First read this related post.
Suddenly we were on the bridge to Brooklyn. The Manhattan Bridge this time, not the Williamsburg. I laughed.
“Don’t laugh. This isn’t funny!” Mom said.
I kept laughing. What else are you supposed to do when a Chinese New Year parade and dozens of NYC traffic cops thwart your Little Italy lunch plans and Canal Street spits you onto the bridge to downtown Brooklyn without any choice?
Just thirty minutes earlier, everything was fine. Great really. Mom came in from Scranton for a post-birthday (hers, not mine) visit. I had a present waiting for her at my apartment in Williamsburg. We planned to drive there after shopping and lunch at Pellegrino’s.
We shopped at Lord & Taylor. I found a dress that might be fun for my friend Candace‘s wedding in Jamaica. We got Mom’s car out of the lot ($26 for two hours, and that’s the Weekend Special) and headed downtown.
And sat in spectacular traffic once we passed Bleecker Street.
“I’m never doing this again,” Mom said about driving downtown, and agreeing to drive to Brooklyn for her birthday gift. But she has said that many times during my life about things she has absolutely done again so I laughed some more.
Each summer, my parents and I would drive eight-ish hours south to Nags Head, NC. Once, when I was a seven or eight years old, we arrived the Cabana East Motel only to find that our reservation was actually for the next day. No rooms were available.
Dad, not the adaptable sort, was furious at Mom who, although she might have gotten a date wrong, also did all of the heavy lifting for planning our vacations with no offers of help from Dad. Even though we were able to get a room for the night at the Beacon next door, I don’t think my parents exchanged a civil word for 24-48 hours.
I wished we could all just be happy about the extra day at the beach.
When we found ourselves on the Manhattan Bridge, I turned to Mom (who was getting progressively more hangry thanks to my laughter) and said “why don’t we eat in Williamsburg? You can eat food you don’t eat around Dad.”*
I felt tense during the drive up the BQE but tried to hide it with chatter. We parked near the restaurant and then walked down the middle of the street to avoid the ice-covered sidewalks. The ice was another strike against Brooklyn in my mother’s eyes.
Miraculously, she stepped across the restaurant threshold and expressed her approval.
We went to Mesa Coyoacan for Mexican food. Tamarind margarita for her, michelada for me. We gorged on tortilla soup and esquites and guacamole and tacos. When we were done with that, I surprised her with churros con chocolate y caramel with a birthday candle. She no longer seemed mad at me for laughing.
Guess what? Mom loved my black nail polish. She proclaimed my hair too “gold.” I’m keeping it though.
*Between his health concerns and narrow idea of what constitutes Good Food. (In my dad’s opinion, every cuisine that isn’t American or Italian might serve him cat for an entrée. Don’t ask. I have given up.)