2001.01.18 pickin' up the check:

well, just got back from dinner with my father. he picked the Irish Rover, which was great for me, since it's probably my absolute favorite restaurant of all those on the list. overall, it was a good dinner (the food was excellent, as usual), even though we did get the evil waitress from hell. to be honest, i'm surprised she's still working there, she obviously hates it. she was much better this time out, but then again, how could she have been any worse? needless to say, we got out of there before the whole paying the bill / leaving a tip thing came up. but i did get a particular pleasure out of relating the entire story (minus the fact of paul & brian's drunkenness during the events) to my dad, since it at least gave us something to talk about… which leads me to my next observation…

i am too much like my father. i think, all these years, i've blamed my almost morbid quietude in social situations on the fact that the majority of my friends in high school were people who loved to hear themselves talk. i was the kid who could almost never get a word in edgewise. but now, after hanging with my dad this evening, i'm beginning to think it may simply be paternal emulation. getting a conversation started with my dad tonight was like pulling teeth.

me:  "uh. so, uh. how's things?"

how's things!? what the hell kind of question is that to ask your father? and, of course, my father's response:

him: "oh… good. y'know." (or something along those lines)

me:  "… … cool."

<< side note: paul just called me out last night on the phone. he pointed out that i almost always answer any statement or question with just one word — "cool." (in a kind of dull monotone) > >

well, after several false starts, we did hit a few almost good conversations in there, the main one being when he informed me that, when i was four and the family was planning to move to Kentucky, my primary apprehension about the move was… indians. yep, indians, i was apparently afraid that Kentucky, that vague forest-land was teeming with wild, violent, Daniel Boone, Bill Custer at Little Big Horn type indians. and really, i think this is possibly the most important thing my father has ever told me since i moved out of the house and went to college, because, get this, my earliest memory of a childhood dream was about indians attacking our house and the little old lady who gave my sister and i milk and cookies.

well, now i think i understand that dream a little better. obviously it was some kind of anxiety dream about moving to Kentucky.

another conversation we got on was the life decisions issue. it kind of saddened me to hear that there are several things in my dad's life that he sometimes wishes he'd done differently. the only one he specifically mentioned was moving to Princeton. i can't help but wonder if some of the others have anything to do with me. as i've told several of my friends when we've gotten on similar topics, there is only one thing i really regret in my life–the horrible way i mishandled the breakup with the girl who i seem to be mentioning quite a bit lately. that whole situation is probably the only thing i'd go back and change if given a chance.

altogether, i guess it was one of the better father/son hang-out sessions we've had, despite the absurd conversational difficulties. probably the best part was that i got to take him to dinner. normally, he pays for dinner, then slips me a twenty before he leaves. this time, i paid for dinner, and he didn't slip me the twenty… it was liberating, and it just felt good.

in other family news, my sister has been so completely enthralled by the wondrous adventure that is bipolar, she had to go and start her own little weblog. at this point, i've given her a couple days to get into the groove, so go check it out. she's currently living in france, so perhaps she'll be able to expose us all to a little culture… or at least teach us how to say dirty words in french. oh, and that's multi – literate, not mult – illiterate or some such. she's quite the intellectual.

damn. two longish posts in one day… what's up with that?