"I'll just hang my PhD next to Black Sabbath."
Seems I'm not the only late-20-something moving back in with parents. Most of them have reasons more logical than mine - redundancy, or a bad divorce, or cancer- but it's happening. It's a thing. More 28-year olds than ever are moving back home. As always, I'm at the cusp of something borrowed, something new. So contemporary and with it, me.
In other news, my parents still don't know I've moved back in. I suspect they suspect that something's afoot -I should never have bought that bedside lamp- but I think they think I'm just gathering up enough courage to make some sort of life-changing Announcement, and then leave.
I first got this impression when I overheard Dad's side of a phone conversation with Uncle Psy. They almost always compare notes on their offspring, because you know how women in prison supposedly synchronize their menstrual cycles? Well, Uncle Psy's boy and I almost always get in trouble at the same time. It's a thing.
We always outdo each other too. He gets caught with porn, I get caught with pot. He flunks a year, I crash a car. He joins a Satanic church, I quit my job and move back in with my parents at the grand old age of 28. So Uncle Psy is now justifiably worried if my showing up at home after seven long years spells some sort of repercussion at his end.
Uncle Psy isn't thrilled about the Church of St. Ronnie Dio.
"He just sits around," says Dad into the phone.
"Yesterday, I was reading the paper and he came down and sat across from me for two hours. No, didn't say anything."
"I'm telling you, he just sits. When I look at him, he smiles this dopey smile. Even attempts conversation."
"Oh, who knows? Probably wants some money or something. Yeah, call the terrible twin, he'll know."
Then, there was this little vignette from Mom, on the phone to my sister: "I don't know, honey. Honest. We don't think it's drugs or anything, he's way too lucid to be on anything serious. Your father thinks it might be a ... you know ... sexual ... thing." (That's when my jaw dropped and shattered on the floor. Luckily, that doesn't make as much noise as you'd think.)
I didn't stay to hear the rest of that conversation. It was clear what I had to: Man up, and allay my parents' fears. I would have to lie. I've decided to make a Big Announcement, it's just the kind of thing my family would do. We actually have a code of conduct too: if any of us is suspected of carrying an announcement-baby, everybody shuts the hell up and makes nice and gives him/her all the time and convenience in the world.
They once waited seven days for me to announce that I had indeed failed to wean my goldfish off water. Poor Goldie's earthly remains waited three days in my drawer for a respectful burial, before they were carted away by a team of rowdy red ants. Watching their unholy procession over my chair and across the floor to their lair under my bed, I cried my hear out. But I couldn't tell my family yet, I wasn't ready. And they respect that where I come from.
My mom nearly cracked on the fifth day. She handed me Goldie's daily ration of fish food pellets, and seeing something broken in my face, lunged forward to fix me. She was about to burst, tell me it was over, that they knew, that I could mourn in peace. But Dad salvaged status quo, rushing to her rescue. "Here, let me get that for you buddy," he said and calmly took Mom in his hands. My sister started a slow clap, quickly joined in by Grammy. It was family drama gold.
All of which leads me to conclude I better be gay or terminally ill. After supporting me through addiction and depression and -most traumatically- an emo phase, no other announcement will be quite Big enough. I'm tempted to go with the man-love because Dad will probably want to see medical reports if I claim illness. But Uncle Psy's boy points out the danger of Dad calling my bluff - he may want proof that I'm gay.
Knowing my family, I may well end up playing out the charade of bringing home my 'boyfriend', pretending to be madly in love, never taking my eyes off Dad, both of us waiting for the other to blink. I'll have to cuddle with a man on my childhood couch, or fly a spoon-aeroplane loaded with Mom's apple custard pie into his mouth just to fool my Dad into thinking I'm gay. *Shudder*
Dad will no doubt raise the stakes, ask to meet the poor man's parents. And so on and so forth till I impale myself on a strange man's cock on the living room floor, to the careful scrutiny of my Dad and rapturous applause from Grammy, all just to weasel free lodging and food out of my parents. I can just imagine my Dad consulting some sort of manual to make sure we're doing it right, and Grammy retrieving her dentures to congratulate us on a job well done.
The other option would be to saw off a toe, and announce I've caught a bout of leprosy.
Dear Twinky, I kind of have an Announcement to make....
It didn't help that Twinky was also stinky.