austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

I believe that everybody in this audience's got personality and individuality

Sunday, my mother was still in the hospital. My father, I believe, had gone up to visit her before we woke up. Before I woke up, anyway. We did a little puttering around, but thought it would be fitting to go up and see her before bunny_hugger would have to go home, the next day.

We went to the supermarket first, to pick up a couple little things, particularly a get-well card for bunny_hugger to give my mother. My mother would appreciate this, and it'd do nicely to continue her campaign of charming everyone in my family that she meets.

The drive up took a slightly different path from what we've used before, although it started with Route 9 which we use going up to Newark or Manhattan, then transferred to Route 18, which we've been on before but I doubt she'd remember. Both are roads I've travelled many, many times, but I wasn't trying to overload her with the details of my life this time. Actually, I think the most interesting conversation we got into was about why there weren't freeways, you know, limited-access highways without traffic lights, along these corridors. Ultimately I think it's just that the state got two highways-with-traffic-lights, Route 1 and Route 9, covering that stretch, and then the two toll roads, the Turnpike and Parkway, running along those lines; add in Route 105 (with traffic lights) and you're starting to run out of latitudinal breadth to put in many more major north-south-ish roads in this part of the state.

We got a fair parking spot and went up, where we found my mother while bunny_hugger was telling an anecdote about her father answering the phone in an elevator. (Well, it rang.) My mother was looking very good, and they were waiting just for a 24-hour stretch without fever before she would be discharged. Over our visit, we talked in fair detail about the dinner and everything else we'd got into the previous night, not to mention gone over my mother's theory about how the trunk could have been damaged. It was actually my brother's theory, but she took it up wholeheartedly. By the time we got up there, my father had gone already, not back home but to my brother's place, so we had my mother to ourselves.

We also completely missed my sister and her husband, unfortunately, though they had visited. My brother-in-law also tweeted about hoping our family understood hospital visits were not a competition, and further that he was getting season passes to the hospital parking deck.

After my mother had enough of company for the day, we drove over to my brother's house, a comfortable ten minutes or so away. His wife and daughter were away that weekend, unfortunately, but there was still the chance to chat with him, and after some muddled confusion we even figured to go somewhere to eat. We went to some chain restaurant nearby to a free-standing Sears which somehow still exists even though I remember when we would go to it in the late 70s for uncomfortable portraits and occasional hardware, plus it's a free-standing Sears with no mall attached, plus it's a Sears. They had a fair number of vegetarian options, too, marked with a V superscript on the menu, so things are getting easier to eat meat-free. They also, as is the modern standard, served sandwiches larger than my head, so we weren't in danger of not blowing our diets anytime soon.

My father went home separately --- I'd left my bookbag (and iPad) in my brother's home for not much reason --- and after a little bit more chatting with my brother, bunny_hugger and I went home, where her airline was threatening her with the online check-in.

Regarding our traditions --- seeing a movie, riding a carousel, visiting Seaside Heights, going to the Silverball Museum, eating at our diner --- only the first two had been accomplished, between my work obligations and the disruption of my mother's illness. Most of these we could do without, but losing the chance to share a meal at the first place where we'd ever eaten together would hurt. Unless ...

Trivia: The House With the Bronze Door, a notorious gambling house at 33 West 33rd Street in Manhattan around the turn of the 20th century, had an outer door wrought iron several inches thick hung from an iron frame; and, inside, the bronze door, ornamental, which had once been in the Doge's Palace in Venice. Source: Satan's Circus: Murer, Vice, Police Corruption, And New York's Trial of the Century, Mike Dash.

Currently Reading: 4th of July, Asbury Park: A History Of The Promised Land, Daniel Wolff. Snapshots of the city at the midpoints of different summers and awfully interesting considering.


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