On Spring Break in Whistler at the age of 30 with my Parents, or, What is Happening to Me? – Day 1
What follows is an account of my 8-day spring break vacation, spent at the ski resort Whistler/Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada. It’s just me and my parents. I am 30 years old. Single. Depressed. God rapes us in mysterious ways.
I’m flying out of Orlando, Florida. My flight, on United Airlines, departs at 8:30 am. It is now 5:30 am. I haven’t gotten up this early in at least a year. Wait, that’s a lie. Kind of. I’ve been this slump in which I stay up until around this hour, surfing the Internet, watching movies, writing emails (sometimes drunk), or reading. I have no good reason to stay up this late. I just have this overwhelming feeling that I shouldn’t go to bed. That would be too boring. Which is completely ridiculous, mostly because I’m dead tired and it causes me to not get up until 2pm or later and thus waste the entire day. But as you can imagine, slumps and ruts are hard to get out of.
My shuttle is here, it’s now 6:30 am. The driver asks me if I want to sit in the front or the back.
It would be weird being the only one sitting in the back of a giant van. It would indicate to the driver that I have absolutely no interest in talking with him. Which incidentally is true. But perception is more important than truth. Ask anyone in politics, sports, movies, television, news, which is just about everyone of consequence. So I sit up front and we don’t say a single word to each other. I tip him $3 for not forcing me into conversation. He appreciates it, or at least pretends to.
It seems like everyone who has never flown once in his entire life is flying today. People look confused about having to stand in line to check-in. As if they can simply just walk onto the plane. This is ludicrous. This family is repacking their bags because they weigh too much. What is ludicrous, you ask? That the family is repacking their bags in line or that their bags weigh too much? Both if you ask me. I can see everything they own. Their most intimates of intimates: underwear, toiletries, accessories. Everything is on display. Packing is normally such a private affair, done in our bedrooms, in our homes, with the curtains drawn so that passersby don’t notice and get any crazy ideas about robbing our homes while we are gone. I feel like a perv.
I’m always disappointed that an attractive woman doesn’t sit next to me on the plane. This disappointment makes no sense whatsoever. And yet every time, it sinks into my gut and makes me question why I even travel. Don’t I deserve to have an attractive woman sit next to me on a plane? Do not answer that question. I’m not even sure what I’d say to her.
I can’t stay awake. I’m trying to do homework on the plane. It’s stupid that I have to even do homework, but it’s really no one’s fault but my own. Procrastination has gotten the best of me again. Actually, it’s gotten the worst of me. Wait, no, it’s gotten the best of me. I don’t understand this colloquium. It’s gotten all of me. There’s nothing left but skin and bones. But that isn’t true either, because my pants feel tight. I will sleep now.
I have arrived in Vancouver. My parents are waiting for me in the rental car. My parents are old. I’m just noticing this. They move rigidly, no longer with any grace or suave. They look tired. This depresses me. On the other hand, Vancouver is great! It’s young, it’s vibrant. It’s Saturday afternoon, approximately 48 degrees and people are out and about walking, playing in the park, picking up their dogs’ poop. This is wonderful. I want to be a Canadian. They seem to have no worries. Healthcare debate? What are you talking about? Violent, dying cities? Say what? War? What is it good for? Things to do before I die:
#3 Become a Canadian citizen.
#4 Move to Vancouver.
My father (I have this unreasonable desire to refer to my dad as father now that I’m 30) seems to be obsessed with Tim Horton’s. He says, “Why don’t they have any Tim Horton’s here in Canada? They ought to have a Tim Horton’s. I like Tim Horton’s.” So instead we begrudgingly stop at a Starbucks to use the bathroom and get a snack. My father orders a coffee and Thai Chicken wrap. He says “Oh” a lot when people talk to him. I think it’s filler while he tries to process what they are saying. But at least he thinks his Starbucks Thai Chicken Wrap is delicious. So does my mother. As we pull away from the Starbucks, my father notices a Tim Horton’s. “Oh, there you go. A Tim Horton’s. Too bad we didn’t see that.”
Me: “But I thought you like the chicken wrap.”
Him: “Yeah, but Tim Horton’s has good coffee and nice bathrooms.”
Me: “Didn’t the Starbucks have a clean bathroom.”
Him: “Yeah, I suppose.”
My parents do this thing where they talk at each rather than to each other. And now that I’m here, they do it to me, too. Like, as we pull into Whistler Village my mother says, “Don’t those directions I printed out tell us how to get to the hotel.”
My father: “These directions don’t say how to get to the hotel.” (You have to understand, his tone of voice and inflection indicate he did not hear what my mother said. This was in no sense a response to her question. It was a completely new thought of his own. I believe in Latin it’s referred to as suis generis.)
Me: “I’m just going to follow these signs that say ‘Hotels →’.”
My mother: “I have the phone number to the hotel, Henry (names changed to protect the not-so-innocent), why don’t you just call them and ask how to get there.”
My Father: “Hmm? We should just follow those signs. Marge, hand me your phone.”
Me: “I see the hotel, it’s right over there.”
My mother: “Use your phone. Why can’t you use your phone?”
My father: “Hmm? Oh. There’s the hotel.”
Later, at the grocery store my parents buy a ridiculous amount of alcohol. My father alone buys a bottle of Canadian Club Whiskey and a bottle of Amaretto. My mother asks me what kind of beer I want, I reply, “Anything but Heineken.” I know this still leaves me wide open to a lot of mediocre beer, but it’s too complicated to say anything else. Don’t believe me? This is how my mother responds:
“You want Heinekine?” That’s how she pronounces it, Hieny-KINE.
Me: “Anything BUT Heineken.” Five minutes later, I go in myself and grab a six pack of Red Stripe.
My mother: “Oh, they have your Red Stripe here.”
At dinner I look through the window beside me and notice the women in the hotel room across the way are standing around in their underwear trying to figure out what to wear. From a distance they seem attractive. I try to will them to remove their underwear or to look at me and notice me noticing them and for them not to be ashamed but coy and smile and wave at me. This does not happen and it seems unreasonable to me. I contemplate pointing out these half naked women to my parents. I become aware that other people in the restaurant have noticed them and are pointing and giggling. I decide to tell my parents lest I be accused of being a pervert for silently enjoying the spectacle all by myself. My mother’s reaction is disgust. Then a weird moment in which she critiques each of the women’s figures. I take a swig of my beer and wonder what’s taking the sushi so long.
Come back tomorrow for Day 2. God know’s I’ll be here.