Free-Floating Hostility

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Our Contrition Knows No Bounds

We've been away for a week, which is bad enough. But we've also been very rude. I'll explain.

The past seven days have been pretty much a whirlwind, with us jetting to the East Coast for a 48-hour layover, then riding back to meet up with Aunt Ellen in California then spending nearly all of yesterday in South Bay, all while preparing for a big weekend of women's basketball (if such a thing can reasonably exist outside of Connecticut or the Southeastern Conference). First off, please accept our apologies. Here's the last week, in a rundown.

New York
I hate the term "family obligations" because it sounds as though you wouldn't want to be participating in the family stuff if you had a choice. That is certainly not the case. We landed Friday on the redeye (tickets furnished by Trixie) and immediately went to sleep. We woke up for our few free hours and used that time to see Jeff'y, Rich, and (briefly) Adele and Dulcinea.

Saturday was Ricardo's birthday. We celebrated by attending the Tristram Shandy movie, which everyone loved. Later we attended a cocktail party thrown in honor of the release of Ricardo's book. Following the party, we ate dinner with Anna's parents, her emergency backup parents and a visiting professor at Barnard who is borderline batshit insane and thinks very little of fatherhood. We flew during the Super Bowl (Seattle was burgled though not really robbed) and arrived back late California time. It was a great trip and too short. We want to see everyone as soon as possible. Again, I'm really sorry.

The South Bay
Ellen landed Tuesday, an hour early. The leisurely pace at which I wrote my story meant she had to wait at the airport. The reason for the trip was that a friend of hers was appearing in a play in Mountain View, better known to you as Google Town. The play was the third thing that Ellen wanted to pack into her day. The first stop Wednesday was to fetch Anna in Berkeley. The second was Stanford's Hospital, where we visited a cousin who is distant to me but grew up with Ellen. The driving portion of the trip was a nightmare, as our directions had us overshoot the hospital by about 20 miles and then come back though the drudgery of California traffic. As time grew short Ellen chafed at my driving, insinuating that I am too timid. But I think she drives like an cabbie, so there.

The cousin lives in Central Valley of California. He had been estranged from the family for about a decade, but re-emerged in December for Peggy's 80th birthday. Ellen told us stories about how they were kindred spirits (though not necessarily partners in crime) growing up. He has leukemia and is deeply immune-suppressed. Things may be looking good. One of his brothers is a perfect bone marrow match, and if the cousin can fight his way into remission, they'll do a transplant. It's strange for me to meet an estranged cousin, given that I grew up with the illusion that our family had none of the strife that others (read Anna's) had. The cousin found Jesus in the Air Force, which in our fiercely secular family probably helped further some rifts. His faith is clearly a source of strength, but I think it's difficult for anyone to really engage him when he talks about it. I did hear a great story about how Queenie's family's summer house suffered a fire and when the firemen arrived Peggy joined them on the ladder with her garden hose.

After leaving and getting lost again, we were desperately late for dinner. We finally arrived in Mountain View, but missed Ellen's friends. Instead we hit up a Chinese restaurant 40 minutes before showtime, putting on the most appalling display on White Person eating they had probably ever seen. Since Ellen considered the play a "women's story," she sat with Anna and banished me to the far reaches of Orchestra Left. I don't actually believe that stories have genders, and I thought the play was quite good, especially the second act. Furthering the theme of getting lost, we tried to meet up with Ellen's friends again at a Starbucks, and ended up getting shitty directions from people on the street, patrolling Castro Street for about 30 minutes until we actually hooked up with them. Then it was back in the car. We arrived home slightly before 1 a.m. this morning, and are back to our usual routine. Ellen leaves late tonight.

We plan to now resume regular blogging.

Again, we are deeply contrite about not being able to see many people this trip East. Next time.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Queenie at February 14, 2006 5:17 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • The story of Peggy on the ladder with the garden hose putting out the fire is very true. However, in my memory neither the ladder nor the garden hose were long enough to get close so Peggy kept trying waving the hose back and forth hoping the water would go higher. Luckily most of the house survived and when it was rebuilt, we got a longer hose and a bigger ladder.

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