I spent almost the entirety of this past weekend at my parents’ apartment. The very same Morningside Heights hive where I spent the first 18 years of my life. I slept in the same room, vegged out on the same couch, raided the same fridge, and traipsed around the same neighborhood I currently spend an obscene amount of rent money to avoid. I truly loved every second of it – and then, for no ostensible reason, I absolutely had to get the hell out of there, double time.
Why? Let’s look at how it happened:
This wasn’t a planned excursion.
It began early evening on Friday. I had a friend in town that I was totally committed to hanging out with, so I made the completely out-of-character decision to join a poker game on the Upper West Side. I love to gamble – this is well documented – but I am absolutely, unequivocally terrible at poker. I have very little sense of strategy and only a passable poker face until I get drunk and random and reckless. I never last long enough in the game to even get drunk. I rode my bike all the way from Williamsburg – over two bridges – to West End Ave. The game started at 8 P.M. and I had every expectation of being broke by ten, chain-smoking miserably on the couch for an hour, and then heading downtown to resume my normal life.
So you can imagine my surprise when, at 3:30 A.M., piss drunk and full of adrenaline, I found myself wrapping up the game’s last hand and splitting the pot with some guy whose name I can’t remember but who I greatly respect. This was unprecedented. Not only did I win a poker game, but it was, after a few more beers, now 4:30 A.M. on a Friday night and I was on the Upper West Side. I had no idea what to do with myself.
I knew that my state of near-blackout drunk exhaustion was not conducive to a six-mile ride to the Lower East Side. So I made the decision to spend the night at my parents’ apartment only a mile North. Of course it never occurred to me that they would deadbolt the door, as they have every night for the past 25 years, necessitating a slurred call-of-shame to rouse my father. He was not necessarily impressed, but he was plenty welcoming enough. He nodded with what I hoped was pride when I incoherently explained my poker winnings.
Then I ate pie and ice cream and passed out on the couch watching premium cable.
When I woke up late the next morning, my parents were gone – but all the amenities of my childhood remained. The stocked fridge full of snacks I can’t afford, the cable subscription full of channels I can’t afford, the space and cleanliness and general civilized lifestyle I certainly cannot afford. All present, and available. I spent the rest of the weekend on and off the couch, eating and drinking everything in sight, and repeatedly asking myself the question:
WHY THE FUCK DID I EVER MOVE OUT?
And then, on Sunday, my parents came home. And as much as I love their house, I love them even more. And I felt kind of bad. They certainly don’t need me eating all of the food their hard-earned money buys, or drinking all their booze, or laying around on the couch and not folding the blankets I use, or leaving the TV on too loud while they’re trying to sleep, or borrowing books off their shelves and ruining the hard covers, or making all the towels in their bathroom smell like pot, or, for that matter, neglecting to tell them to leave the door unlocked and showing up wasted at 4:30 A.M.
So I dragged myself out of their apartment, and took my ass back downtown. I love my parents more than I love their house, and I’m pretty proud of that.
Featured image courtesy of Nerdacy