Monday, August 9, 2010

I'll Tell You About My Father

An Evening with my Father

Yesterday, I had plans to see my father. I was to meet him, his wife, my stepsister, and my sister somewhere in the Seattle area.
They were vague plans, but he did let me know that he'd appreciate it if I got off early.
Well, because of a night of insomnia, I didn't get in early, and knew I wouldn't be getting off early.
For a normal father, this would be no big deal. But..
I received two, separate phone calls, on separate phones informing me that he had heard from my little sister that I would be late – and he was pissed.
It's not like it would be that big of a deal. It's not like I wouldn't be able to meet them at a restaurant only a half hour later. Well, I called him back and let his wife know that I would be late.
Well, because of traffic being a breeze, I was able to get home around 6.15. This would have been only 15 minutes late. No big deal.
Well, they weren't ready anyway, so his angry phone calls were for shit.

Like I said, I didn't get any sleep the night before, so I wasn't really in the mood for anything, much less my dad.
I did some round about cleaning and got a six-pack for anyone (my dad) who would want a beer.
A knock on the door later, and enter my dad – in rare form.
It's not that he was hamskied, it was more a case of some sort of chemical imbalance that lets loose when he has a beer. Trust me I'm blood; I know the feeling. But, I don't want to be the helpless, innocent around it.
The first thing to consider in this situation is that the old man tends to act plain, straight up batshit. Everything is an exclamation. "Son! How the hell are ya!"
Good lord, I thought.
Soon, he was remarking about nearly everything in the apartment and making a general ass out of himself. I feel for my friends - that they have to see me act this way, when I get like this.
It's like watching Jack Nicholson overact – it's entertaining, but if you're related to it, it's fucking obnoxious.
After making sure that every fixture, wall, painting, tabletop, etc. was sufficiently made fun of, we decided to go across the street for a beer.
This is after a long bit of me explaining that the food is not great across the street. See, my sister, stepmother and stepsister were hungry and wanted to get food, so I explained that the food was small fare and not very good.
This is at the Great Nabob, where everything is cooked on a Foreman grill. It's not that the place sucks; it's actually one of the coolest bars around. But, the food consists of:
Quesadillas – Not terrible, but like eating old tortillas with cheese. Like you could make yourself.
Edemane – I probably didn't even spell it right, but it's like soybeans or something. I've never tried it, but a soybean is a soybean, is a....
Hummus – I'm not fucking joking – I love hummus, but the stuff here tastes like chlorine. I have no idea how you could make hummus taste like chlorine without mixing in chlorine, but...
Pannini – Much like the quesadilla, it's descent, but tastes like it was made in five minutes at someone's home after smoking a bunch of dope and not having anything but cheese and bread around.
The other bad factors about the Nabob are that there's no smoking and no Budweiser. Yes, I'm a loser who drinks domestic. It goes down smooth, and gets you where you want to go. The other choices are all the nine-dollar brews, then Pabst, Miller Lite, and Miller High Life.
I always settle with the Pabst. Miller tastes like wine.
And, last of all – no smizoking. Dizamn.
But, the place is super-trendy-cool inside and there's free pool.
Now, as far as my dad going in there, it simply came down to this: I go there quite a bit. I mean, it's across the street for Christsakes. So, knowing the bartenders a bit, I didn't want my dad to go in there and make it law that I couldn't return if their business depended on it.
Now, being as stupid as I wanna be, I decided the best way to defuse this situation would be to tell the truth: "Well, I don't know, the food over there isn't really that good. I know everyone wants to eat."
Now, this was stupid for two reasons:

1. If I tell my dad I don't want to do something, he'll then REALLY want to do it.
2. Now, I've got the very good chance that my dad will go there and mention to the bartenders that I think their food sucks.

So, I fucked myself over.
Now, dad's all over me to go to that bar. "C'mon, I want to go over there! Why don't you want to go! Is there a reason you don't want me to go over there?!"
I explain that the reason is the food and the fact that he'll probably embarrass me at a neighborhood bar.
"No, what's the reason? Why don't you want me to go over there?"
See, this brings up something I've suspected for awhile:

1. I think my dad thinks I'm gay.
2. I think my dad thinks I'm a heavy drug user.

Now, neither statements are true, regardless of fictitious drug use in this blog, and same sex sex with a stem cell in one of the previous posts. But, it's been awhile since I've had a steady girlfriend and I'm pretty fucking deranged to begin with...well, I guess I did go through a year of drug experimentation, but that was...two years ago....

So, now I'm just irritated.
I explain to dad that I have no problem going over there, and reiterate that the food sucks and he better not make an ass of me.
Then he brings up the time that he yelled, upon entering my apartment complex, after I had signed an anti-discrimination policy, "It smells like fags in here!"
My dad isn't a racist or homophobe. Just take my word on this.
What my dad is is simply this: a jackass.
He doesn't hate or look down on homosexuals. No, my dad just likes to say whatever is the most shocking an asinine in the most awkward of moments.
So, now my dad brings up "Why? You think I'm going to embarrass you in front of the village people?" So, now, it's not that I'm hiding something, it's that I'm a jerk and I just assume he's going to act like a jackass.
Basically, the whole thing is fucked. I finish my beer and say "Let's go."

Outside, I ask if we're going to take a car – therefore, flanking dad out of walking across the street.
"No, no, we're going across the street for a beer!"
"Bob, he says the food's bad, let's just go where he wants." This is my stepmother, who, god bless her, I don't know how she puts up with this day-to-day.
So, we end up in the bar and I'm waiting for my dad to:

1. Tell the bartender I think the food sucks.
2. Use the word fag, and defend himself with "free speech"
3. Get into a fight for reasons I can't even fathom.

Luckily, the bar scene goes smoothly. Well, except the part where he would zone out anytime anyone else was talking or cut them off into his own story, question, postulation.
Soon, he's talking about buying a condo out here for the "neighborhood atmosphere" and I'm imagining picking his drunk and bloodied body out of some bar fight at the Five Point.

After a beer, we take off without incident. Everyone is ignoring the old man, as he's only prone to converse about random observations that aren't for anything but attention.
Now, with a drinker, you have to understand, and especially the drinker who craves attention, if they don't get the attention they want, they turn angry.
So, now I'm talking to my dad about god knows what to ease his self esteem and wondering what will be next.
Well, next was the very audible "Isn't that the Lesbian bar?"
This is a bar that he swears his friends saw more than one lesbian couple in, so now it's a lesbian bar.
It's fucking McMennimans.
I try to tell him that gay bars are rarely chain Irish pubs, but he begs to differ.
All of this in earshot of anyone passing by.
I think what brings this on is his thinking that Seattle, and especially certain parts, are lifestyle freedom type places...i don't know how else to put it: gay towns.
Pretty much any part of the city that looks clean and descent is probably gay to him.
Now, with this in mind, he feels that that's what will be the running joke: whatever is different about it.
If we were in Leavenworth, I'm sure he'd be making Nazi jokes left and right: anything that's totally inappropriate and guaranteed to bring attention.
We make it to Jabu's (and I hold my breathe waiting for the name of the bar to result in an ethnic slur of a different color) and everything is fine.
Except the music.
Apparently, the music is too loud for the old man.
It's loud, but nothing you wouldn't expect in a sports bar. The waitress takes our orders and dad orders "A pitcher of Bud Light and turn the music down, damn!"
Everyone at the table scolds the old bastard, but he keeps it up as she's walking away. Joke after joke about the music comes peeling out of the old man's face.
His last one is when she takes the dinner order and he orders "A double cheeseburger and a side of the music down."
If it wasn't for how apologetic the rest of us looked, I'm positive the waitress would have 86'd him or told him to fuck off.
Well, that's it. Not really as eventful as it felt. Maybe that's a sign of bad writing. But, it's hard for me to put into words the annoyance of a man who acts like your normal gang of immature friends, but he happens to be your father.
But, it's not just that. With the old man, it's he acts that way, and at the same time you know if you really call him on it, and you're not joking around, he'll lose his tits and tear you a new one.
Look, it would suck to have most of my friend's fathers: starched bags of shit who sit in front of TVs and wear Haggar slacks and buy time shares and give pens as gift and talk about everything vaguely get me.
Aarron Neville

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