Sunday, September 25, 2011
Me, you and the Boob Tube
For those who asked, the soup was pretty good. I tried a little the day he cooked it and it’s a good thing I did as he finished off the entire pot by the next evening. I’ve never seen so much food eaten so quickly since the last time I watched ‘Man vs. Food’. And he wasn’t even trying for a shirt or to get his picture on a wall.
He has been trying to get me to buy a painting of a cowboy for my living room. When I questioned which particular painting, he said “Oh, just any of ‘em. Everybody needs a cowboy picture”. Untrue. I do not need a cowboy picture, not even if it was an original Andy Warhol of Elvis as a gunslinger. The decorating scheme of my living room is a modified art deco meets thrift store chic. It’s quirky. Cowboy anything is not quirky. Cowboys wouldn’t call me quirky, even at church. That’s just not how they talk. What some of the called me behind my back and even to my face occasionally, is better left to history. I can’t really blame them; after all I did dye my top-siders aqua blue and use Madonna in my successful campaign for Sophomore Class Reporter. Apparently “Desperately Seeking Dusty” resonated with somebody besides me. And this was at a consolidated high school with around 250 students in Northeast Texas. I must have been insane. Most of the people that knew me must have thought I was some sort of social experiment. I wonder if they wondered if they were all on Candid Camera. My sister used to tell everyone I was adopted. I used to joke that the only thing my Daddy and I had in common was the belief that I was adopted. And that’s become more apparent as we enter our third week as roommates.
I knew there would be a learning curve living with someone in their 70s. And while he and I have never really been on the same page, I thought I had a reasonable idea of who he was based on the fact that I have visited with him several times a year since my mother died in 2000. Truth be told, we’ve never been in the same section of the library, y’all. But I tried to combine the new him of the visits with my memories of who he was when I was growing up and the reports from my brother and sister-in-law with whom he shared a home for the immediately preceding two years. None of this prepared me for the reality show that is my father.
He is an enigma, wrapped in bacon, swathed in big ’n’ tall men’s denim. The overbearing, judgmental and downright scary father of my childhood has somehow morphed into an aged, slightly depressed version of Dan Conner from ‘Roseanne’; all bathroom humor and false bravado.
His complaints are both understandable and irritating. He wants to be in Alabama without being in Alabama. I just want him to assimilate as quickly as I do. He wants me to be a housewife from the 50s armed with a war chest of carb-heavy comfort food recipes and slotted spoons. I just want him to change 70 years of eating habits overnight. I want a roommate; he wants a Southern June Cleaver. Other than a tendency to be over-dressed while cleaning, June Cleaver I shall never be. Although if you read my book (A Gone Pecan – available at your favorite on-line retailer) you might think I certainly sound like a middle-aged woman. Quacking like a duck doesn’t make me a duck, dear friends; it simply makes me duck-esque. Duck-onic if you will.
You must forgive this digression. I am trying to collect my thoughts while the entire nation of Guatemala is celebrating something in the parking lot of the El Rancho Supermercado y Tacqueria across the street from my neighborhood. Supermercado is Spanish for Supermarket. As far as I can tell, Tacqueria is Spanish for “add cheese”. And you know I’m on board for that. If you put a boot in a casserole dish, topped it with cheese and set it out at a Fifth Sunday Dinner on the Grounds, I’d do my darnedest to eat it.
TV seems to be the one area where we’re willing to compromise. I have been subjected to boxing, football and re-runs of America’s Funniest Home Videos. He’s been subjected to Project Runway, Dr. Who and Drop Dead Diva. We both like Big Bang Theory, NCIS and Bait Car. The Judds may think love can build a bridge, but so can TV, y’all. And any chasm can be bridged with a shared enemy, ya’ll. I have never agreed with him more than just now when he said, “Them people need to turn that mess down.”
Amen, Daddy. I mean, we’re trying to watch funny home videos over here.