I hate New York City.
I have friends who live there, and I love you guys! But this would be why I don't visit. I hate New York City. SO MUCH. It reeks of decomposing flesh and rotting garbage. I lost weight last time I was there because the smell nauseated me to the point where I could not eat. New York City is the Bog of Eternal Stench.
Also it is too big and too crowded and noisy and you can't get anywhere unless you have a PhD in the MTA or a few hundred bucks to drop on taxis.
I have been to NYC twice in my adult life, and that is two times too many. It is my least favorite place in America, and baby, I have done time in Southern Utah.
So when I tell you that all of my parents' plans for returning Elayna from Israel are predicated upon their assumption that I would be thrilled to spend a long holiday weekend in NYC, you can understand how that is pretty goddamn illogical. Especially as I spent a great deal of my last NYC trip on the phone to my mother telling her how goddamn miserable I was to be there, and if I am calling my mother to relieve my misery, you know that is some hardcore misery.
Let's back up.
So my parents decided they were taking Elayna to Israel. I had to change her summer plans for this to happen, switch her Explo sessions, but okay, I made it happen, because this is a good opportunity for her. I have to take off work early on Wednesday to get her to the airport, but again, I'm okay with that.
So the return.
My parents brought up the idea of us vacationing in NYC and picking Elayna up in Newark on Monday (later revised to Sunday). We were like "...yeah, that's not going to happen." So Dad said okay, we could take the train down. I said okay, and set about trying to find a way to avoid taking the train down. Because eight hours on a train punctuated by a mad dash through an airport is not really my idea of a good time. I asked some road-trip buddies if they'd be up to an adventure, but no dice.
While the attempts to find a ride are going on, I notice that the flight info Dad sent was theirs, not Elayna's, so I e-mail him to that effect. He e-mails me back what he claims is her confirmation number - it's not. I think it's the number his travel agency uses. But that does not get me her boarding pass. I ask again, he sends me two more numbers, neither of which work. He texts me a number today; that works. I log in - and see that she has a return flight. I e-mail the itinerary to myself, Adam, and Elayna; tonight at dinner, I mention to Adam that there's a return flight, so yay, I don't need to go to Newark.
Adam says "No, that flight leaves before they get back from Israel. He just bought it because round-trip is $150 cheaper."
I say "...I am going to call my mother now."
I call. We are all confused. Some of us are more argumentative than others. It comes out that
a) One-way train tickets are $100, so it would cost us $300-$500 to pick her up, depending on if we both came
b) The train wouldn't get in til an hour after their plane back to FLL leaves, so they'd be leaving her alone anyway
c) Their cited reasons for not wanting her on that plane = the alone thing (she'd be on her own for 45 minutes! the horror!) and that it is a puddle-jumper. $@^#$& She is fifteen she can manage her life without supervision for 45 minutes and I do not give a shit that it is a puddle-jumper and neither does she, and you are flying my daughter to a country that is firing on international aid flotillas and has suicide bombings AND YOUR CONCERN IS THE COMMUTER FLIGHT FROM NEWARK TO BOSTON WTF. THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND LIFE.
FLAMES. ON THE SIDES OF MY FACE.
They thought this would not be a Thing. Because of course we would just jaunt on over to NYC for a holiday. Despite the fact that we told them that wasn't going to happen. (And yes, this is another example of my parents rejecting our reality and substituting their own.)
Let me explain to you why, besides my clearly-stated dislike of NYC, that was never ever going to happen.
1. Adam is an introvert and doesn't want to go anywhere anyway.
2. I hate being an imposition; one person on a couch is not too much of an imposition, but a whole family is.
3. We do not have money for this.
3a. Do you have any idea how much it costs to feed a celiac on vacation?
3b. Do you have any idea how hard it is to feed a celiac on vacation? I only almost lost my shit and came close to tears of hunger and frustration twice in Madison, and I count that as a major victory. I get like that here in Boston, too, and I know where to eat most places in Boston. But every so often I am someplace where no restaurant around can feed me and I am hungry and frustrated and doubly frustrated because I'm making everyone else's lives difficult. A weekend in NYC would be an entire weekend of that, compounded by the fact that I don't know where anything is. Figuring out how to get to a place I've never been by bus in under three hours with all of the yelling and shoving is not a vacation to me, it is enormously stressful. I would do a lot to avoid ever having to do that.
3ba. The way to get around the bus navigation issue is by cabs, and have I mentioned we're broke?
This whole argument spins out into fractal arguments. When I bring up the money, Dad mentions that he just sent me a check; I said "yes, to buy the stuff she needs for Israel and camp. which is what I spent it on."
I had to recap that for Mom, and mentioned that we'd actually gotten her to buy five pairs of shorts. To which Mom said "she needs a pair for each day; she needs 11 pairs."
Me: "...she can wear skirts. She prefers skirts. It's kind of a miracle that we got her to agree to five pairs of shorts."
Mom: "She can't wear skirts. We're touring."
Mom: "We'll be climbing."
Me: "Really. You. Will be climbing."
Me: "....she can climb STAIRS in a SKIRT. You know she does that every day, right?"
I just - yeah.
So tons of fractal aguments, and I am just fully-clenched angry. Because I just wanted some simple plans. And because when you say "We're taking her to Israel" and don't follow that with "And you'll need to spend a month's salary on hotel and food and train to get her back", I ASSUME YOU'RE FUCKING RETURNING HER.
Why I continue to assume these things from my parents I do not know.
So that's what's going on THERE.
The current offer on the table is for them to pay for one of us to take the train down and stay at the Newark airport hotel overnight and take her back the next day. I told them I'd discuss it with Adam and get back to them in the morning. Because I just cannot talk to them any more right now.
And now Dad says it's urgent. Because the weeks I spent trying to get info from them so I could get an affordable train ticket - it wasn't important then. Now it is vitally important.