Oct. 22, 2021

caught in a roguelike

Conversations with Dad are like a roguelike. They’re procedurally generated, so you get a different map every time, but set pieces are programmed to show up—the life insurance policy, the credit cards, the Fidelity fund managers, the fact that he was working so hard on 9/11 he didn’t know what had happened until evening.

Last weekend, Jem came to visit, and we went to Arby’s to get lunch. On the way there, Dad launched into his credit card speech yet again. I texted HGR:

me: omg dad is giving the speech about his credit cards again

HGR: Lolll

HGR: each of my 15 mozzarella sticks gives me up to 10000 mm of delicious mozzarella cheese

HGR: and I only use the sam’s club mozzarella stick for Sam’s club

Jem didn’t seem to mind. He hasn’t been here in months, and Dad may not have given the speech the last time he was here, so he might not have heard it in many months.

One of the more unfortunate things about this situation is that I’ve been at my parents’ house long enough for all the conversations to loop. Normally I only stop by a few times a year and wouldn’t notice, like a casual player for whom all the set pieces seem new and interesting (well, maybe not interesting, but at least novel). By now, most conversations seem grating. A long time ago, I read an advice article that said “No matter how good your relationship with your parents is, it will get many times better once you move out”—well, the opposite is apparently true too.

Written by Achaius

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