They pretty much think any rent is too much unless it’s zero (that means… I’d be living at home. With them. But you already got that, right?).

So as you can imagine, my mom is trying to find every possible way to get me to tell her how much my rent is. She does this by throwing out random (usually very high) numbers to see how I react, if at all. She somehow started saying the apartment was around $6-7K, and I told her she was being ridiculous. “Oh, so it’s more?” I didn’t realize that’s what telling her being ridiculous would mean, but… okay?

No, it doesn’t cost that much.

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