For the last three years, I’ve felt lucky that whenever I come back home to San Francisco that I can spend most of the time away at a hotel in the city and only spend at most 2-3 consecutive nights at my parents’ house. “Home” is always a loaded place for me. Most of my colleagues who don’t know me that well always say that it must be so nice to spend extra time with family and friends while on work trips out here. Yes, while that is nice, I can only have it in small doses, and three nights is usually the max number of nights I can spend at my parents’ house before I just completely go crazy and need to get away and decompress.
It was great to be able to spend the entire day with three friends today, having an elegant birthday lunch, relaxing at a spa and having a facial, and then roaming around Japantown eating Korean food, mochi donuts, and just catching up about life and what we’ve been doing with our respective lives in the last few months since we last saw each other. I actually felt fully relaxed today with my friends, and I had a really enjoyable time with them discussing everything from sexism and racism in the workplace, movies, travel, my YouTube channel, and the medical field. It was a nice, welcome, and animated break from the weird tension and lack of talking about virtually anything other than my ovaries in the presence of my parents yesterday.
My parents have pretty much stopped talking to Chris at all, other than to say hi, ask if he wants more food, and to say goodbye. My mom has said she doesn’t want to talk to me about anything when Chris is around, so if he’s in the house, she doesn’t want to sit with me. No conversation happens with him at all when he’s around. They really have nothing to say to him, and well, Chris doesn’t have anything other than small talk to discuss with them, either. But the more I think about it, the more I get frustrated that they just aren’t doing anything meaningful with their lives. My mom is misguided, following a religion she only joined because they swooped in on her in her weakest moments. She doesn’t really believe in everything they believe in; why else would she expect things like birthday gifts “around” the time of her birthday or Christmas gifts “around” the time of Christmas? She hasn’t converted a single person to becoming a Jehovah’s Witness.
Then, there’s my dad, who spends most of his day on YouTube, watching videos to supposedly inform himself (and uses those videos as an excuse to not go to places “but you can see that on YouTube,” is his response when I tell him about things I’ve seen and done in real places in real life). He does the bare minimum on his self-employed work on his rentals, and has left many of them vacant now for five-plus years. I tried asking him about what needed to be done on a specific rental and how much time it would take, and he said, “if you have money, maybe a month.” How much time is it really taking him? It’s been over five years, he said. When I asked him why he didn’t just pay to get it done, he just shrugged. It was clearly a tense conversation, and my mom pat me on my leg and told me to stop asking questions. It’s like he’s just passing time, wasting his life away doing things that don’t mean anything, and well, allowing places that could potentially house others and earn him money do absolutely nothing for anyone other than waste space. Why do people not do things that actually give them pleasure or meaning? Why?
And finally, there’s what really angers me and turns my face red. In my bedroom, I found my dad’s AA battery digital camera. It was completely deconstructed with the screws taken out in at least a dozen pieces. Plus, the inside of where the battery would be placed looked like it was corroded. I asked my dad what the hell happened to his camera, and he said that the AA battery corroded because he left it in the camera, and that you’re actually supposed to remove it from the camera when not using it.
This jogged the memory from 2004 when Ed got me a digital camera for my high school graduation gift. He spent so much money on it at the time because he knew I really wanted one, and it was the most thoughtful gift he had ever given me (and the most expensive). My dad criticized him and his choice and said that lithium ion batteries were the worst, that he should have chosen a digital camera that had AA batteries. Well, the majority of desirable cameras then and now are all lithium ion batteries, and corroding is never, ever an issue. I even pointed this out to him on multiple trips we’ve taken where his AA battery would die on him and my digital camera was going strong. Him being him, he was defensive over and over. This time, when he told me this, it reminded me of this stupid and baseless critique of Ed, and I told him that no one uses AA batteries for cameras now, that all of them are lithium ion. He said he realized this now and left it at that.
He will never admit he was wrong, and he probably never even remembered how much he criticized Ed, about this as well as countless other things. And that will always make my blood boil.