Sunday, 24 June 2007

Parental visit

My parents flew back to England yesterday after visiting me in New York for a week, their tenth visit to the city. It went pretty well I think; not completely smooth sailing, but not so stormy on the domestic seas either, unlike some previous stays which have included some humdingers of arguments.

Visits from my parents usually start out well, but have a tendency to go down hill fairly quickly. This time was different and I think both sides were doing their bit to keep any irritation in check. I was especially proud of myself when I didn’t so much as utter a squeak of complaint when the two of them coerced me into a trip to Canal St so Mum could check out fake designer handbags, and Dad could get a Ba Da Bing T-Shirt; he’s a BIG Sopranos fan - I’ve prepped him for his inevitable disappointment with the final episode when it’s screened in England.

My parents inexplicably LOVE Canal Street, it probably ranks among their favourite places to visit when they come to New York. I have no clue why, and quite frankly I suspect I must be adopted, since as far as I’m concerned it’s the arsehole of Manhattan and to be avoided at all costs. My mum however is absolutely thrilled when she hears the traders mutter “Miss, miss, you want handbag? Prada? Gucci? Miss, handbags miss, handbags. You want?” She beams with excitement when she’s ushered through a secret door, or a hidden wall panel, up a staircase to a back room where an abundance of counterfeit Prada treasures await. I’m anticipating the day she’s visiting and gets caught up in an NYPD raid and I’m called to bail her out of a police cell.

The only tense moments of their visit largely stemmed from my exasperation at my mother’s inability to look before she crossed a road. Seriously, the woman seemed to lose all road sense once she landed in New York. If someone crossed the street ahead of her, she'd just follow, not a moment’s thought as to whether the light was in her favour or not, she’d just saunter out into Park Avenue, not even a glance in the direction of the oncoming traffic. There were a few close calls with cabs and food delivery guys during the first couple of days and I started lingering around her like a nervous parent whenever we left the apartment. She'd near a road and my hand would automatically hover over her shoulder, ready to grab her to prevent her from being squashed by a cab. It was like looking after an errant toddler. She’s only 55 too; not exactly old for the mother of a 36year old daughter. I worry what she’ll be like in her advanced years.

Dad was a breeze by comparison, despite being 80% deaf!! The only problem he had was a few blisters from walking too far in ill fitting shoes, but once we found him a pair of trainers he was sorted. My Dad is a fairly simple being; he’s happy to go pretty much anywhere as long as there’s the promise of a hamburger or a steak dinner at the end of it. He’s also very easily distracted by ice-cream and Starbucks' Frappucinos should my mother's shopping habit prove a little taxing on his tolerance.

Parents eh!! I love ‘em, but I have to admit I'm relieved they’re now firmly ensconced at their home in England, under the watchful eye of my sister.

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