Remember when you were a kid, and after your alarm went off you'd just lay in bed for a few more minutes without moving?
You'd just hit the snooze button and drift back to sleep, not at all caring - maybe even totally forgetting - that you had somewhere to be. Those extra moments of sleep were so beautiful...until they were shattered by the sound of your mother barging in, saying something inane in a sing-song voice (perhaps "Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey!") and yanking the covers off of you, thereby ensuring that not only would you would be awake for a good 2-3 straight days, not only wouldn't you miss even a minute of school, but for the rest of your life you would never again be able to masturbate calmly in the privacy of your own bedroom without the paralyzing fear of your mother steamrolling through the door? Remember that?
It all happened to me last week. Minus the masturbation scare. Truth be told, I don't mind a little exhibitionism.
Back to last week:
As I readied for my move to the Big Apple (and if you don't know, now you know, nigga!), circumstances demanded that my wife and I waylay in Connecticut for a week while we waited for access to our new apartment. So we crashed with my parents and commuted back and forth to NYC on the Metro-North train, 90 minutes each way. Not exactly ideal. Between 5:30 wake-ups, cramped trains and no free time, the week left me pretty spent. And Heather got to do it for three!
We are incredibly grateful to my parents for letting us stay there; God knows what we'd have done without their hospitality to fall back on. They are wonderful people...but they're still my parents, and at 31, living in their house isn't all peaches and cream.
Within a day I was snapping at my parents for asking too many questions, complaining to my mom about having to eat her cauliflower ("but you'll like it, it tastes like candy!"), and yelling at my dad to turn off "Star Trek" or "JAG" or "NCIS" or "The Unit" or whatever piece of crap he was watching and put on something decent.
It's amazing how easy it is to slide into the rhythms of your adolescence when thrust back into those living conditions. During college, when I used to go home during breaks, the same thing would happen. I'd revert to being a teenager, all moody and rude and sleeping 'til noon.
You'd think that a 31-year-old would know better, and I do, but my childhood home renders this silly boy powerless. Slowly but surely I slip back into my old rhythms. My parents don't exactly help matters, enablers that they are, especially my mom. After being free of me for so long, she clearly relishes the role of mother, even if I can tend to overdo it. I've been doing my own laundry for decades now, but when I go home, I don't even bother to separate the whites from the colors! Let her do it! It keeps her young! It's easy to take advantage of my parents' hopsitality, especially when I fool myself into thinking that they love the extra work that caring for a 31-year-old and his wife entails.
My mom even tried her best to play mother to my cat, who just wasn't having it. While I was reliving my teenage years for a week and my mom was finally getting to experience having the daughter she always wanted, my cat encountered her share of trauma, starting with shitting herself while encaged in her carrying-case during the ride from Boston to Connecticut. When Rilo was finally sprung from her carrying-case-of-abuse and set free in Connecticut, she had the personality of Christopher Walken in Deer Hunter, but without the hilarious voice. It was days before she was back to normal, and she still can't handle our games of Russian Roulette. What a pussy.
We finally made the move this past weekend. Rilo took one more trip to hell in her hand-basket and now, finally, is acting like her old self again (more akin to Christopher Walken in that Fatboy Slim video than anything else), and Heather was faced with the harrowing prospect of her gigantic furniture making it up to and inside a third-floor walk-up, but we all made it in one piece. Except for an arm chair. No longer are all our worldly possessions crammed into a U-Haul in my parents' driveway, no longer are we wasting four hours a day commuting to and from work, no longer am I forced to masturbate with the lights out and tears running down my face. And no longer do my parents have to deal with Mike's Teenage Years, The Early Thirties Edition. Everybody wins. Except for that arm chair, which will soon be kindling (for someone else's fireplace, because we certainly don't have one!)
Living at home may not have been ideal, but it was certainly nice to have my laundry taken care of, dinner ready when I walked in (hint hint, Heather!), and a king size bed to lounge in for a few days.
Just stay the fuck away from me when my alarm goes off (that’s a metaphor: alarm = penis) and I might even consider doing it again.
Let's get real here. You don't want to know about me. You want to know about "me".
ABOUT MIKE JULIANELLE
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IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
11.7.07 @ 2:02a
Just wait until you have kids (or spend lots of time with friends' children)--you'll find yourself repeating those aggravating phrases your parents favored. Dad's personal fave was "Hoppy jump!", while turning on the overhead light to make sure I heard him.
The other day I caught myself encouraging my friend's 2 yr old triplets to get moving with the same phrase. Arrrrrrrrgh!
Aside: it doesn't work much better on them than it did me, but it does make them giggle. :)
11.7.07 @ 6:24p
Mike, you think it's bad to have your parents act like mommy and daddy in your 30s. Try it in your early 60s, when you are already a grandparent! My dad was the worst until his demise three years ago. He made sure to remind me to check the oil when I borrowed his van; I practically had to take another driving test before he let me borrow it. He and my mother constantly referred to me and my daughter (now age 41) as "the girls," demoting me to her generation. Now that both parents are gone, though, I give anything to have them both back, despite the hovering and continued nurturing.
11.8.07 @ 11:55a
The metaphor at the end is really bugging me. I wish my penis had a snooze button.
That said, I've been in the same boat. It's crazy, but I think we all revert to some degree or another when placed in the same roles that we've inhabited throughout our childhood. I find myself getting angry at my mom for no reason, simply because that's the established pattern from when I was an adolescent. Also, she totally needs to mind her own business and stop telling me what to do. She's not the boss of me!
11.8.07 @ 2:44p
One of the most irritating things about living at home was the self-consciousness that came with having a beer or a glass of wine...my dad is no teetotaler, but I always felt like he was watching me for signs of binge-ing! Which, as a classic column of mine illustrates, is quite the problematic notion...
11.17.07 @ 9:47a
We've never had to stay with parents for longer than 3 days or so, but it's still torture to not swear around Matt's 79-year-old mother. You don't realize just what a potty mouth you have until you hear yourself say out loud, hesitantly, "well, I'll tell you! It just made me so...dog...gone...mad!" and then feel like a total dork.
12.4.07 @ 12:17p
"Wakey wakey, hands off snakey!"