Monday, November 27, 2006

My Father

When Measure 89, the Clean Money initiative lost a few weeks ago I called my father because he had spent the last two years putting all of himself into it, trying to get it to pass. I wanted to call him to say I was sorry, but I was afraid he would blame me for it’s failing. “Well, did YOU vote for it?” he shouted once I got him on the phone.

”Yes,” I said, a little sheepish, like a child. I wasn’t lying, but I did lie about that other thing he wanted me to do, which was to email everyone I knew about the proposition and tell them which way to vote. “Did you send it out?” he asked a bunch of times after he’d sent me the original email. “Yes,” I lied, and changed the subject. The thing is, I don’t like sending mass emails to my friends, especially if they’re political, even if they do come from my father, who is smart and on the left.

In our regular phone chats he asks me about the girls, about my husband, the house plans. Sometimes he throws a curve ball and out of the blue he’ll ask whether I ever bought that computerized bridge program for the kids that he was obsessed by a few years ago, thinking they needed to learn bridge OR ELSE. Or out of nowhere he’ll ask me whether my kids are learning Spanish or if I’ve been following MY TEAM. But since I don’t follow sports and have no idea what season it is EVER, or who MY TEAM is, I am left speechless for a moment and then I lie in no particular order, “yes, no, yes, no.” Bridge, yes, Spanish, no, MY TEAM, yes, and he laughs because he knows I’m lying and I laugh because this is how we bond; me in my half morning daze, my cowboy boots and coffee, my list of plans; the phone calls and emails, and he in his cluttered office in Los Angeles, reminding me of either a lost planet or space debris, I don’t know, but he’s up there orbiting, trying to make sense of his world, pulling all the little pieces together, just as I try to do in mine.

This morning when I called he said he was overwhelmed with so much to do and I said maybe he ought to take a break after two years of hard work on Measure 89, and he tells me that he usually naps for 30 minutes. I said “Good, rest yourself, it’s a long walk toward death,” and he laughs and I laugh. We don’t know what it means but it bonds us.


your college roommate said...

there's a lot of love in that and it's really nice to read.

Dale said...


la vie en rose said...

there are so many ways we as humans choose to connect with the people we love most. in high school i joined an organization that wasn't really me because my dad belonged to it when he was in high school. by being a memeber we'd have this bond holding father and daughter together.