OK Josephine. Whatever you do, don’t lose eye contact. All will be lost if you look away.
I stare warily at my mom, who stares suspiciously back at me.
It’s now or never. I take a deep breath.
“Can I go to the east coast during late August? I have a lot of friends in New York and DC whom I’d love to visit. And it’d be a great cultural learning experience too!”
“Didn’t you just go to the east coast in January?” my mom fires back without missing a beat.
Damn. I was hoping she’d forgotten about that by now. I thought the older you get, the worse memory you’re supposed to have.
“Yeesss…but that was during winter. And that was only for 2 days! Like a business trip! This one would be for leisure….and for learning.” I emphasize on the learning part.
“Regardless. You already had your east coast fun. So no.” She goes back to reading her newspaper.
Fun? FUN? Why isn’t the LEARNING part registering with her? I thought all parents wanted their kids to have cultural, life-enhancing experiences and step outside their comfort zones. This isn’t going how I planned it. In my head, I’d ask the same question, and my mom would jump up ecstatically and hug me, while saying, “Of course you may go! I’m so proud that you’re thinking ahead and attempting to dive into new experiences while you’re in college! Good girl! Let’s go look at plane tickets right now! Get my credit card!”
Well, maybe not the last part about the credit card. I’ve been paying for all my travels this past year (Sacramento, San Francisco, Berkeley, New York, Princeton). So naturally, I would pay for my own plane ticket here. But still, it’d be nice if she’d offer her credit card. Even so, yeah…none of my daydreaming is happening here.
“I would be going to New York and DC for educational purposes! New York is full of rich culture, with so many art galleries and Broadway and shopping districts and wonderful restaurants! DC has the Holocaust Museum and the White House and Capitol Building and the FBI Headquarters and the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum! We don’t get any of that here in California! You immigrated to America so that your kids would get enriching opportunities. Why can’t you just let me go and learn and be cultured with the wonderful and fascinating American history, current events, and pop culture? And catch up with old friends so I don’t die old and lonely and friendless? No grandkids! Would you like your daughter to be forever alone with 99 chihuahuas? I hate chihuahuas!”
My mom slowly looks up from the newspaper, giving me the dagger eyes. Either I’m talking too much and too quickly for her to comprehend, or I’m just speaking rubbish. Either way, I’m defeated today.
“Nothing.” I slump my shoulders and slink away. I’ll argue my case another day.