Sunday, 26 February 2006

My dad and I

When I was little, my dad and I used to get on brilliantly.

He would carry me on his back, he taught me to ice-skate, taught me all the names of flowers, trees, birds and animals around us, he built me a proper playhouse in the garden and took me swimming or to a museum almost every Saturday.

Although I wasn't exactly a daddy's girl, I am sure I must at some point have been of the opinion that my dad was more fun than my mum.

So what happened along the way?

I've only been home for 48 hrs and he's already getting on my nerves.

Mostly it's because he doesn't engage with me like a proper adult when he adresses me.

He'll usually come over and poke me, or make fun of something I say.

Not in a clever, funny way, but in some kind of obscure way only he finds funny (this is not only a case of me deliberately finding him obscure; for instance he tried his wit on a couple of my lecturers when I graduated from university. They were completely mystified and I was completely mortified).

It is, I guess, nothing more mysterious than the fact that I've grown up and my dad hasn't.

We have very little in common, and if he is to speak to me, it has to be on his terms, about something he is interested in and can lecture me about.

He has never been interested in things I've shown an interest in. For instance, he is partly dyslexic and I read faster than him since I was four (literally speaking).

I grew up to be a very academically adept little girl, but he never understood why studying was important to me, commending me neither when I was Valedictorian at Junior High, nor when I graduated with a first from university.

Instead he berates me for 'having had it easy' in being clever, and I know he secretly wonders why I don't just want to work in a shop for the rest of my life, as it was good enough for him.

I have always had a very analytical mind; I'm not good with detail but like to draw out general conclusions and trends from a wide range of evidence and material.

When he just lectures me, but always without providing a scrap of scientific evidence (example: "So many people in the world smoke. I don't believe this crap about it being bad for you. So many people wouldn't do it if it wasn't good for something." -Then refuses to listen to any facts about people dying of lung cancer and getting emphysema), it drives me up the wall.

Now I realise I should just bite my tongue when I see him, especially since it's so rarely (I just snapped at him a sec ago because he told me for the second time that food is ready, even though I already said I'll be there in a minute), but I just think it's a pity that my father will never see that he actually did quite a good job, that I've grown up to be a relatively functional human being with a decent job and a somehow mad, but very lovely boyfriend.

He just isn't interested in getting to know the person I am now.

I win every argument because I'm better educated and more articulate, and of course he finds that intimidating.

But I can't find it in me to say that global warming isn't happening just because he thinks it isn't.

But I see him getting older between each of my visits, and all I can do is hope that it will improve if or when I have children.

He loves children, because they listen to him and laugh at his jokes and most importantly don't question his lack of logic or scientific rigeur.

I'm going downstairs to have some chicken with him now, fingers crossed. But a little sad.

1 comment:

  1. I can so relate to this. I have to say, though, that after my father passed away I realised that some of the effort required to make things easier between us could have come from me. Should have come from me.

    Just a thought...


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