Monday, February 5, 2007


The other night I could not sleep, I was up, and hyper, and my mind was racing. I was thinking a lot, about a lot. For some reason, I was thinking about an incident with my Dad a few months before he died. We had for a few years had issues with him driving. The prior summer, we had him tested, and he was given the green light to continue driving. Apparently, it was the professional opinion of the evaluators that he was just fucking with us, when he pretended to lose control of the car. He was instructed to cease and desist with the fucking with us, and sent on his merry way. However, after he started chemotherapy in the spring of 2004, he began experiencing incidents of syncope, which is a medical term for, "yup, you sure did pass out, but we don’t know exactly why the fuck ya did." Because this happened suddenly, with no warning, he was no longer allowed to drive, as the likelihood of consciousness is a requirement for driving. When my parents were so sick, and after they had died, I realized a lot of things about myself. This incident with my Dad made realize that until then, I was still afraid of my father, and that I was a lot stronger and braver then I ever imagined myself to be.

Both of my parents were understandably upset at not being able to go where they wanted when they wanted. It just was not possible for me to do all they wanted when they wanted. It was quite late in the evening, my Dad wanted to go out and get something to eat, but my Mom was in some distress, and I could not take him. While I was getting my Mom settled, my Dad snuck off in his pickup truck to get a sandwich. This upset me a lot, since he just had to wait until I could take him. While I understood he was seriously ill, and things did not look good, and he just sometimes wanted to just do something, I felt it was hideously thoughtless and arrogant of him to disregard the financial welfare of my mother as well of the lives and property of anyone he might hurt or kill if he passed out driving. So, I went to go get him. Before I went in the sandwich shop, I snuck up to the truck and took the keys. When I went inside, he yelled at me, and told me I was bossy, and to mind my own fucking business, he was getting a fucking sandwich, and that was that. Then he was going to drive himself to the beach, and hang out there and eat his sandwich, then he was going to go get some coffee, and come home when he damn well pleased, and if I did not like it I could go piss up a rope.

I explained that I understood he wanted to just go the hell outside and do something, but that in the event he had a terrible car accident and lived, he would be heart broken to have hurt anyone else he might hit or kill, or upset anyone else by damaging their property. He turned to the boy working at the sandwich shop, who looked utterly terrified, and continued to order his sandwich, and then told me to fuck off. Well, Mr. Sunshine did not count on my ninja car key stealing skills. I went home and got my sister, and told her she was coming with me to drive the pickup home. So we went back, and I left my sister and the keys outside and told her to start it, and go home. I then went inside and told my Dad I was going to drive him home when he was ready. At this point he realized his truck was moving, and started for the door. I told him it was my sister, and he was coming with me or he was walking. He grabbed his sandwich and drink, and started to walk. Ok, it was funny, a pissed off fat sick old dude with gout and lung cancer can’t really move too fast. So, I hopped in my car and pulled up beside him. He refused to acknowledge me, but I kept talking to him. Telling him I was going to follow him because Mommy would be really pissed if he keeled over and nobody was there to call 911.

When I said this, he came up to my side of the car, and I rolled down the window, just an inch. By the way, I really love to do this to police officers as well, but for different reasons. I was terrified. I was absolutely certain he was going to smash in the window, and punch me in the face. I would tell by how he looked at me that he knew this was what I was thinking. I could also tell he was surprised, and that he could tell I was not there to fuck around at the same time. I told him I understood that it sucked to be sick, and it sucked not to be able to go where you want when you want, but that it is not fair to go out in the world and drive when you know you’re a danger to yourself and others. He said; "I understand how you feel too. This is a lot to deal with, for me and Mom to be so sick. To deal with your sisters, to work, and go to school, and try to keep all these balls in the air. I don’t know how you do it, and I don’t know how we would ever manage without you." Then he walked around and got in the car. We went home, and I got him settled in with his snack, and collected the keys from my sister. Then I went to go see my Mom. I told her more about what was going on since my sister had been in there bumping her gums already. I told her I think my Dad finally understands we are not out to get him. I also told her I was not sure if my Dad had become less abusive in general, and had stopped hitting people because he had mellowed out or if he was just afraid we might just have had enough of his shit and might kick his ass back. My Mom said’ Both."

I feel sad about my Dad a lot. I talked to my Mom and to him too about it a lot. It seemed like my Dad never had a happy time. It seems like most people have some happy thing. They have a very lucrative career, or they are a nice and loving spouse, or parent, or child. Or they have rich and rewarding friendships, or they are good in school, or they have a happy childhood. Or a lot of fun in their twenties, or a rewarding retirement, or some kind of happy period in their lives. But my Dad never had a happy time. Some was not his fault. He did not make his parents drink and kick the shit out of him and each other. My Dad made a lot of mistakes, especially as a husband and a father. He had a lot of regrets in those areas, and I am sad he was not able to talk to his other kids like he was able to talk to me. I think it would have been good for us all if they had listened. It is hard for me now to see the things my siblings and I all deal with as a result of the decisions my parents made. They both did a lot of things that were just flat out wrong. There are some very ugly realities in our lives, and we all have some very ugly things we say and do. We have all made some very ugly choices. And most of all, my parents hated the part they played in all those ugly truths about their children.

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