Closing in on the Record
Just back from our state's capitol where, despite their best efforts to convince us otherwise, we will never be staying in a Residence Inn by Marriot ever again.
We were up there for my grandparents' 70th anniversary, which leaves them at least 10 years behind the record holders, Percy and Florence Arrowsmith of Hereford, England. Among the barrage of relatives, toasts and organization to make sure everything would happen, I noticed a few things:
- My cousin is slowly turning into my father, not his. This was outlined most starkly this morning, when we arrived at my grandparents' house to find him lounging on the couch wearing a faded Hawaiian print shirt worthy of those that fill Dad's closet from end-to-end.
- When travelling, try to allot at least 250 square feet of hotel room per child. If you try to fit several children into multiples of less than 250, the result will remove years from your life expectancy.
- I embarassed myself by trying to impress my somewhat distant cousin, the "other" writer in the family, and refusing to admit that I am, in fact, a realtor, and not an artist hiding out in a garret somewhere, producing reams and reams of misunderstood genius.
- I do, however, occasionally wear pompous shoes.
- Sacramento, a city I like very much, is full of young guys who look like they're about to go water-skiing. Their female counterparts waste no fabric at all in covering their lower halves with denim. Only the minimum is used. They are conscientous demin consumers.
- The jawa: not a huge child. A huge baby, yes, but not a huge child.
- Once again, the similarities between my older sister, Noodles Mom, and Sandra Bullock are striking enough to leave me with an uneasy feeling. If not for them, there would have been no 70th anniversary party.
- Do NOT stay at the Residence Inn. This trip marked the second consecutive time we'd been given a smoking room, despite our well-in-advance reservation of a non-smoking room. Sure, they knocked $30 off of the price (twice), and sure they did everything they could to make it up to us, but fool me one time, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
- To expand on that, why is it that hotels that feature breakfast attract either swarms of teenage sports teams or enormously huge people wearing "No Fear" T-shirts? It's got something to do with the free food, I know. Isn't there some law that forbids morbidly obese people from wearing flip-flops? If there isn't, there should be. Flip-flops are a privilege, not a right.
Family gatherings, of course, effect people different ways. Some people use them to demonstrate how much they've accomplished and/or grown since the last gathering. Some try to address various issues they feel have need to be addressed. Some like to bask in the accumulated glow of having a bunch of people they've known their entire lives in one place. Everyone chooses their Barry Levinson-inspired role and runs with it.
I prefer to take a background role during these events. The larger the event, the more low-key I try to be. Sometimes this involves leaving the adults and hanging out with the kids. I learned this tactic from my father, I realized, as I sat on a bench in the sun outside the restaurant on Sunday, watching the kids play high-and-seek in their dress-up clothes. Is there anything better than a bunch of kids, all dressed up, combed and bored out of their minds at a family event, finally freed from the meal table to play hide-and-seek?
Now that is the real deal.