I survived my trip to Niagara Falls with my parents. So in this sense, it was a success. Another success: No one fell down the falls and died. However, my father kept looking over the edge and saying, “When I look down, I feel dizzy.” And my mother kept teling him to stop looking over the edge. Easy. And yet, not easy. Because this kept happening. My father would point to the waterfalls every time he saw them, which was basically all the time because we were at Niagara Falls. Then my father kept complaining about walking and my mother kept complaining about being hungry. The reason why I don’t have kids is because I have parents. Seriously. My friend’s kids sound EXACTLY like my parents. I’m hungry, I’m tired, why is it so far, are we there yet, I’m hungry again, I have to go to the bathroom, I’m sleepy, where are we?, I have to go to the bathroom right now, what’s for dinner, can we get coffee, is there a Starbucks, why can’t I use American money even though I’m in Canada?
My friend Madelynn tells this great story of a play she attended a while ago. It’s in this tiny theater, really intimate, meaning the audience members are basically sitting on the actors’ laps. Everything is dark and quiet. It’s a play. Shit is intense. Shit is real. Actors are acting. They are emoting, but not too much. They are transforming into another character, which I guess is what acting is. And at one point, there’s this lone voice that comes from the back: “Oh GOD, this is ENDLESS.” And one can only assume the actors hear this and just feel bad about themselves and perhaps question the whole acting thing and how it’s pointless and how if I haven’t made it now I’m probably never going to make it, and what am I doing with my life I have no backup plan, all I want to do is act. Anyway that basically sums up this trip. I am the voice from the back wailing in agony. But that’s what happens when you wake up at 4:15 am so you can take a 5:15 car to the airport and then fly to Buffalo, which–holy shit–is where Buffalo wings come from, how you never made that connection until now is a mystery, also you fucking hate Buffalo wings. They smell like fried urine and leads you to believe that the only thing that comes from Buffalo is bad news. Then you drive for forty minutes to the Canadian side of the falls while you’re sorely undercaffeinated and while your parents literally read EVERY SIGN OUT LOUD and then backseat drive as if they’ve EVER been to Buffalo before. Your father, of course, went to Niagara Falls in the seventies and is absolutely SHOCKED that the cute little hotel he stayed at is no longer there and has become a Sheraton tower with 1,000 rooms. He keeps bringing it up because…I don’t know why he just does. He’s obsessed with the hotel he stayed at before you were born. Meanwhile, your mom is walking like a champ–she’s in great shape and hits the elliptical machine every day. She is in better shape than you, maybe. Your father, however, is struggling behind and shuffling his feet on the pavement and complaining that his feet hurt and the shuffle sound is MAKING YOU CRAZY and more importantly and perhaps more entertainingly, making YOUR MOTHER crazy. She says “pick up your feet” so then your father marches and does a high step, which is funny but then two seconds later he’s shuffling again so that didn’t work out for anyone. And if you want to go to any of the sweet wax museums (like the one that promises a whole bunch of CRIMINALS!!!!) then sorry buddy, no fun for you. And don’t even think about the haunted house. Your parents do not like fun. They will ask you, repeatedly, what’s for lunch and what’s for dinner as if you’ve been to Niagara Falls before and have a whole slew of restaurant recommendations. So you use Yelp but the cell network in Canada costs, like, $1000 Canadian dollars which is the same as US dollars, but sometimes you can get AT&T but on the Edge network which is basically like a dial-up modem for your phone. Then you find a pizza place and your dad is impressed that he managed to eat two slices of pizza that has no meat because his daughter is a goddamn vegetarian still after, like, 20 years.
Then, you wake up the next day and go back to Buffalo and then back to NYC and walk around the streets of Greenwich Village because your parents like to pack it in and every minute they have to be doing something. You discover your mother has an excellent sense of direction and understands where Washington Square Park is in relation to your apartment but your father thinks you are close to the World Trade Center, which you are not. Nor are you close to Central Park, Times Square, or Rock Center, but since your dad visited in the nineties he believes he’s an expert on NYC geography. Then the next day they wake up at the crack of dawn again to head to your father’s high school reunion/golf trip.
All this to say, I had a great time. Great time meaning I survived. But above all, my parents had a good time, which I guess was the point. They want to go on another trip with me but I am TOFTS (That stands for Too Old For This Shit, keep up, people.) My parents should probably have their own reality show but the fame would go to their heads and they would truly be intolerable.