You see, when I was in LA, I talked with my parents at least every two days for some half an hour or so each time. Now I’m home and living with them under the same roof in two separate bedrooms, I go on for hours without having to engage in a single conversation with them.
I’ve only been back for less than three weeks thus far. And two things have happened. One, we have gotten so used to one another that we are practically strangers. And two, we haven’t been engaged in any serious conversations which doesn’t end with me grabbing my cuppa tea and retrieving into my bedroom.
I’ve got friends in Shanghai who scream how much they miss me when I was in the US. Since now I’ve been back, I haven’t yet got on the phone yet. Well, I’ve been sick for two-thirds of the time since I’ve been back. But I don’t see how it’s going to change now I’ve got my voice back. Shh, don’t let them know that I’m well. I just can’t deal with the sudden welcome invitations that are weeks overdue.
Or think this: I’ve been texting and FaceTiming friends back in LA since I got back and we figured out the overlapped waking time we’ve shared. Well, that’s something, right?
But distance, as I’ve discovered lately, is quite a con artist.
My parents aren’t gonna be thrilled about this but I’m trying to be frank here: I just find them more interesting when they are confined in that little frame of my phone.
Just like I don’t feel the least bit of urge to visit all my cousins after missing them for four Chinese New Year’s eve dinners and other excuses for relatives to be eating at the same table. I don’t even know how tall or pretty my nieces and nephews have grown. Honestly, I don’t give a shit except for this: those little schmucks are robbing my lunch money and call it their red pockets for the next decade or so. It’s legal because it’s part of the Chinese culture that we still feel like keeping.
Or my aging uncles and aunties who are going to ask me the same old question: “why are you still single when all your cousins are either married or about to.” Now do you realize why I won’t feel a thing if I hear that you get some weird diseases? Okay, that’s mean. But you get the idea.
To my parents’ credit, they never nag me about being single, not getting married or other things down in the pipeline like me having a baby or freeze my eggs just in case. But, I can’t stop them from thinking these troubling big life events of their daughter who is now officially behind the curve. If they do, they never discuss it in front of me. That’s enough to give them Best Parents of the Century Award.
To make it even more difficult for them is that, all I do these days is walking around my polka dot PJ and sit in front of my computer when I’m not coughing my head off.
“I thought you were in Hollywood.”
“Sorry, Ma. I assure you that JK Rowling does the same thing and look where she is now.”
I guess that was why I held my chopsticks to the furthest when I heard an aunt say “the further you hold your chopsticks, the farther you would travel, kiddo.” But then, little did I know that distance is also the ultimate photoshop.
Yeah, Shanghai pals, how you like me now?
PS. I’ve decided to stop the medication the doctor prescribed me after wasting another day today feeling drowsy and heavy even though I clocked in 15 hours of sleep and naps.