The kids ask me if I feel old and decrepit giggling about how their dad is almost old enough to be called a senior citizen.
“What do you plan on doing for your birthday? Are you going out with friends?”
“Beats me, I don’t really have that many friends here and I don’t know if the guys are coming out or not.”
“Don’t worry about it old man, you won’t remember what happens. That is what life is like for old guys.”
I turn and smile, “baby girl, you can’t imagine how much I remember. Promises made, promises broken. Dreams that will never be and dreams that could be. When you get to be my age you’ll be able to ask and answer whether you are a chapter or a book in a life story.”
She scrunches up her face and says that is creepy and I smile.
“Dear old dad is 35 years-older than you are and I lived a life long before you showed up.”
I chuckle and remind her that she is a rookie at trying to press buttons. One day I may tell her that her grandfather said her future boyfriends might do better to let me beat them up than to let her tear into them.
There are no sweeter girls than her, but she definitely has her edge too. I appreciate it not just because I am her father but because I have it too.
You’re A Monkey Playing Guitar
Someone asks me questions about words I have written and what my intention is and I mull over a response. I can be blunt and say exactly what I am thinking and what I anticipate but I am not sure how that will go over.
Might be considered scary. Might be considered truth. Might be something in between.
Since I am too tired to fight about stupidity and nonsense I don’t say much. There will be other times to have the discussion and this is best done in person.
For a moment I am tempted to give a ridiculous response like “you’re a monkey playing guitar” just to see how it is taken but s0mething happens and the conversation goes a 180 degrees in the opposite direction so nothing is said.
Later on I’ll look up at the moon and think about how much is left unsaid and how much is instinctively understood. My gut says there is a world 0f conversation taking place under the surface and that it doesn’t matter if anything is spelled out because of that ethereal connection.
“Brother, the train has left the station and nothing you say or do will stop it from coming. It is anyone’s guess as to what, where and when, but there is no doubt it will show up.”
“Dad, are you ok?”
“Because you look really angry.”
“Angry isn’t the correct word. It doesn’t describe what I feel.”
“I hope it is not me or anyone here.”
“What did they do?”
“They created a mess that I have to clean up and then for good measure created another. I don’t need that kind of help.”
“Do they know how you feel?
“Not yet, but he will.”
Fifteen minutes of telephone time makes it clear that a particular situation is not going to be solved as easily as I had hoped.
If it was the sole challenge I would be irritated but there are two others and none are of my own doing so my tolerance is limited and my ire increased.
“Sir, sometimes the squeaky wheel gets better results because they want it/him to go away. Maybe you should consider that.”
“Tom, I am the squeaky wheel but I don’t want to to be. I shouldn’t have to be. I don’t pay for services that ask me to get what I pay for by being loud.
But if I am forced to do so my inclination is to go big. I have the time and the energy to do it and I will hit multiple levels to make sure things happens.
Is there any way we can avoid this deteriorating into nonsense?”
He laughs and says he appreciates my making him chuckle.
“Mr. Wilner I really appreciate you. You’re very detailed and you’re funny.”
He adds a comment and answers a question by suggesting that technology has made the question obsolete.
“Tom, are you familiar with the term ‘unleash the kraken’ or is that too archaic for you.”
Tom sputters and mutters something about not being sure.
“I’ll copy you on the email I am sending to Kathy and Jim.”
“Uh, Mr. Wilner, Jim is Kathy’s boss.”
“Yeah Tom, and you report to Kathy. I am the squeaky wheel.”
He is not laughing any more and finally recognizing I haven’t been insouciant, indirect or playing.
“You’re solicitousness is nice, but too late. I am done. Goodbye.”
Tom sputters something but I don’t listen. I am done.
“Dad, you really are angry.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because you didn’t yell. You growled. You only do that when you are really pissed off.”
The response is limited to “I’ll handle it” and is followed by a grunt and a face.
“Tell me what is going on.”
“People who talk over me aren’t interested in what I have to say and I am not interested in sharing it. It is my job to handle it and I’ll do so.”
“You don’t have to do it on your own.”
“I have been for a long time. Why bother changing. Life isn’t fair and I won’t waste time begging it to be.”
The conversation ends and I take a moment to consider the best course of action. Things are not as clear cut as I might want them to be so instead of a yes or no decision I am in Monty Hall state of mind.
Got three doors to choose from and no way to figure out which is best or even which is worst. Might as well ask The Magic 8 Ball for help because it is as likely as anything else to provide guidance.
Dad’s face looks at me from the computer and I smile at him.
“Ok old man, got a situation here and I need your best advice. I’ll ignore what you say and do whatever I want to anyway, but tell me what you think.”
Less than a year ago that would have gotten a particular response, all depending upon dad’s mood. I would gladly have him yell at me about not wasting his time or growl about my being a pain-in-the-ass but that is not happening.
Guess it is all me again, not that it hasn’t been like that for forever, but…