Saturday, June 18, 2011

Guests and Fish

My father reads this blog.

You'd think that would tame the sarcasm I use, or prevent me from using the f-word*.   You might also think that would prevent me from admitting I didn't get him a father's day present, and you would be wrong on all counts.

Do I feel badly about it? In a way I do, in a way I really do.  So to alleviate my guilt do something nice for the man who has put up with 29 (ahem) years of my cr-p, I write this post as a thank you.

Nancy wrote a lovely post this week about fathers in general, and one of the excellent points she makes is that every father has his unique quirk, the mini freak flag he flies at home that teaches you the one or two or three things only a father can teach.

For me, it was guests and fish.

You see, several years ago I was a foolhardy teenager pretending to be an adult due to the fact that I was already in college surrounded by people older than myself.  At that time, I had a bad case of puppy love and the object of my affection had been doing a semester abroad.  He asked me to come visit him at home when he got back, as he couldn't wait to see me any longer.  Practically begged.  And logical person that I am I spent probably the entire contents of my bank account on a flight.  Seduced by offers of a New Years' Eve party, basketball games, and a solo trip to Orlando, I planned to stay with his family for a week total.  You know where this is going, don't you?

Yes, dear father, the man who infuriatingly tells you the blunt truth even when he should be telling polite white lies (Really? You can't say things like, no your breath smells lovely, like a rose!?  It can't possibly be that hard) warned me with a finger wag so strong I could hear it over the phone.

Guests and fish, Poker Chick.  This is not a good idea.  Come home sooner.

You see, for years my father had sounded like a broken record, telling us about a saying his father used to tell him that "Guests and fish smell after three days".  (Fun fact: the original author of this quote was the man who founded the college I would one day attend, but none of us knew that at the time).  Usually this quote amused us, as it was often uttered in the context of discussing a very annoying house guest behind closed doors and Poker Chick Brother and I relished in the secret rebelliousness of the admission and swore not to tell our mother.  But he used it as a warning as well.

Good daughter that I am, I heeded his advice.

Yeah right.

I did the usual foolhardy teenage thing and informed him I could spend my hard-earned money as I liked. 

I had a great first two days. He was happy to see me, it was just as I dreamed.  Then we went to the magical kingdom (literally) and I was smugly enjoying the fact that I had been right.  Then I got dumped.  That's right, read it again.  I got dumped in the happiest place on earth.  On Christmas Eve.  Seriously, I did.  You can't make this sh-t up.

A number of factors kept me there, despite the humiliation.  First of all, there was the fact that I had spent all my money, and couldn't afford the fee to change my ticket.  Second, though I'm sure my father would have underwritten the earlier trip home, I was too damn stubborn to give him that satisfaction.  So I kept a brave face and pretended nothing had happened.  Didn't even cry, not even once.  On my last day I woke up and saw the dog (have I mentioned I am not a fan of the canine species?) had eaten the batch of brownies his mother had made for me to take home, and I reached my breaking point.  I had my heart broken, Disney world forever ruined, and now someone was messing with my dessert!? I think NOT!  This was of course, the last straw, and I packed up my stuff, went to the airport and stayed until they finally let me on a flight standby for free.

I called my father to give him the new arrival information, since I wasn't too proud to mooch a ride home.  Said I was having a great time.

The man was smart enough to add two and two and figure it out on his own, and despite keeping a stiff upper lip for several days, the minute I got off the plane and saw him I lost it.  He was kind enough just to be there and not say I told you so.  But we both knew what he was thinking.

*You might think I don't type swears out for politeness, but you would be wrong.  I have no problem typing out my mofo curse words if I want, except for the spiders.  The invisible bytes of code that crawl the web and register search results at rapid speed.  See, I got caught by the spiders once.  One innocuous blog title circa September 2007 happened to have a word in the title that brought it a lot of attention for a while.  And not the kind of attention you'd want.  I shudder at the thought.  This blog does not, I repeat NOT, contain "relevant results" if you're looking for that, thank you very much.

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