As I said on my last post, I haven’t been posting for the last several days because I had the flu. Well, it lingered, all last week; I was coughing and sniffling, I still felt feverish whenever I got too tired (which was at the end of every day), I had to take NyQuil every night in order to sleep and suck on Ricola several times during the day. It was pretty miserable, especially when I had parent conferences on Wednesday. (Though that was up and down: I had one parent snipe at me, one parent praise me to the skies, and one parent show some genuine concern because the kid thought I hated him, and the parent wanted to know why the kid thought that. And no, I don’t hate him — the kid likes to argue, and so do I, and we’ve gone at it several times; he is, quite understandably, wary of teachers who disagree with him, because so many of my colleagues would indeed punish him because of the disagreements. But I put him in front when I made the new seating chart because that’s where the d20 put him. Teachers: I’d recommend it. Get some Dungeons & Dragons dice and use them to determine seats. 20 kids in the classroom is real easy, but with multiple dice you can get any number: a 6-sided die and a 12-sided, for instance, can give you 1-36. Then roll for each seat, and count down the roster to place them. Easy-peasy. Just re-roll if the wrong kid ends up next to someone he shouldn’t sit next to. And no, that’s not why this kid was in the front. I really did roll him there. Though I felt terrible that he thought otherwise. Anyway.)
Then, at the end of a long week of half-sickness and weak voice and still-fuddled brain and catching up on the work I missed while I was more actively ailing, I had a joyful event: my father and his wife came to Tucson for a visit.
All right, there’s some sarcasm there. But not much. I love my dad, very much. I love his wife, though there’s some friction between her and my wife, which doesn’t please me. I wanted to see them, and I wanted to show off my cool new town, so much of an improvement over the last one.
But there is some sarcasm. Because I was freaking tired. And I am an introvert, which means I recover energy when I get to be quietly by myself; being with people, even people I love, tends to make me even more tired. And on the weekend that came after my half-sick still-recovering-but-have-to-work week, it was tough. It was pretty tough.
I had to ask for time off from them. And to their credit, despite the fact that they are serious extroverts, who are happiest when they are spending time with people, especially with people they love like their son, they accepted my requests with good grace. For the most part. I think there was a little disapproval when I asked for a couple of hours home alone on Sunday with Toni and the pets before we met for dinner, a request that was met with a few seconds of silence before my dad’s wife said, “Sure, no problem,” and when they came back, there was a question about whether I had gone on a two-hour walk with the dog — that being the time frame and the activity I had used as an excuse. I hadn’t, it was a half-hour walk, and another hour and a half of simply sitting quietly, not visiting.
So here’s my point. Was it rude of me to ask for that? Is it rude of them to expect more time spent visiting, which would make them happier, though be harder on me? Let me give another example: when we asked where they wanted to go for dinner, their response was, “You choose.” So is that polite, or annoying? It was fine in this instance, but — they were the guests. And they paid for the meals. So should they be choosing? Doesn’t seem right, otherwise. We are new to Tucson and had only eaten in one of the four places we went for a meal; who should choose the other three, then? The guests? The hosts? The foodies? The ones who pay? Or this: at one point while we were all sitting around in the house, chatting, Toni — who is even more introverted than me, and who, after all, is only their child by marriage (Doesn’t that mean she doesn’t have the same responsibility to be as open and entertaining as I am with them? Right? But then, how often can I invite them to my home, when it is her home too? Should I be more giving to my parents, who want to see us more, or more thoughtful to my wife, who would in general rather not have company?) — got out her sketchbook and drew for a while. Still participating in the conversation, but without eye contact, because that’s more comfortable for her, and also because — it’s her job. She draws. She does it all the time.
So was that rude? I’m not even sure they were upset by it, though it kinda seemed so.
I don’t want to simply avoid my parents. But I don’t want them to come as much as I’m sure they’d like to come, and I generally don’t want the visits to last as long as I’m sure they’d like them to last.
So who decides?
All I know is, I’m glad they came, and I’m glad they got to see Tucson, and meet my new dog, and we got to catch up, It was great. And I’m also glad it’s Monday. Now I can relax.