On Saturday, we drove to Bison City, 150 miles away, to bring my daughter’s stuff to the apartment where she’ll be living for the next year while she’s in grad school. She’s still here until next Thursday, but we decided it was a good time to transport her bed and her desk, as well as her clothes and books. She’s very organized and she’d spent a couple of nights packing up everything she needed.
“Mom, what can I take from the kitchen?”
“Anything we have two of.”
“What about this?”
“Okay, anything we have one of.”
Last year, she’d given the box of kitchen stuff she’d used her senior year in college to Boy in Black and First Extra for their campus apartment. She rummaged through it, consulting Boy in Black.
“Can I take this?”
“Take whatever you want.”
“Well, I don’t want you to have to buy anything.”
“We won’t. That would be too much work. Whatever you take, we won’t bother to replace. No colander? We won’t make noodles this year.”
Her stuff fit nicely in the back of my husband’s van, but then her three brothers decided that they were going to come too. And then somehow, Skater Boy and Sailor Boy ended up joining us as well. So in two vehicles, the eight of us took a 300-mile roundtrip to check out her new apartment.
There wasn’t much to see. The living room was empty: just a carpet and beige walls. The kitchen held a refrigerator and stove. Her roommate’s bedroom held a bed, a desk, and not much else. We moved my daughter’s stuff into the other bedroom in about five minutes. Her belongings didn’t take up much space.
“Want some lawn chairs for the living room?” I offered. I had two bright red folding chairs in the back of the car, and I figured they might add some colour.
“No, I think it looks fine like this.”
There’s an amusement park with waterslides near Bison City, so after we’d inspected her apartment, we drove to the park. Unfortunately, it was the first hot Saturday we’d had all summer, and everyone in the region seemed to have the same idea. The lines for the water slides were ridiculously long. My group didn’t seem to mind – they just joked around and talked while they were in line – but I felt bad for the families with little kids.
While we were sitting in the shade, debating which part of the park to check out next, Sailor Boy said, “There’s a lot of negative energy here. Some of these families are just going at each other.”
He was right. Despite all the colorful images and plastic smiling faces that stared out from the concessions, the general mood at the park was hostile. I could hear parents yelling at their kids, couples snarling at each other, adults fighting over how much money to spend. The hot sun, the pavement, and the crowds were making everyone miserable. I’d forgotten how much I hate amusement parks.
Even though the waterslides themselves were fun, it was a relief to leave the park and retreat with my family to an air-conditioned restaurant where we were waited on by a smiley young woman who kept flirting with Boy in Black. We talked and joked about the day, and drank pitchers of water and lemonade with our pizza before getting back into our vehicles for the long ride home.