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Tales of a Post-Grad Nothing

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

It's a strange thing when you realize that your parents are getting older. Not just older, old. Plain old old, like the kind of old that you might one day give up your seat for on a bus or find shopping for white capri pants. My father is 63, which in and of itself is not that old, but seems ancient in comparison to his former life. About 6 months ago, he quit his life of climbing and cutting down trees to move to Florida where instead of spending his days operating cranes and nights in poolhalls, he now spends his energy being angry at valet parking services and taking off his clothes in public (there were a number of stories involving lines like "do you remember that time that you did karaoke without your pants on?" and "isn't driving the boat naked fun?"...AWKWARD!)

I was convinced that my dad wasn't really becoming an old guy, that he was just a dude who happened to live in a retirement community that happened to be located in the sunshine state all the way up until the day that I saw him talking to a Vietnam vet about getting his social security check all the while doing that thing old guys do in the pool where they just kind of walk against the water instead of actually swimming. Two years ago, I watched my father play 16 straight hours of blackjack while drinking straight whisky and to see him with his new potbelly, slowly trudging back and forth in waist-deep water while ranting about how "those IRS sons of bitches don't know a god damn thing" was almost too much to handle. (On a side note, other entities that "don't know a god damn thing" according to my father include ENT doctors, Puerto Ricans, and Pythagoras.)

Watching my father lay on the couch and talk about how much he loves little league baseball was like meeting someone totally different from the foul-mouthed, pool-husslin, liquor-drinkin, cigarette-smokin, tree-climbin, car-fixin, thick-skinned, wirey, calloused, badass, sometimes bareassed beast of a man I knew growing up. They say that age sweetens some and spoils others. In this case it's both.


At 1:36 PM, Anonymous jamie said...

I know exactly what you mean.

When my dad retired (early, not by his choice) in '90, he was a man who would work 18 straight hours, go out to a bar with his friends, come home, drink black coffee and then head out to work another 10 or 12 hours. He was a brickmason by trade.

After he retired (I was in the 6th grade), he morphed altogether too quickly into a suspender-wearing old curmudgeon whose only true hobby was watching The Weather Channel, his indoor/outdoor thermometer, and making sure the trash was carried out.

He would not have liked Florida. Too much to gripe about.

At 2:21 PM, Blogger Leahtard said...

I'm giving you exactly a month from your last post to make your blogging comeback.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger muse said...

My father turned 60 a couple of weeks ago... it is so weird to think of him as an old man!

My mom is also starting to look like an old lady. How strange!

To me he'll always be about 42, for some reason, that's the "dad" image that is stuck in my head.

Him and my mom are retiring in a few months, moving to an island in the St-Lawrence Gulf (14 hour drive + a 1 1/2 hour ferry ride)...

I'll basically almost never see them again.

The daughter in me ("but I'm still your child!") is kinda destraught about it... yet the more altruistic/mature part of me also very happy that they'll realize their dream of living by the sea...


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