My dad woke me up at ten to four this morning. As if it hadn’t been several years since he last woke me up, I said, “I’ll get up in ten minutes.” My sister had booked him a ridiculously early flight back home, to Calgary, for this morning; he was visiting me for the last week.
For the entire week that he was here, I went to bed and woke up earlier than he did. Today, the day of his departure, he woke up before me.
It was really nice having him visit. I was expecting more quality time with the man than I got, but I understand that his brothers and sisters are important to him. Still, we got to spend a couple of nights hanging out.
We drove around downtown Toronto, and he would tell me stories about his memories of different intersections and areas of town, from when he lived here nearly forty years ago. We sat together on a patio along Bloor one night, drinking tea and eating cheesecake. We visited the Aga Khan Museum one afternoon, before attending the adjoining mosque for evening prayers. And, we ran speaker wires around my apartment last night, after he had finished packing.
It’s a little hard to see, but the speaker wires fell down from where they were taped into place while I was dropping my dad off at the airport. At least the speakers stayed up. I’ll have to do something with the wires before school starts.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t run the wires without my dad; I was waiting for him to visit so that we could do it together. It was fun to have him explain how to strip and splice wires again. It was more fun to give up on my attempt and hand the task over to him. This time around, he didn’t have to hold the wires down near his waist to show me what he was doing but so that he could see them through his bifocals.
I always consult him before I make a home theatre purchase if he’s not there with me. Actually, every stereo that I’ve ever owned he’s purchased with me. We don’t listen to the same types of music or watch the same types of movies, but we agree on the equipment used for listening and watching. It’s one of those connections we share.
I’m a little bit superstitious, but I’m just going to blame the wires falling down on shitty tape, which I was responsible for attaching to the wall.
The other thing that my dad and I tend to talk a lot about is driving. He’s a driving instructor, so he’s got a few opinions on the subject. Neither of us really know anything about cars that would set us apart from the average buyer of a used car, but we talk about them like we have some clout in the area of engines, timing belts, distributors, and synthetic oils. My dad, however, spends a lot of time driving, so he likes to share his stories when he wants to fill a silence. I usually have something to say in response to his stories — these days it probably has something to do with instruction. Driving is a good topic to get him and I talking.
Those of you that know me know that I like to talk. When I’m around my father’s family, though, I tend to sit pretty silently, if I sit around at all. It takes a lot of my patience to hang out with my dad’s family. I don’t know why this is the case, but my impatience grows to the verge of being impolite when I’m in their company for too long.
This was the hardest part of my dad’s visit: regularly visiting with his family. He went off with his brother on Saturday, and I stayed home with the intention of getting some work done. I ended up sleeping for most of the day. I was just exhausted and was reveling in the calm of being alone in my space again. Mind you, sleeping might not have been the best way to enjoy that time.
When I got home from the airport this morning, I slept for about an hour before getting up to get some work done. Upon waking up, I felt strangely alone, in the way you do after you’ve just spent a significant amount of time with someone and they’ve now gone indefinitely.
I don’t like having people over. It causes me great stress. I don’t like having to be considerate of others when I’m at home. I don’t want to have to wait for the washroom to free up. I don’t want to ask somebody what they feel like doing while I’m at home and trying to decide what to do with myself. I want to be alone at home.
Now, I love my dad, so his visit was a pleasant imposition. Still, it was a change for me.
I wish that I could say this his visit left me with something significant to think about and ponder over, but it isn’t yet clear to me that it has. Other than knowing that he’s got a woman in Calgary in mind for me, I’m not sure what I learned from him during his visit that’ll stick with me. I’m sure that I learned something from him. Maybe this time, his visit was about him learning something about me. I doubt he’ll blog about it, though.
You know, I didn’t take a single photo of him or him and I during his stay. I’ll just have to remember him and I standing in the elevator looking at our ever-growing bellies in the mirror while sluggishly returning home after yet another meat-filled meal with some folk, and then me asking and he agreeing to a bowl of ice cream while we sat watching a movie neither of us was paying attention to.