From my father

There is no doubt I received most of my personality from my mother. My tendency towards codependence, my resolve to do things that can't be done, my conviction of self disillusionment as a form of progress - these are characteristics that have been passed down for generations in my mitochondrial DNA. They may seem negative, but I will be the first to point out they are actually keys to understanding others. And if there is one thing my mother (therefor I) does (do) well, it's understand others.

Through the years I have blamed my father for many things: my inability to shave properly, my utter hatred of boats (especially ones headed for waterfalls), puberty, my adolescence, the fact that I can't save a dime to save my life (granted, it's because he was too good of a provider, but I still blame him). However, there are a few - 6 to be exact - things I gleaned from him that rank among my favorite personal attributes.

1. I am a musical snob. Not in the good way. Not in the way that I am always up to date on the current stuff, and turn my nose up at the Kings and Queens of Pop and Rock - whomever they may be at the time. You see, unlike my father I am able to let loose of preconceived notions regarding musicianship to accept new forms and experience a song viscerally instead of just rationally. That said: chintzy music is not an option. Cheap thrills in musicals or orchestras will not be tolerated. Do it well, or don't do it at all.

2. Driving is just like sitting. In fact, it's better because you are going somewhere. If there is somewhere to go and you have the time, you may as well drive. My dad has been known to drive 3 hours for dinner with his kids and drive back after the meal, or 16 hours to drop off a washer and dryer just to unload and head back home.
In fact, if you give me an audiobook - I feel like I am cheating the system. I am getting to sit (which is one of my favorite things to do), "read" a book (which is also a fave) and set forth with a definite purpose and achievable goal...ah, rewards.

3. Why say "hello" when you can say "good evening?" One of the most loathed memories of my life started with my beloved Pops saying "good evening" to me. But it's such a good thing to say. Why say "it was really good" when "it was wonderful" sounds superior. "She is very nice" pales in comparison to "she is delightful."
In this way you can also avoid wasting words. Which leads to number 4...

4. There is no point in arguing with an intelligent man. We were raised knowing arguing was fruitless based on this premise: "I respect your intelligence enough to know you are either right, or will come to the right conclusion in your own time." A time comes when my words will do no more to enlighten, and will only rev the defensiveness of the wrong..ahem, I mean 'opposition.'

5. It is much more rewarding to be angry with someone if they don't know you are angry with them. This way they cannot feel satisfaction at having angered you, and you run less risk of blowing up at them. Many people call this "passive aggressiveness." I call it "paternal instinct."

6. At the end of the day, nothing puts my mind at ease more than a clean kitchen. Unloading and loading the dishwasher. Scrubbing a few pots from dinner. Wrapping up the leftovers. Scrubbing out the sink, wiping down the range, sweeping the floor. Turn on the dishwasher and turn out the lights. Your hands smell like disinfecting wipes and soap, and your pleasant fatigue makes Conan just that much funnier.
Granted, I think I Dad mostly cleaned the kitchen at night so we wouldn't immediately ruin everything - but I hope he gets at least a little of the satisfaction out of it that I do.

If not - perhaps that is something I can teach him one day.

1 comment:

abby said...

marry me?