Thursday, July 27, 2006

on vacation, or my in-laws drive me crazy

Really. A cliché, I know. But I can’t help it! They are both sweet and generous, but still.

We – Iz, Abraham, and Zi the Dog – are currently on vacation in Downeast Maine… at the in-laws gorgeous, huge house on a bay. The weather is fantastic – anything is compared to the DC area in July and August – and I am actually on real vacation – no work! I have not had a real vacation in a long, long time. Unfortunately, they are here the whole time.

  1. They have the same conversations over and over (their daughter needing to meet “someone”, what to have for dinner the next night while eating dinner, which side of Abraham’s family Iz looks like, how the food or a restaurant is “the best” in one way or another, how they and their neighbors are worried about property taxes – to name a few of the stock conversations).
  2. New conversations confuse them –especially my father in-law, who joins in a conversation with a hesitant, yet know-it-all tone, but is completely off about the actual topic. Any new conversations quickly devolve into the same old conversations.
  3. They do very little but putter (come on, they are in Maine, on vacation – do something for god's sake!) – she cleans and goes to the grocery store, he moves from room to room reading – and talk about potential plans (“Oh, there is a silent auction there,” “Such-and-such movie is playing,” “I want to build model boats,” etc.).
  4. They have no real interests – though maybe I am being a creative/intellectual snob here. Sure, he reads books constantly and others describe him as smart. Yes, she reads the newspaper. But he often reads very trashy thrillers et al (So badly written that Abraham often cannot finish what his dad recommends), and she reads the Style section, especially the wedding announcements in full.
  5. They seem so traditional – he is a doctor (mostly retired now), she was primarily a stay-at-home mom who still caters almost entirely to her husband – for example, she makes him lunch while he sits and reads; he hates writing thank you cards and making plans with others, so she does it all. Maybe part of my annoyance is culture clash – I just don’t get it.

Yes, it is their house (and we could not afford a vacation in a location such as this); yes, I am probably being supremely ungracious – and I feel more so because I often sense they are trying to please me, which makes my annoyance and guilt worse. I used to think I was a good person.

A major bonus (and source of guilt): they will babysit Iz, so Abraham and I can go running, cycling, kayaking… Oh, I am going to hell. Maybe not such a bad level of hell, but hell nonetheless.

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