saw my dad. he looks the same, smokes the same cigarettes he always has. has the same habits that i find a little grating. he suggested i move to lawrence, like usual.
do you ever fear that you have overtaken your parents in knowledge of the world? or maybe it’s not about them catching up, it’s that we are traveling in separate directions, carrying on with our lives in two completely different ways. we live in different worlds, me and my dad. i wish i could get by without summing it up in negative terms, but his world is narrower, his ideas about the world and his place in it stinted by the harsh reality of it. i haven’t been crushed yet i suppose. but at the same time he is more naive than i am about a lot of things.
he hasn’t seen the same things. i don’t know if it’s the world that turned me this way, or if it’s just some intrinsic quality i’ve always carried, but a lot of the things he finds innocuous, i find nauseatingly sinister. ha, things as simple as drinking and socializing with his mobs of friends at the lake, i can’t stand. the crowds, the loud music, the drunken laughter. it’s too much of everything, too many untrustworthy strangers that i don’t want anything from. too many intentions for me to gauge. too many faces to scan for threats, lol. i’m so paranoid about people. but that’s a story for another day.
my dad’s always been way more social than me, always aiming to please other people that he doesn’t really owe that kind of allegiance to. he cares about status, cares about how things look, cares way too much what the cool kids are doing. peer pressure, ha.
he was in the military in the 80’s, travelled a bit through europe. he saw neuschwanstein, went to a few great concerts. he never saw violence or abject poverty or prejudice or whatever pain the world holds.. i don’t think he thinks about it or the world like that. he assumes the world is fairly just, or simply doesn’t care.
he doesn’t believe in charity because he never receives it, and is too proud to receive it anyway. the world is so straightforward to him, i think. he is in the present. takes one day at a time. does what he can. knows his limits and doesn’t test them.
i know of my father crying twice in my life. once, when i told him i wasn’t coming to lawrence for christmas. second, when our cat stanley died. i was there for that, which i was glad to be. stanley was actually a gift to me when i was just a little kid. i loved him very much. i called him my little stalingrad. ‘stay strong, stalingrad’, i’d say. he was 17 years old when he died. that seems like so long ago. i barely ever make WWII references anymore.
me and my dad are very different people. i get on his nerves, he gets on mine.
yet i look to him occasionally for guidance and approval. the only change over the years is the expectation of receiving it. shrug oh wells, i’ll love the idiot forever.