Anyway eventually we got on the road and headed upstate. On the way I saw a big sale at one of those big chain stores and we stopped and I got some really cheap summer clothes while she shopped for wine and some other crap. Normally I don't like clothing that's this cheap, but my clothes from last summer are all too big and I don't want to waste money on a brand-name wardrobe that I'm just going to shrink out of before the summer's over anyway. So I figure these dirt cheap (And we're talking shirts marked down to $6.00 BEFORE the 15% off sale) clothes should last me through the hottest months of summer and they aren't TOO hideous so *Shrug*.
By the time we actually made it upstate things had settled down a bit, and I was able to spend some quiet time alone in my room.
The cat IS alive and she did come out so that was good. Of course my cousin scared her back in but by feigning sleepiness I lured her out once more and then blocked her route into my closet.
It was interesting being back there, I have only gone about twice in the last few years so it was sort of stepping back 8 or more years into the past. The room is still very much as I had it when I was a young child, the bookshelves full of Hardy Boys mysteries, the desk draws stuffed with Archie Digests and Mad Magazine (not to mention tons of comic books). I spent a few minutes going through that stuff and then I lay down on the bed and wept for about half an hour as vivid images of my father ran through my head and I thought about how my childhood, and really my life, had been cut short by the events of april 6 1994. This went on for about 30 minutes until I finally pulled myself together and just threw myself into the video games I had brought with me just in case something like that happened.
The guests arrived for dinner and I had to go down to say hello. Naturally I was not in much of a mood to mingle. At first it was okay because it was only Fran and Shirley, two reasonably old (meaning between 65-75) professor people I've known forever and feel pretty comfortable with, but then William's family arrived and I felt overwhelmed. Will looked good. Different, like the 20 year old college guy he is complete with sideburns and cheezy plastic necklace, but good. Also included with his family was some 50+ year old guy who told me that we'd met before and then said that it had been a Piano recital when I had been like 7. Yeah, just what I needed to think about when I'm already mourning my youth cut short.
Anyway I stood around awkwardly for awhile while people broke off into groups and just waited for it to be over. I didn't say anything at all before we sat down to dinner and didn't talk for about an hour during dinner, at one point going out after a deer I thought I saw in the garden. I really didn't feel like speaking to any of the people there and I wanted them to all go away. That's the thing I hate about having people over at my house, when you want to be alone there's just nowhere to run to. Also why I don't like staying with other people, if you're there for just the day you can go home whenever you want...but if you're supposed to stay the night it's like you're trapped. And there's always a good amount of time every day where I just want to be by myself.
Anyway after about an hour the conversation at the table, which up until then had been second guessing of Bush's response to terrorism and generic liberal theorizing about how bad the United States has become under old Georgie Porgie, turned to the film Being John Malkovitch and the collection of academics and students there proceeded to blather on about it for about five minutes while ENTIRELY missing the point, and the plot, of the film. Finally I could take no more and I burst forth in defense of one of my favorite movies of the last few years, explaining that there was a lot of fascinating subtext in the movie and that whatever plot they THOUGHT didn't make sense was just because they either didn't remember key elements (Like the love affair between Cameron Diaz and the office chick) or because it was symbolic and not all that important (Why the people got dropped on the New Jersey turnpike). Of course everyone was impressed by my analytical abilities, a couple asked if I had taken a class and William's sister, who I remember really disliking when I was younger, said "No, Ben's mind just works that way." It's true ("toot toot" goes my own horn) but it was odd to hear it from someone who I always considered an enemy. The rest of the dinner was spent in conversation about more serious topics with me laying out some of my thoughts (E.G. Jews no longer count as a minority according to the rules of P.C. because they've been so successful) and a lot of agreement from the rest of them. Eventually they all left to go to a bar and I declined the invitation to go with them because A) I hate bars and B) Despite their agreeing with me I still find the majority of them boring. I should also mention that during the dinner Will and his sister were DISTURBINGLY close, he kept leaning his head on her shoulder and she reached into his pocket for money etc. I guess that's not SO unusual, it's just that I'm not used to it and from what I recall they were at eachother's throats in childhood. People change though.
After they left I went upstairs and went to sleep, at around 9:00 which was fairly early for me. It was the first time I'd slept in a real bed for a long time and it was actually rather refreshing, although I don't like the fact that my cousin has moved her shit into my room. It's STILL my house even though she is squatting there.
Sunday I spent the morning putzing around. Then I decided to actually do something country specific while up there so I helped my mom garden. It was actually pretty fun yanking weeds out of the ground and digging in the dirt after the roots, and gardening has been proven to be decent exercise. After I pulled out the weeds I grabbed a hoe and executed a Stalinist style purge on the root system. A few innocent plants were taken down by my holy blade, but they were weed sympathisers and in every war there is collateral damage. I took out a lot of emotion with the hoe, hacking at the ground with all my strength and digging the blade in deep enough to not only turn the earth but pierce the thick web of weedroots and get underneath them so I could pry them up in clumps. Roostertails of dirt got all over my clothes but I didn't care. After I finished prying up all the roots in the area I showered and changed and we went down to Chapequa to visit with Sam and his family. While Will was a gradeschool friend Sam predates any sort of school. Sam's family was our next door neighbors when I was born and he's 6 months younger than me so we were, naturally, good friends when we were very young. When you live in a house of mostly old professors there aren't a lot of kids to play with, and when your dads are ALSO best friends (His father Arthur and my father were VERY close, that's why they'd chosen to be neighbors) let's just say that you end up spending a lot of time together. I hadn't seen him for years so when we rolled into Chapequa I had a decent amount of trepidation. Their house up there was as I'd remembered it (they moved when he was like 10) except now they have form letters from Hillary Clinton thanking them for the cake and considering a visit with them. Yeah...they're suburban.
The first thing I noticed about Sam was how much taller he'd gotten. Then came his new laid back attitude and the maturation from hyper 12 year old to Jesus like 19 year old. We talked about Columbia (I was brought in as an inspirational speaker because he's coming back after a year off too) and a bunch of other stuff. He has an interesting perspective but I'm worried about him since he plans to take 7 classes. It was nice catching up with him, we went to pick up the pizza (I ate pizza cause I had skipped dinner the night before and I was hungry, but I'm still down 5 pounds from the begining of Finals, so I think I'm doing fine on my diet) sat outside of the parlor talking etc... I just hope he can make the transition succesfully. His plan is to do college in 2.5 years, doing a premed major in Environmental science or human rights and go on to do an MD PHD. Yeah it's pretty nuts.
That was my weekend. It was a lot more STUFF than I've done in a long time and while it was interesting it was also difficult and at points painful. The one thing I took away from it though is that I need to learn how to drive. I want to spend some time upstate while my Cousin is back home for the summer.