Tuesday, July 31, 2012
The Swerving Car
Today is my Pop's birthday and I was thinking that I've really only ever had two or three serious conversations with him in my life, and when I say serious I mean without laughter. I'm not saying this isn't a good thing. It just means that we follow a certain pattern/script when we're together. All the important stuff, or most of it, happens in what isn't being said, it happens in the silences. Which means whatever I assume about him in a certain situation could probably just be my own imagination.
Once when he was working in Maine for a few months, I went to visit him. I had recently been dumped by the guy I had been living with for 6 years, the person I had imagined being with my whole life, and I was not in the mood for funny. All I wanted to do was talk about this guy and how much I loved him and try to find a way to make him realize he had made the biggest mistake of his life. So I got in my car and drove 11 hours by myself to go see a person who I knew in my heart of hearts would listen to every sad thing I had to say.
As it turned out he was working most days which was great because then I had the whole day to lie in the fetal position on a lawn-chair by the lake and feel grief-stricken and devastated. In between crying spells, I planned out how I was going to kill the girl my boyfriend had left me for. Should I somehow manage to tie her to the back of a truck and drag her across a rocky road, or should I just push her on to the tracks in front of a subway train. Then I'd get overwhelmed with the thought that I wouldn't be able to go through with it. And that was the worst feeling of all.
When my Dad came back at night I was usually on the phone crying to whatever friend I still had left who would listen to me moaning in agony. He'd poke his head into the room and wave. I waved back.
That was the extent of it.
On a Saturday he offered to take me to an apple farm or antique store or a corn field or whatever goddam quaint kind of place they have in Maine. We decided to go for a drive. I made the decision to not bring it up and so we were silent for a while.
What happened? he said.
I don't know.
There was probably more to it than that.
He was a nice guy.
(What the fuck?) Silence.
I liked him a lot.
(Jesus Christ!) Silence.
Then we were both silent for a bit until he made a loud sloppy fart noise.
Well that's done, he said.
I tried, I tried like a person hanging from a cliff tries to hold on, I tried not to laugh.
Pfffttttfffttt. (he did it again) Done.
Then I made a sound PPppfffttttt. Angry.
No thats "Pffft-tt??" That's confused.
We went through the defining fart sounds of about 50 words including hungry and childish, aggressive and maligned until we were both laughing so hard we were crying. Crying tears down our faces. I couldn't see and my stomach hurt from laughing so hard. My Dad was driving about 5 miles an hour.
This is the image I have of us, driving slowly in a car, swerving down the road like drunken sailors.
Happy Birthday GBL.