Mom & Dad

When He Was Five

I was earlier sifting through the overnight Facebook feed, and low and behold I came upon this excerpt -‘My Dinner With Andre” – reminded me of why that movie remains on my Top Five Favourites. Even though I’ve only ever seen it once, it imprinted something on my psyche and I’ve always meant to go back to it again, revisit this fabulous cinemagraphic conversation over dinner.

You being a foody, I suppose you can appreciate the setting. Once again watching these two New Yorker’s philosophize away the many facets of life that still confound me today. Statements such as…

They are both the guards and the prisoners. They built their own prison, and they guard themselves“. [from ‘My Dinner With Andre’]

It does make you wonder though if maybe he’s right. You see that sense of blind obedience at play in most metropolitan areas, that zombie-esque nature of the many is rampant in all large cities today. I think the reason I’ve always loved that movie is that I’ve had those conversations with people, rarely though. I suppose maybe the first philosophical parlance I first took would have been with you.

There is something about that movie you know. It reminds me that I need to embrace my inner child, and by doing so embrace as well that tiniest of beams of the light, so as to keep it safe through this dark age of self-righteous indignation and greed. To be a light in the dark. They talk in the movie about the mystics of the Middle Ages were just that, a light in the darkness.

You know Mom, there is a lot of symmetry surrounding me of late.

Stay still long enough to allow wisdom to seep into ones pores.

I’ve also recognized this week that it does me no good to dialogue away all this that I’ve learned.

I WANT so many things, but desiring that which is not is just another exercise in denial. Grass is always greener, and yadda-yadda, it’s always better wherever you are not, now seems to be so self-deflating.

I’ve been I suppose distracted as well this week, not sure why. I’ve been thinking a lot, mostly about what I should be really doing (in between calls at work), and I realized that when you were 47 you had 7 more years to live; course you didn’t know that at the time.

So its going on 14 years now since your death, and now that I find myself abit directionless, I am reminded that life is precious. Why not just be? Why still remain within the cave with everyone else, watching mere shadows on the wall? Why not engage in life, and once again embrace wonder and joy? Seek knowledge, and stay still long enough to allow wisdom to seep into ones pores.

I know Mom, yes I was always fidgety. I remember you telling me how when I was small I was always doing something, rarely was I still. Alone together, in that dinky little trailer that hot and sweaty summer of 1968, I would imagine it would qualify as your very own “worst of times, and the best of times”. I guess like my Irish Lake. And I remember you telling me of how often you found yourself, head in hand, sitting just outside the door on that tiny bottom step, with tears running down your face. Hundreds of miles away from home, with a small child that scared the shit of you, heartbroken by a man who one day would become your heart AND soul.

So, Dad you know just turned 70. He came to pick me up, and we were standing out having a smoke at my stoop, and he said that he couldn’t believe he had actually made it to 70. And you know, I was stunned by the face that stared back at me. Not that I’m saying Dad looks old, he really doesn’t, but I thought, HOLY SHIT. He still looks as stunning you know as ever, maybe more so. I can see that the man staring back at me is content, even happy. My Dad actually happy, or perhaps just content. :-) That is how I measure success.

Anywho. Dad did say something later that night that really struck me. I had asked him what were his earliest memories of childhood. Anyone else you ask that question to, any other male, and they’d say “playing with dump trucks in my sandbox out back” or something, but not Dad. Course not, silly me for thinking I was going to get some sweet story of growing up in the south as a boy. No, he told me he was stealing bikes.

What f*en five year-old is stealing bikes?

I’m not sure how truthful he’s being about his age, but I have no doubt he was stealing bikes at an age when most other children are still, well, being innocent children, and not heathen little maniacs.

Dad and I are so different. I grew up sheltered and loved, and I guess alittle older before I recognized the infallibility of my own parents. Carl Jung would say that Dad was perhaps an early bloomer, and that he experienced an early awareness of self. Being so young, and not having the blissful hammock of a strong parents guidance, he was left to his own devices.

Which you of course always said. You were always reminding us that Dad didn’t grow up with the same advantages that we did, that he didn’t have the same kind of good stuff that we did. I would imagine you reasoned away all these tidbits about his past that long hot summer of 1968, but it took you another few months to reason out whether you should stay or you should go. And if you did go, would he follow?

I guess that’s the difficult sort of choices we all have to make at some point, or, more often, repeatedly over and over.

Mom, what a strange anomaly that man is. The more I get to know him, the more complex he becomes.

This Monday morn is wearing on, it’s almost 8:30am, and I have lots I want to do today. Lots of B’ing.


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