Going back home for the first time in nearly 16 months

Chris and I have been in the midst of deciding what dates and for how long we will go back to San Francisco. We knew that after we both got fully vaccinated that we’d plan a trip back home at some point during the summer. Yet although I do want to go home, especially given how long it’s been since I was last there, my last visit wasn’t particularly happy or calm, and I have a feeling this trip will also be full of angst and stupid annoyances that really do not have to happen.

It shouldn’t be drama-filled to go home, but in my case, it always is. My mother is always extremely paranoid about who knows I am coming and if I have to see them… because inevitably if I see extended relatives, that means SHE and my dad need to see them, and she never enjoys that. She loves to ask about them and gossip about them, but once she has to see them, she dreads it and then has to gossip about all of them after. She also thinks that if we all go out, it inevitably means that everyone is expecting and “using” and “taking advantage of them” to pay whatever dinner bill there is. But it’s not like she ever even gives anyone else a chance to pay; she just secretly pays the bill in the beginning by pretending to go to the bathroom, or instructs my dad to do it since my dad always needs motherly instruction. Then afterwards, she blames me and accuses me of forcing her into the situation and makes herself out to be the victim once again. It’s an exhausting thought and exhausting to even type out, but I unfortunately have to think about this EVERY SINGLE TIME I go home. She’s repeatedly told me over and over again not to tell any relatives I’m coming home. “They don’t care about you,” she always says. One of my mother’s very favorite things to say, other than, “No,” “You know….” (always in an angry tone), and that “I worry…,” is that no one cares about me or her other than our own immediate family; no one else. She repeatedly told me around the time when Ed passed away that if I died, none of my “friends” would care. They’d cry once or twice, and then they’d forget about me as though I never existed. While that may be the case for distant friends, I really am not cynical enough to believe that’s the case with very close friends.

That’s just one of the five million reasons going home gives me angst. This is also why I cannot stay at my parents’ place the entire time I am home if it’s for more than just a few days. Even three to four days now feels like too much, especially if it’s consecutive days. Once upon a time, pre-pandemic, work always gave me a buffer so that I could stay in a work-expensed hotel for part of the time and at home part of the time, but unfortunately now, that’s not really a possibility. Chris asked me why I never stayed with any of my close friends. Well, one of them had a basement home that is filthy that I’d never feel healthy staying in, though she has offered. And to my knowledge and memory, the other one’s never really offered. So that really only leaves me with relying on a hotel.

I did a quick search for hotels in San Francisco, wondering how high the prices would be, and I couldn’t believe it: I could actually book the Marriott Marquis or the Westin St. Francis Hotel for only $169/night! You may not be aware of exactly how insane San Francisco hotel costs can be, but both those hotels are usually, at minimum, $400++/night, and that’s on a GOOD day for booking. It would actually not be shocking to see rates for either of those hotels in the $700-800++ range; during the most insane conference seasons, they can easily be over a thousand dollars a night.

In some way, that seems sad because it means San Francisco is still picking up, but on the other hand, why would I not take advantage of these rates…?!

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