My parents also flew in to visit this weekend. Brief highlights:
They stayed at a Name Brand hotel in downtown Boston. “I have a niece who works at a Name Brand,” my father told the woman behind the desk.
“Really? Which one?”
Waiting in Filene’s Basement on Newbury St for my mother to buy a scarf, the Carmen McRae cover of “Take Five” came on the PA. “That’s what this song was always missing,” I told my dad. “Words. Every song becomes better if you add words to it.”
My parents were in town not just to see me, but also to drive to an Oddfellows meeting in Worcester. My dad asked if he could borrow my car for the weekend, rather than get a rental. Since I get around Boston by train five days out of the week, I agreed.
I handed him the keys outside their hotel. “Now I want you back by midnight,” I said. “If you leave this place where you’re going, you call me and let me know. And if I don’t know who you’re going with, I want to talk to their parents first.”
Long story short, my mother now has the key to the City of Worcester.
After seeing Hot Tub Time Machine on Sunday afternoon*, we went to the Beantowne Pub to watch the Baylor/Duke game. We had to sit at a table instead of the bar, however. A couple sat at the bar between us and the nearest TV, making out with the unconscious shame of the fourth cocktail. They would talk forehead to forehead for a while, then whisper in each other’s ears, then stroke each other’s forearms, then kiss sloppily.
This was a constant source of disgust / amusement for my parents. Didn’t bother me; maybe I go to more bars than they do.
Saturday night, after returning from the fancy dinner function in central MA, my parents had a nightcap at the Name Brand hotel. They were served by a beaming Turkish barman, who presented their order (Maker’s Mark for the old man; sambuca for my mother) with a flourish. “Tell me, sir,” he asked of my dad. “You’re in a beautiful suit, you’re with a beautiful woman, you’re drinking expensive bourbon. Does it get any better than this?”
You know, it probably doesn’t. The last four years have made me more progressive, to the extent that I can recognize that I am incredibly privileged, but I’m not at the point where I feel guilty for it. My grandfather was born in a region of the Carpathians that changed hands between Ukraine and Slovakia several times in the 20th century. My father was born in a steelworking family in Pittsburgh. I was born to white-collar professionals in a suburb of Baltimore. Should I one day spite the world with children, they’ll be born in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in America.
I just do things I really enjoy. I enjoy acting. When I’m driving to the studio, I sing in the car. I love my work and my wife and my kids and my friends. And I think, “You’re a lucky man, Gregory Peck, a damn lucky man.”
- Gregory Peck
* Goofy silly. See it with a bunch of straight guys. No need to see it in the theaters.