Hello! Welcome to another timely and punctual installment of this blog whose original purpose has long been outlived and now has a hamfisted description that forces all the other posts to somehow and abstractly relate back to moving. It works though, because everything is in flux. Damnit, it works. Just get over it already!
So, here we find ourselves again together on a page of type, written by none other than the very person that wrote the last one, and the one before that. Tonight's post brings together a variety of experiences that are unrelated; there is no common thread between these sections. It's like a sweet and sour stir fry of experiences with the fruity glaze of authorship bringing the whole together in a palatable offering. In the following collection of words I attempt the following: explain to my step-daughter who my father was, interview someone for employment, find a new ride.
The Sour: Explaining who my father was, to my step-daughter...
What a treat to explain him to her. This is, without doubt, unabashed and acerbic sarcasm. In truth, it made me sad to discuss the topic, because it meant I had to think about him, discuss him with someone else, and tell a little girl that some people can be mean even if you love them and therefore that the world can be dark from long shadows cast by angry actions from years lost in the decades. Seeing her struggle to comprehend why I didn't miss my father and how a daddy can be mean quickened the sad strings of my heart. And, as many things do, it started with good intentions meant to bring a welcome perspective to her sadness at missing her father from Sunday to Friday.
"I miss my dad."
"You're lucky. You have two daddies and two mommies who love you." ... damn, that was condescending and clumsy.
"Why does everyone keep saying that? I don't feel lucky. I miss my dad every time I leave him."
Ugh... It's like a shot in the heart to hear her say this. Every week, a six year old girl has to leave her dad to live with her mom for the week, and five days later she leaves her mom to live with her dad. I don't envy the trouble and sadness she experiences on a weekly basis, and more so feel sadness in her sadness.
"You're very brave girl. I know it's hard but I know that you're doing a really good job and you're being very strong" (we do have nicknames for each other. I call her 'girl' and she calls me 'Andrew.' She calls me 'Big Poopoo' and I to her as 'Peepee.' Don't over think or over analyze it; it works... trust me. Fear not, I also call her "My Number 1 Little Girl.").
"Would you like a hug?" In a turn of surprise pleasantness, she accepts.
With muffled and diminished sobs surfacing from her head nestled in my shoulder, she says: "I don't like leaving my dad on Sunday, or my mom on Friday"
"I know baby. I know. You're a brave girl and I'm proud of you."
And I probably should've left it there... but I didn't. I relapsed into emotional tinkerer mode by deciding to tell her how it could be worse, and was for me, by discussing my father. I was hoping she would find peace or joy at knowing that others can have it worse or conversely that she has it better - but to discuss sadness brings sadness and one can never know what someone else will learn from our words. I can now, nor never, know if this was wise, for life is long and the roads bend all along the way to the last days. But the road is set and all there is to do is handle it with grace from here on forward.
"My daddy left me girl."
"I don't know baby. He was mean."
"Do you miss your dad?"
"You never missed your dad?" This is clearly a foreign concept to her for which I am thankful. I want her to love her father and to know him. The alternative is much less pleasant. Were I to speak plainly I'd say more directly that 'it sucks' and were I to add the eloquence of articulation I would say that it was long a defining sadness causing me to see fathers where none existed in other people and giving me easy access to alienation as a social policy derived from fear of others and of myself.
"No baby. I never missed my dad, but I did miss having a dad. All my friends had dads. I missed that. I eventually had to learn how to be my own dad."
"What does that mean?"
"Everything I wanted my dad to be I had to learn to do that for myself."
"Did you to school for that?"
Smiling, "no baby. They don't have schools for that." I guess this isn't entirely true but it isn't entirely false either.
The conversation turned to the topic of how my dad was mean and here I asked her if she knew what alcohol was.
One day we'll talk about how I know my dad did the best he could with what he had.
~ Follow Up ~
After days of worrying, apparently about nothing, it seems that I was the only one left saddened after my conversation with my step daughter. She confirmed for me that she wasn't sad at all by our conversation and gave the impression - even if accidentally - that she hadn't considered it much since. My first reaction, a little depleted by thinking that maybe I hadn't gotten through to her, but then I think that if the sins of our fathers can be forgotten then surely mine can as well, now that I'm a father, and she'll forgive this one transgression of bringing up a sad subject of mine when she wanted to talk about herself and her sadness.
The Fruity Glaze of Authorship: The Applicant...
Luckily, such heady conversation was balanced out by a day of productive work and reflection of my actions and words. What better way to top it off then with a home run of an interview with an employee candidate? Hoowee! That sounds like just the restorative a man needs after discussing fathers with step-daughters. I'm gonna call this guy and it's gonna be great. I mean really great.
But it wasn't great, not even close. This missed the mark of greatness as much as Elmer Fudd missed the mark on killing the wabbit. Let's be honest. If a freight train left Chicago at 9:45a heading WSW at 65 knots (convert to mph by first converting to light years per year, factoring in the calories of a cubic parsec of butter), carrying a load of rocket fuel for circus clowns, which then suddenly ignited and the resulting explosion launched the train, the nearby hamlet and cattle barn into orbit - that would've gotten closer to the moon than this applicant did at getting a job. Or, would it?
I'm still not sure. This applicant wasn't qualified for the job, but it's how they let me know that may turn this story around.
~ Your feet have no holes. Perhaps you have a gun and can correct that? ~
The phone rings.
Conversation begins with a noticeable lack of participation on applicant's part. His mind is clearly somewhere else. I begin with some introductory conversation of which said applicant takes little part in. I then asks some pointed questions to suss out applicant's understanding of the material that her job will cover.
Insert 15 minutes of lackluster conversation. It took us 15 minutes to get to the following part, that could have been really good to know earlier, preferably before the phone call. Up to this point I was on the fence about the candidate, but leaning towards a 'no.' The following made the decision for me.
"To be honest, I just wanted to call and touch base. I just got a job somewhere else. I was just looking for an exit strategy. I wanted to see what the job was about because it sounded good.”
"You want an exit strategy for a job you just accepted?"
"Okay. I think that does it. Thank you for your time."
"So can I check in in a few months?"
A candidate for employment has never let me know, in such a definitive and clear way, the he or she was not suitable for work. The experience was frustratingly funny.
The Sweet: 275 Foot-Pounds and 200 Horsepower of Commuting...
Grinning. Some delights in this world have little rational explanation, even to ourselves. And some of these delights need no explanation nor any analytical reflection. The world can be difficult, why question fun? It is in this vein of gleeful and unexplainable fun that I am happy to write of a new acquisition: a 1999 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. Yeah, I have my own Bluesmobile. This immediately adds one item to my bucket list: pick up brother from jail in my new automobile. To answer the most commonly asked questions:
1. No, the car does not have cop lights, side lights, reinforced push bar on the front bumper, rear seat divider, blood stains, handcuffs, the ghost of an angry and unavenged rookie or officer two weeks from retirement, or the one clue that would finally solve the mystery of his death and exonerate his name and bring peace to his window before she passes into the hereafter to greet him again.
2. Yes, the car does have cop shocks, cop breaks, cop motor, cop suspension (see shocks), an engine oil cooler (how great is that?), higher speed limit set by the governor, and silicon hoses for higher operating temperatures
3. The car does have more trunk space than some of my apartments; this is only a figurative statement. The reality though is that I could fit two witnesses and 10 kilos of Columbian nose tickle powder in the trunk. (how great is that?)
4. It has made a difference in my commute. Now, when I signal my intent to change lanes, drivers in Los Angeles make room for me to enter that lane; this is instead of the normal Los Angeles driver reaction of quickly speeding up to fill that spot so that you don't beat them in the never ending road race that is the Los Angeles driving experience (seriously, how great is that?).
5. I have not pulled anyone over.
6. I have fantasized repeatedly about it.
7. My car gets terrible gas mileage. But as the saying goes, my car converts dinosaurs directly to fun.
a. Pretty soon I'll be putting highly compressed squirrels directly into my gas tank
I baby this car like none before. This is the first time in about 17 years where I have actually fit well in my vehicle. Every vehicle before was cramped or too small. The vehicles included: '96 Jeep Cherokee Sport, '02 Dodge Grand Caravan, '12 Honda Civic (I think I vaguely remember a Ford Fiesta in there as well). The last vehicle, '12 Honda Civic, was comedically small. If I raised the seat all the way, I could open the sunroof and drive by poking my head out. Conversely, when my seat was all the way down and I hit a grocery store parking lot speed bump at 5mph, my head would bump the ceiling upholstery of the car. This happened so often, that my hair was permanently embedded in the ceiling; you could comb my hair in that part of the ceiling. Ha ha ha... part. You're welcome. Now, in my '99 Ford Crown Vic Police Interceptor, I have room and lots of it. My favorite words were spoken to me by the dealer when he noticed how tall I was. I sat in the car and immediately felt how roomy it was. I could stretch my legs out. I felt luxury in luxuriating in the resplendent roominess of this throwback sedan. In this moment, he said: "Andrew, why don't you put your seat all the way back? You're a tall guy."
"It goes back... more?!" It does.
I've been in love ever since.
Thank you so much. Signing off from a night of laundry and a weekend of hotdog binging.