Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 13:
• He’s been battling with a cable TV provider over changes in his bundled services for days. He really hates the automated customer service systems. “Yes, no, no, no, no, no, yes”. Yelling at the system always helps too. “Give me a person! A person! A person! A person!” When he finally gets someone, he clears his throat every fifteen seconds, which must sound like thunder through the phone. “Ahem! It was cancelled on the twelfth! Ahem! I don’t have Direct TV! Tell me what the complete bill is please! Ahem! I can’t figure your bill out!” This is about the time I close the door.
There’s been an extra cable box in my mother’s room since July, which I’ve mentioned more than once. My sense is he screwed something up.
• He’s never been able to order food in a restaurant. That was my mother’s job. She always knew what he should order but he would always fight her. A typical restaurant exchange would be something like:
Dad – “I’ll have the Chicken Piccata and…”
Mom – “You won’t like that Lloydie.”
Dad – “Elissa, will you let me finish?!”
Mom – “It’s not on the bone and it’s in a lemon sauce! You want the Chicken Cacciatore!
She now addresses the waiter.
Mom – “Waiter, is the Chicken Cacciatore on the bone?”
Waiter – “Yes it is ma’am.”
Dad – “Does it come with spaghetti?”
Waiter – “Yes sir, it does.”
Dad – “OK, I’ll have that.”
Mom – “He doesn’t know what he wants.”
Dad – “Yeah, I’m ‘so stupid’ but you’re all fine with me picking up the check.”
He got that part right.
• Someone suggested that when they get old and batty, they wanted lots of medical marijuana. After seeing my mother in such misery over the last nine months, I’m starting to agree. I told this to my father and he said, “You know, I’ve never smoked marijuana.” Before I tell you what was said after that, recognize that this tells me he’s now having long term memory issues to go with his short term memory issues. Not only did he smoke pot in the 50s when he went to Latin music clubs, but he once tried to get me to smoke pot with him at the apartment of a crazy “new age healer” that he knew when I was 17. We weren’t ‘communicating’ so he brought me to this cockamamie shyster friend of his (my dad’s favorite kind of guy) who would help us ‘communicate’. He lived near the Dakotas (an exclusive building near Central Park in New York’s upper west side where John Lennon lived and died) and not only treated people for cancer but claimed to sell weed to Leonard Bernstein. I passed. Smoking dope with your dad is the ultimate teenage buzz kill.
So, here’s what was said after he claimed never to have smoked marijuana;
Me – “Dad, don’t you remember when you told me about buying pot for your old business partner (name withheld to protect the guilty)? He liked to smoke it when he was having sex, but then you got him some super weed and he never asked for it again.”
Dad – “Hmm. I do remember he had all kinds of things going on…you know, on the side. You know how he died, don’t you?”
Me – “Yep: in the saddle”
Dad – “Can you imagine having to explain that to his wife?”
Just another typical rush hour conversation.
© Curt Weiss 2014