Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and we’re flung far and wide this year, people on the move. We’re the stay at home people whereas my parents are the flung-far people. Here at Chez Barbieri we are hosting Jim’s side of the family, which makes us a nice, even dozen. Fortunately, that number represents the maximum occupancy capacity in the house and in particular, around the dining room table, so just one more person and we’d find ourselves elbow to elbow while enjoying my brined turkey.
Mom and Dad have headed south to see my sister who lives in Georgia. In typical Mom/Dad style, they planned on leaving for the South at six in the morning to “beat the traffic” but decided, after a spirited discussion at two in the morning that they would leave then. When my mother called me at two o’clock in the afternoon on the day they were supposed to arrive at my sister’s (their original e.t.d. had them arriving around dinner time) and told me that they were fifteen minutes from her house, I was surprised. Our conversation went like this:
Me: Didn’t you leave at six this morning? Doesn’t it take thirteen hours to get there? (I had visions of my father doing 120 miles per hour down 95 and was wondering how they were still alive. I’m bad at math, as we all know, but even I can figure out that the trip not taking thirteen hours means that they were traveling at very high speeds.)
Mom: Well, Dad got up in the middle of the night and I was watching television so we just decided to leave then. Oh, and by the way, we were supposed to start back the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, but we’re going to leave the Saturday after Thanksgiving instead. You know, to beat the traffic.
Me (incredulously): You haven’t even arrived at your original destination, but you’re already talking about when you’re coming home?
Mom (through gales of hysterical laughter): We’re old! That’s what old people do!
Newsflash: they’re not old. And they shouldn’t be doing what old people do. They’ve got at least ten years before they need to start doing that. But it provided us some good laughs when Mom realized that indeed, they are mostly retired and have nothing to rush back here for. We’ll be eating leftovers for weeks, so surely they’re not anxious to get back to have dinner at our house.
Now, I’ve taken a poll and apparently, many people of retirement age are alternately fascinated and horrified by traffic and will do anything they can to avoid it. A friend’s father begins his trek from Florida at nine at night and drives until he hits…you guessed it…traffic. Only then will he stop to eat and/or go to the bathroom.
I’m thrilled that we’re staying home because the only traffic I will have to contend with will be the backup at the bathroom door as several Barbieri’s attempt to shower and look presentable for the day in the only bathroom with a shower. I’m absolutely positive that “bathroom rage” will ensue. But there is no way that I’m getting up any earlier to “beat the traffic.” I’ll just wait at the back of the line until I see a break in the action and then I’ll make my move. Just like any good driver.
Happy thanksgiving, Stiletto faithful.