This is how I thought it would go when I met Primo’s parents.
Doris: Goldie, we are so excited to meet you! Primohas told us a little bit about you, but not enough.
Sly: Yes! Welcome to our home. We are happy to have you here. Would you like a glass of water or juice? I’m afraid we don’t have diet soda, but we can get some at the store tomorrow. Doris did ask Primo what you drink, but he never got back to her.
Me: A glass of water would be lovely. Thank you.
Doris: Are you hungry? You guys have been traveling since early this morning and I am pretty sure they don’t feed people on planes anymore. Did you stop for lunch on the way here? If you didn’t, I can make some sandwiches or get out some cheese and crackers and grapes. You must be hungry! Oh! And I did make an apple pie. It’s Primo’s favorite. No time like the present to have pie!
Me: Pie sounds great! I am hungry.
Doris: Oh! Before I forget – I thought I asked Primo to ask you this, but is there anything you cannot eat?
Me: No! I like everything but tripe!
Primo: I like tripe.
Sly and Doris laugh merrily.
Doris: Oh that son of ours! He is indeed an adventurous eater! Don’t worry! I am not planning on serving tripe!
Primo: But I don’t like anything with that orange flavor, like beets or chard or winter squash.
Me: And nothing that ends in “erry!”
Sly and Doris laugh again.
Doris: I see you have been learning Primo’s food rules!
Me: Yes! Honestly, how did you put up with him when he was a kid? He is so picky!
Doris: Oh my! There were times when he ate a cheese sandwich for supper. My mother was from Georgia and I like my greens! I had no intention of being a short-order cook in my own kitchen.
Me: Good for you!
Doris: Goldie, Primo told me that even though you both live in Austin, you two met at your college reunion. What was your major?
Me: I didn’t choose as wisely as Primo did – I majored in English.
Sly (laughing): Wait a second there, young lady! I was an English professor. English is a perfectly fine major!
Me: I know. My original plan was to major in biomedical engineering, go to medical school, and then design artificial body parts. I didn’t quite make it. Instead, I went to the University of Texas for my MBA.
Sly: Well, the world of English is happy to have you! Who is your favorite author?
Doris: Let’s not get into shop talk, dear! Goldie, Primo tells us you also live in Austin. Are you from Austin?
Me: No, I moved there for a job after college.
Sly: Oh really? And what is your work?
Me: These days, I do marketing for a tech company.
Sly: That is a field about which I know nothing. Tell me more!
Me: [blah blah blah about my job]
Doris: Dear, where are you from originally?
Me: My dad was in the air force, so we moved around a lot when I was a kid.
Sly: Really? I was in the navy for four years. Where was your father stationed?
Me: We lived in Spain when I was a kid and in the Panama Canal Zone when I was in high school. Most of the rest of the time in the US was in Texas.
Doris: How fascinating! We lived in Michigan briefly while Sly was completing his graduate work, but then we lived in Pittsburgh for the next forty years until he retired and we moved here. It must have been so interesting to live in so many different places! How I loved visiting my grandparents in Georgia. I love to travel.
Me: Yes, I do, too. That’s where all my disposable income has gone over the years. I don’t have a fancy car, but I have traveled. And I do like Georgia. I like the south a lot. I am not a fan of snow!
Doris: I have to admit I do not miss the Pennsylvania winters at all!
Sly: Nor do I! Shoveling snow certainly loses its charm after a short time. And once the kids were out of the house, we had nobody to delegate it to!
Doris: You lived in Spain and Panama? Do you speak Spanish?
Doris: You were a Peace Corps volunteer? That is wonderful! We are huge liberals so of course we support the Peace Corps! Do you realize how many Parent Points you have just gained with us? How could we ever find a better partner for our beloved son? Welcome, welcome, welcome!
Sly: Let’s see. You went to the same college as our son, so you clearly meet the educational standard we would have for a daughter in law. And you, unlike our son, have a master’s degree – and from a top university! In addition, you have one of the best liberal credentials possible – you were a Peace Corps volunteer. Truly we have hit the jackpot for potential daughters in law. Welcome indeed!
Are you thinking, “Yeah, that’s how these things go” or are you thinking, “Bless your stupid little heart, Goldie, you are delusional. There is no way the conversation could have gone that well. That is fiction!”
If you picked Option 2, you would be correct.
This is how it actually goes.
Sly [not making eye contact with me]: Primo, what do you think about the Pirates this year?
Primo: Sports talk
Sly: More sports talk
Primo: Even more sports talk
Doris: But what about politics? We need to talk about politics!
Sly: Oh definitely! Politics talk
Primo: More politics talk
Doris: And even more politics talk
Doris: Politics squared!
Primo: Yeah OK politics
Sly: Stupid people who don’t agree with me on politics!
Doris: Totally stupid! If they don’t agree with us, it’s because they are stupid!
Primo: Well, sometimes people have valid reasons for disagreeing.
Sly: Those stupid people are too stupid to live. Why are they even allowed to stay in this country?