I’ll probably be the first person ever to nap myself to death.
As self indulgent as this sounds; I often feel like my life would make a perfect plot for one of those low-budget dysfunctional family drama black humor tragic comedy indie films, you know?
For most of my life my father and I never really had a relationship, and then when we finally did it was often not a good one. He wasn’t around much when I was younger, and he was an alcoholic with a major temper problem. We finally started acknowledging each other’s existence towards the end of my teen years, but any progress we made was quickly fractured by me coming out of the closet (he was the last to know, by quite a few years) to him when I was 19.
In the past few years we have both made some efforts towards being adult “friends”. This relationship building mostly revolves around drinking together on Sundays and weekday afternoons, ignoring our adult responsibilities, and tipsily ranting about flaws in the education system, why prostitution should be legalized, and how much my mom and brother annoy us. Other than day drinking, we also share a passion for good music, especially good music on vinyl. So between these two commonalities we get along okay more often than not, although truthfully this is made possible by the fact that we rarely interact more than once a week.
But! As of this August, our (rather new and still somewhat fragile) bond is about to be tested big time, and I’m equally as nervous as I am excited. We are going to road trip across America over about 2 weeks. Why you ask? So that we can drink in as many different bars as possible. Seriously. My dad’s plan is to drive through all kinds of cool and iconic American cities (his list so far includes Olympia, Kansas City, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, etc), stopping in pubs and bars and various other drinking establishments. He wants to see cities, drink beer, and hopefully catch some live music too. I’m going with him. And we are taking his (newest) Lexus, which while incredibly comfortable, is still a pretty small space for two people who have spent most of their lives hating each other (or at least trying to convince themselves of it).
The thing is, I think that we are both aware now as adults that the traits we dislike so passionately in each other are merely the exact traits that we detest in ourselves. What frustrates me about my father is also what frustrates me when I’m alone with myself, and that is not knowledge that was easy for either of us to come to terms with. Whether you want to blame nature or nurture, it’s undeniable that we are innately alike in our strong yet difficult personalities. I inherited more than just the stereotypical combination of fiery red hair and a fiery personality from my Irish father. This can be a good thing when we are able to meet each other on common ground; but it can also be a very bad thing. Hence the apprehension that is tinging my excitement!
So either this will end up as the ready-made plot of a quirky indie drama about simultaneously deconstructing and rebuilding a father/daughter bond; or it’s going to end up with at least one of us dead or in jail.
Three cheers for tenuous family dynamics forged through alcohol and highways!!
You look prettier when you are happy.