Primo: Ready to visit my mom and dad again?
Me: Yeah, sure. It was so fabulous. They were so welcoming.
Primo: I know.
Me: They don’t like anyone, do they?
Primo: They like me. But they still think I am doing it wrong.
Me: What are you doing wrong?
Primo: They told me not to marry [ex-wife]. They still bring it up.
Me: They do? I didn’t hear them say anything about her when we were there.
Primo: Maybe they thought it was too personal to mention in front of someone they had just met?
Me: Definitely. It was pretty clear they were holding back out of a sense of propriety. They crossed no boundaries at all. If only they would say what they really think. They were so – so – superficial. I have no idea what they think about anything. They were Sphinx-like, really. I bet they are great poker players.
Primo: And my dad thinks I should have gotten a PhD or at least a master’s degree. I did start a master’s, but I hated it and dropped out. They are still ticked off about that.
Me: But you have supported yourself – and other people – since college. You haven’t asked them for money, have you?
Primo: No! Ted and Jack have, but I never have. But my dad thinks that because I do not have an advanced degree, I am not doing it right.
Me: It seems like not much makes them happy.
Primo: Nope. I was not happy with how they treated you. When we got back, I told them that.
Me: You did?
Primo: Of course I did! I said I had hoped they would be more welcoming.
Me: What did they say to that?
Primo: My mom emailed me.
Me: Let me see.
I'm sorry . . . that you noticed the chill in my last message. Sometimes I get the feeling that your dad and I have gotten placed rather low on the totem pole of your priorities. I promise to open my mind and heart to your girlfriend and look for areas of mutual interest. Neither dad nor I recall any instances when we were rude or unwelcoming to Goldie.
If you have any examples of our behaviors that were offensive, PLEASE tell us. I simply wasn't yet comfortable in giving her hugs, and we saw her as, frankly, rudely detached, spending time in the living room on your computer, with us sitting there, and both of you putting your heads privately together, even though we were present, and whispering, much the way you and [ex-wife] used to do, as if you were enjoying some private joke that we weren't supposed to know about.
Me: Well OK. I wondered if they might have decided they liked me after all but I guess they didn’t.
 The bottom of the totem pole is the best place to be. If only Primo had written back with that information.
 Well they wouldn’t, would they?
 In their defense, I did not want to hug them, either.
 While they were reading the paper or doing crossword puzzles or otherwise showing no interest in me whatsoever
 In the one and only visit [ex-wife] made to Sly and Doris’ – after that, she refused to have anything to do with them. I am in solidarity with you, my sister.