Sunday, June 21, 2009

My dad

I'm not ready for my dad to go. Unlike most of my friends, my dad is actually old enough to be my grandpa. And I don't really know him.

Part of this is because we had a large family, with five children, so he had to work long hours to keep us fed. He has worked in low-wage non-profit jobs up until last year as well.

Part of this is because his personality is a lot like my own - introverted and closed off to all but a few. When he was young he was the into the nerdy things like building his own radios and listening to shortwave channels from all over the world. He would build his own ham radios. I was never into these things, sow e didn't share a lot of common interests.

We tried though. We went to amateur radio licensing classes together, and took the test together for certification (I failed the first time). But I'm not very good at small talk, and making friends, so ham radio wasn't a hobby that lasted long for me. I had approximately two CQs to anyone besides my dad or brother (who also got licensed).

Plus everyone that knows me knows I'm not a very serious person. I'm always sarcastic, and will throw jokes in the most serious of conversations. My whole family is like this, but I'm probably the worst. It is hard to learn about my dad because either he'll joke about his past, or before he has a chance to answer a question someone else will joke about him going to high school with Fred Flintstone.

If we're lucky, I'll have my dad around about twenty more years, but by then he will have outlived both his parents. He's still lively and working as hard as ever, but when you get up in age like this deterioration goes at a brisk pace, as I witnessed when my grandfather moved in with us.

I want to know him. But I have terrible communication skills. The only thing I can get by with talking about with most people is music (of course with me it can be as intense as politics and religion). With my dad we fumble around computers, and random nerdy stuff.

I know he wants to be closer. I know he's been trying for the past few years to build a relationship. Maybe our family is just so disfunctional we keep trying to avoid the parts of our psyche that hurts to think about - or at least the parts that would divide if we talked about.

I have been thinking about this for months, but I scheduled this post to come up on Father's Day just because I think it seems appropriate. Maybe this year I'll get somewhere.

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