obsessWe all inherit characteristics from our parents, both physical and personal. Some people get hairy knuckles, others get chunky thighs. In terms of personal characteristics, you get your parents’ tendencies just as you get their double chin or their unibrow.

When you realize this, you may be thrilled, indifferent or destroyed. But at some point you realize that you are exactly like your parents. And because that exact moment happens in almost everyone’s life, bar owners drive Porsches and psychologists send their kids to private schools.

I have inherited some redeeming qualities and habits from my parents. I love reading and being creative. I put a lot of stock in honesty and integrity. I try to treat others with respect. And I would climb over a nun to get to a good pizza.



Yes, as usual, there’s a but.

But now that I have been visiting home for a few weeks, I don’t see the pleasant traits as much as I see the ones that drive me a little crazy. And I watch it all happen in a state of recognition horror.

My family’s grandest talent is the ability to obsess. We visited family friends last night and the route we would normally take was knocked out by construction, so we were forced to take a detour. This need for a detour was mentioned three days before the visit and my family talked about which route we would take. For three days. Our friends’ house is 4 miles from our current house. There are two alternate routes and for three days we talked about which route we would take. We could hit traffic going on Brownsville. Going up Bristol is dangerous when it’s too dark. This way has so many lights.

We obsess about everything. Something gets in our head and we can’t let it go until it’s resolved. This might be seen in our interactions with each other and those around us.

Family Member A: “So, are you having a nice birthday?”

Family Member B: “Listen. Tomorrow, make sure you bring in the trash cans.”

Family Member A: “Uh. OK. Happy birthday.”

Family Member B: “Oh, and the recycling, too.”

Fitting with this obsessive behavior is our ability to plan. And not just plan, but to plan and to tell everyone around us the plan that we have been planning. No hostess has ever been spared the full details of our dinner plans. Someone is joining us, we’re just going to get a drink and wait for them. Then we’ll get some appetizers. And then we were thinking of having the linguine.

At the moment, it’s a trip to the beach. The whole family is going down the shore, but at different times and different beaches. Every meeting between my dad and me in the last week has centered on some aspect related to the beach. What we’re going to pack – we both considered two pairs of shorts, one pair of pants, and a bathing suit. This was downgraded in our last meeting to one bathing suit and one pair of shorts and pants each. Which day we are going to have the famous buffet at the casino – in preliminary discussions it looked as if it was going to be Wednesday night, but has been shifted over to Thursday. On the same day we’ll have a diner breakfast and swim in the casino’s pool. We want red cocktails. I am happy to report that this plan was okayed and signed off on last night.

Friday night we are getting room service.

The best part about our plans is that they almost never stick. In the words of one of my former roommates. “I love that the Galeone modus operandi is to plan plan plan plan plan plan plan and then wing it.”

Of course, there is far more joy in planning than in following through with that plan.

One of our other great talents is the super ability to work death into any – and I mean any – conversation. And not just death, but tragic, rip your heart out, Lifetime Channel death.

Gee, these are nice menus.

I had a friend from college who used to make menus. His family was killed in a collision with a train filled with orphans. Yeah, these are nice menus. The orphans were also killed.

Now, if you think that I am throwing my family under the bus here, I’d like to add that I have been analyzing the buffet’s busiest traffic times in order to maximize our eating experience. I have written two packing lists for a day trip that will be about 20 hours long. And I have turned around twenty minutes into a forty minute commute to check that my toaster was turned off. And the first thing I read every morning is Wikipedia’s recent deaths page.

In case you were wondering, we took Brownsville. Fourteen minutes.


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