Something strange has been happening to me over the past 10 years or so. Every once in a while, I do something, or hear myself say something, and have this out-of-body experience for a second. A moment of reckoning. A little attack of vertigo. “Where have I heard that before?” Things I never thought I would say sometimes roll right off my tongue. Like a few weeks ago when I was helping my son with his math homework, and said, “I can’t believe the way they teach you kids to do math these days. There is a much simpler way to get your answer. I don’t get this new math.” Or more recently while we were out for dinner, I heard myself complaining about how loud the music was in the restaurant, and why on earth do they need to have it so loud? I’m trying to have a quiet pleasant evening out, for heaven’s sake. Then one day, I hit a low point. I was in a gift shop while we were on vacation, eyeing a bag of tortilla chips that usually cost about $1.99 in the good ol’ USA, but were marked at $8.00. That’s right, $8.00. For a bag of chips. “Can you believe the price of these chips? ” I exclaimed loudly for all to hear. “What are they, laced with gold?” I turned around to engage the other shoppers in my rant of disbelief. My husband told me to be quiet, because I was being embarrassing. Who, me? Embarrassing? Then it hit me. Oh. My. Goodness. I am turning into my father.
Let me tell you a little bit about my dad. He is the kind of guy who will buy a brand new BMW with all the bells and whistles, yet refuses to forward his mail when he moves because the post office charges $40, which he considers “too expensive”. He wears a button down dress shirt to the office, with black sweatpants and sneakers. When someone points out to him the incongruity of such attire, he responds by saying, “but these are my dressy sneakers. They’re black.” He has been known to try to cross the six-lane Pan-American highway on foot so that he could go to the shopping mall on the other side (thankfully, mom prevented this from happening). He is a creature of habit–up at 6 am, in his pajamas at 7:30 pm, and in bed by 9:30 pm. He is, in fact, so predictable that when I was growing up, our family dog would start to pace around when it was time for dad to change into his PJ’s, knowing it was just a matter of minutes before she would gleefully chase him up the stairs. He is one of the smartest people I know who is completely oblivious to most everything happening around him.
One time my dad was hanging out at his gym. He goes there almost every day to “work out”. The reality of the situation is that, while there is some treadmill action involved in his routine, mostly he goes there to shower, chat people up, and use the sauna. On this occasion he decided to use the hot tub. Now, the hot tub is in a common area adjacent to the women’s and men’s locker rooms. My parents had belonged to this gym for years at this point. So there my dad was, having a nice little time in the hot tub, when a woman comes out of the ladies locker room into the common area to get into the hot tub. This was the moment that my dad realized that this was, indeed, a CO-ED hot tub, and maybe he shouldn’t be sitting in it buck naked.
I have always heard that women turn into their mothers as they get older. Oscar Wilde has famously said that “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his.” I was on the look-out for signs that I was becoming like my mom (which wouldn’t be the worst thing–hi mom!). There were a few things here and there. Nothing that scared me too much. But I didn’t even think about worrying about turning into my dad!
Sure, there were some subtle signs along the way. My general dislike for staying up past my bedtime. My love of comfortable pants that don’t constrict the midsection (who doesn’t love that though, really?). My Type A personality. But lately the signs have been coming on stronger. I used to always listen to pop radio stations. Now the dial in my car is permanently tuned to NPR, keeping me informed on all the global news events. (My dad is famous for being tuned in to CNN 24/7. No news story escapes him.) The girl who used to not care about politics has started to publicly (and sometimes loudly) declare her distaste for Republicans in general, and Donald Trump in particular. Pajama time for me has crept from 8 or 9 pm, to 7 pm, sometimes sooner. And I embarrass myself in public. Frequently.
One time, after I did something embarrassing, I turned to Jeff and asked him, “WHY do I always embarrass myself??” “Oh, honey”, he said, “it’s not just you. Sometimes you embarrass me too.”
So here it is kids. My destiny. One day I will say whatever is on my mind, to whomever I want to say it to. I will eat large quantities of butter, and when chastised, will shrug and dip the knife in deeper. I may try to bribe the hostess at a chain restaurant with a $20 bill to convince her to get us a table before all the other people who are waiting. I don’t think that I will talk about the stock market, but you never know. That could be next. So get ready, it’s coming.
P.S.–Love you dad. Thanks for all the comic relief, xoxo.