Convincing the Parents

“Where are you staying?” My dad asked me.

“With strangers we find on the Internet,” I said, “but we are targeting women and married people,” we aren’t idiots.

“You need to stop this, your mother isn’t sleeping,” he said.

My parents have reacted in different ways since I first mentioned the trip to them.

“Mmhm, okay,” my mom said when I brought it up. I tend to get caught up in elaborate plans a lot, most of which fizzle out within a few hours or days. I went through a graduate school phase, where I even met with an admissions woman at the University of Michigan, but that only lasted a few weeks. Another five days was spent convinced I would work for Lena Dunham.

“You just don’t understand, I’m meant to work for her,” I told my sister.

“Doing what?” she asked.

“It doesn’t matter,” I said.

Then I went through a heavy move-back-to-Baltimore period, where I went so far as to apply to a job with the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, get the job, then turn it down. That lasted about a week. Which is a lot compared to the four hours of “I have to go teach at The Island School” I go through every month of so.

This bike trip, though, felt different. When I think about my life usually, everything is hypothetical and up for debate. Each morning I wake up and think, I guess I’ll go to work today, as if it’s optional. Every thought I have always has clouds around it, like my entire life is just a preview for a movie that will start in years to come. This trip, however, felt real right away. It has a beginning, middle, and end. Granted, the details aren’t hashed out yet, but figuring them out is tangible and fun. When it comes to working at The Island School—the study abroad program I attended during high school—I have no clue what I’ll teach, when I’ll go, or how I’ll get there. When I told my parents about biking to California, though, I had already mapped out the basic plan with Kloe.

I knew they understood how serious we were when my mom looked at the route without my prompting.

“I was looking at the map you sent me the other day,” she said.

And then it hit me. She believed me. I had believed myself since the beginning, but it felt so much more real once my mom started talking about it.

I still think that my mom looses sleep over the idea of Kloe and I out in the world alone, but she is a mom so she’ll loose sleep any night I’m not home with her watching reruns of Seinfeld and eating ice cream. It’s my job to keep her on her toes, after all, so if I don’t go on an adventure I’m really just doing a disservice to society.


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