The road trip was the solution to an awkward dilemma. When they were first informed that I was ill, my brother and his family from Ottawa, wanted to come out and see me immediately. My initial response was “no way.” I looked like crap and felt worse. I didn’t want to see anyone at the time, even friends for that matter. Once I was able to convince them that I was not in imminent danger of dying, I was able to get them to postpone plans to come see me, at least until I had gone through the medical procedures I was scheduled for.
The distance between my home and Ottawa is 2271km, which is not exactly down the block. Travelling from there to here on the spur of the moment is stupid expensive. I know, I’ve had to do it. Flights, hotels and car rentals would run over $3000 per couple, if you could find a cheap-o flight, and that didn’t include spending money! I appreciated the gesture, but we’re not a family of huggers! We text birthday wishes!! I told them about my illness because it was the right thing to do, not to make them spend thousands of dollars to come and visit me and do what? Sit and stare at me while I napped in my recliner??? That just sounds like a fun way to spend some holiday time, doesn’t it? My illness was making everyone behave crazy!!
Adding to this crazy idea of an impromptu visit, were the impending nuptials of my niece. She was due to have her wedding the following May. I was looking forward to attending before I got sick. It was going to be my first ever Millennial wedding. What with all the family drama that I never usually witness, I figured it was going to be entertaining to say the least. This Millennial wedding, as described to me, was going to cost the couple extreme dollars, all just to impress friends and family. Because the truth is, weddings are not about the bride and groom (they’re only pretending to have fun), but about what others want (grandma wants you to wear her 80-year-old wedding dress. Oooh…yuk!), and a Millennial wedding is five degrees grander than a regular run-of-the-mill ceremony (You want to release 100 lit tea-candles tied to balloons filled with helium? Along the treeline?? During a drought???). They booked a museum for the event, and there was even an on-again, off-again, wedding planner (depending on the bride’s mood). Even a film crew (probably just a cameraman and their gopher), had been hired to document the event. Who are we? The Kardashians?!! Do they not know that a wedding video is the same as wedding photos?? You look at it once and that’s it!! The only time I touch my wedding album is to dust!! I’ve had it for forty years!!
It’s not like preparing for a Millennial wedding wasn’t already expensive and time consuming enough. Visiting an ill relative, who lives thousands of dollars away, was just crazy. I appealed to their pragmatic side, and once Honey came up with the idea for a road trip, they calmed down with the crazy talk of visiting me. I was relieved when everyone agreed it was better to postpone, what would be a difficult family reunion, until after the wedding. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that felt relieved.
Spending time with my brother and sister-in-law at my home was one thing, we’re of the same generation and share a long history. But spending hours just hanging out with my niece and her future husband, was a whole different matter. How comfortable was this guy going to feel? Meeting the ‘uncle from away’ for the first time, then having to sit in his living room and watch him nap in the recliner, or stumble off to the bathroom to throw up. For seven days straight!! He’s already getting my brother for a father-in-law!! Wasn’t the guy going to suffer enough??!! My illness was affecting even people I hadn’t met yet, because agreeing to come to my home turf was crazy dude! What were you thinking??? I understand that you were trying to show love and support to your partner, but I’ve been married 40 years and agreeing to visit a sick in-law for coffee is showing love and support. Agreeing to a week-long visit isn’t love and support, it’s crazy!! Helping her pack would have been plenty!! You must have been thrilled when you were informed that the dreaded trip west was cancelled. I’m sure you said out loud, “…that’s too bad, I was looking forward to it…” but inside you were doing the happy dance. You got to avoid having to live through one of life’s ‘uncomfortable moments.’ I figure you owe me, amigo!
I’ll be in Ottawa four days from now. I will spend time with my brother and his family. It will be on my terms, which I think is driving both my sister-in-law and my niece crazy, they want to plan what I do and I won’t let them, but it will fill the need they have to see me. They’ll probably even hug me (oooh…yuk!). We’ll no doubt share some tears, and hopefully a few last laughs together. I can’t guarantee that the newest member of the family won’t have ‘uncomfortable moments’, but it will be on his turf, and he will no doubt find it easier to manage.
Yes… I think the road trip was the perfect solution to an awkward situation.
Honey and I extend our congratulations to the bride and groom, who held their wedding, as planned, this last May long weekend. I’ve seen the video, it was well… a very Millennial affair. I look forward to seeing you both on Friday. What? Your wife didn’t tell you?? I’m staying at your house for the weekend! Dibs on the recliner!!