Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 5:
• He doesn’t like to eat out unless it’s:
o A Chinese restaurant that has Chicken Chow Mein
o An Italian restaurant that has Chicken Cacciatore (“On the bone!”)
o A Diner with bland fish
o Starbucks for a Mocha Frappuccino, although he tells me he prefers coffee from McDonalds (“Only 69 cents! Ya can’t beat that.”)
When I got married in ’97, the catering was handled by a high end Seattle restaurant. It was a food fest to say the least. After the reception, my parents came back to stay at my place. As my new wife and I are preparing to leave for our honeymoon, I hear sizzling and smell food in the kitchen. My mother is making him an egg sandwich. How could we have forgotten that staple of any Jewish wedding: the egg sandwich? My bad.
• I never drove until I moved to the west coast in my early 30s, so driving him around is a new experience. I don’t know my way around LA so I use a GPS. “Don’t use that crazy gizmo. I know the quickest way.” Invariably, it’s not. He also never tells me when to turn until we’re about five feet from the corner and we’re in the wrong lane. In spite of driving with my mother for years, he’s never heard of the diamond lane. When I use it to bypass the line for the light entering a freeway, he’ll say “What are you doin’? Yeeoow!” I tell him, “Dad, that’s what the diamond lane is for. Cars with at least two people in them have a priority lane. This encourages people to drive with as many passengers in each car as possible, cutting down on traffic, gas usage and pollution.” His response: “Well they’re not doing too good. Look at all this traffic and smog!!”
• While he starts eating breakfast about 9:30, he rarely finishes until 11:30. He has to read the paper and do the crossword puzzle. He also must have read one of those etiquette books that says you should chew your food at least 25 times before swallowing. When he finishes, he either wraps up the leftovers of his Herculean meal or throws it in the garbage. After brushing his teeth he takes a nap. It can be quite exhausting with a morning workout like that. After he has had the sleep of the just, I try and get him out by one to visit my mom. Mind you, every time I come to visit I tell him if we leave at 10 we can beat rush hour, stay with mom until 3 and beat it back. My sisters will be there with her in the evening. All I get is an impish grin in return. Lou Weiss lives by no one’s schedule except his own! Invariably, he’ll have me make all sorts of stops in all directions, finally dropping him off at the gym, where I’ll be stuck in rush hour traffic.
© Curt Weiss 2014