Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Parents' First Time in Baltimore

            My parents came to visit me last week. As soon as I picked them up I could tell that my dad was heavily sedated. “He had to take Valium. We had a hard time getting through security,” my mother explained.
            “Why?” My parents aren’t terrorists but for some reason they always have a hard time getting through airport security. My dad was almost arrested twice for having a knife in his bag – he likes to pack like the apocalypse is coming, in an hour.
            “They were extra brutal this time.”
            “Yeah, why?”
            That’s when my father awoke from his sedation, “The sensors kept picking up something around my belt so I offered to show them that there was nothing there.”
            “They thought he was undressing,” my mother cut in. “They started yelling, ‘He’s trying to get naked!’ And your father was just standing there holding his pants and staring at them.”
            “I hate planes,” my father declared. So that’s where I get it.
            That night I took my parents to meet my roommates. My father decided that since he wrote a very beautiful Eulogy for my mother’s cousin and wasn’t allowed to read it at the funeral that a good icebreaker would be reading it to my friends. So he did. It was really a good eulogy.
            My parents came to visit in order to celebrate the Jewish New Year, Yom Kippur, together. We all fasted from Friday night to Saturday night. Not because we are religious, to quote my father, “Organized religion is a joke.” But because, “It’s good to fast for a day every year. Good for the soul.” My dad considers himself highly spiritual.
            And so we fasted. By noon we all had terrible headaches. My father decided that we needed to chant. He chants, a lot. Ohm Mani Pad Mahoom, over and over again. When I was younger I used to join, but I’m not much of a joiner anymore.
            We broke fast at Tapas, a Tapas-themed restaurant. They served us Sangria. My father doesn’t drink but if he does he drinks Sangria. “This is the best Sangria I ever had!” He told our waiter as his lips began to redden with the stains of red wine.
            He got pretty drunk.
            When our waiter came back to take our order for another round of Tapas, my father tried to get him to sing the song “Tomorrow,” from the play Annie with him. Then he explained to my mother and I how that song is one of the best songs ever written other than the use of the word “Always,” as in, “Tomorrow is Always a day away.”
            “That’s so stupid! Why does tomorrow always have to be a day away! That song is so hopeful otherwise. I bet it was written as only but some pessimistic asshole decided that Annie had to have a bleak future. Pessimistic assholes! This is why America is going to shit. It’s because of pessimistic assholes!” He was drunk.
            Our waiter came by again and my father ordered another pitcher of Sangria, punctuating his request with, “My wife is trying to get me drunk so that she can have sex with me!”
            Then my father introduced me to Mel, some sort of proper noun that he had been alluding to the entire trip.
            It was an electromagnetic field detector. Like what people use to hunt for ghosts. My father had one and was excited to have it in Baltimore since according to him, “South Florida isn’t haunted at all!”
            And so I brought him to a few places on the Charles strip and apparently for anyone that was wondering, Baltimore, or particularly some businesses down Charles Street are pretty haunted. Especially that back mirror at Club Charles.

            We had a following. I overheard people say, “There goes the ghost people.” As I was forced to reassure everyone that my father was a doctor NOT a ghost hunter, I don’t think that helped.
            I was sad to see my parents leave.

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