I’m in New York on the occasion of what was supposed to be a family reunion of sorts. Actually, my nephew Eliot is graduating college (Fairfield University) and we thought we’d all get together. But mom sprained her ankle in California and declined to come which, at her age is understandable. My sister Eleanor is overseas…somewhere…doing her archeological thing. And my ever-missing brother Patrick is, well, still missing. I have not seen nor heard from Pat in, oh, ten years? None of us have. We’re starting to get the impression that he doesn’t like us. So the “reunion” consists only of my older brother Bill, older sister Mary and younger sister Elizabeth. Four out of seven ain’t good, but it's what we've got.
One thing about being back in New York: I never want to live here again. It is beyond me how people can deal with the congestion and crowds. I don’t know how I ever did it. But I'm in a crabby mood. It's kind of ironic but I hate flying...well, airline flying. Flying sucks. I wish I'd had time enough to drive.
So we gathered at some fancy-schmanzy restaurant in Fairfield, Connecticut last evening. There were twelve of us including Eliot’s two sets of parents (divorced and remarried), his girlfriend and her parents, and assorted other family members including one nutsy renegade helicopter pilot-brother/uncle of whom they’ve all heard stories. We drank, we ate, we drank some more – it was fun. My ex-brother-in-law Tom, the buttoned-down, high-powered attorney and one of the best negotiators I’ve ever known generously picked up the tab which must have been in the four digits. (I’ll send him a check to cover my share, which was considerable by itself.)
Eventually, we repaired to the college which was hosting a dance; kind of a final get-together for the families of the graduates. It was pretty lame, even by my low standards of entertainment. It was in this huge multi-level hall. There were three bands, each terrible, each with members as old as me. (What, no college-age kids in bands anymore?) The room we settled into had a band that was doing ‘80s music and had the requisite Elvis impersonator (Costello, not Presley). The only people dancing were old people. The college kids looked mortified. One girl’s mother kept bopping-in-place to the music while the daughter kept imploring her to ”Please stop.” It was funny. (And no, I did not similarly embarrass my nephew, if that’s what you’re thinking.)
Today is the graduation. It’s a gorgeous day, so it’ll be held outside, should be nice. There’s a party afterward, and then early tomorrow morning I get the flock out of here and back down to Hicksville (Florida, not the sarcastically-named town on Long Island). It’s nice seeing the family again. I just wish they didn’t live in New York.