20 January 2011

An unexpected insight

Setting: dinner at a Chinese buffet

Mom said, "Steely Dan's coming this summer."

Dad looked bewildered and I rolled my eyes. He slowly said, "Steel-y ...., did you say, 'Dan'?"

"Steely Dan," Mom repeated. "Yes." She joked, "Musta been all that opium. The 70s were a total haze for him it seems."

Dad was still lost but got up to get another plate.

"Y'know, I know the name, but I couldn't name any of their songs offhand," I said. "I'd probably recognize 'em if I heard 'em."

Mom agreed, "Yeah, in the 70s instead of keeping up with bands, I was busy chasing around two little kids."

With a smile, I said, "Oh, I'm sure I was no trouble at all. ... Well, except for not wanting to go to pre-school." An anti-socialite from the beginning, I thought to myself. "Anyway, you threw us outside all the time, so it couldn't have been too bad."

"No, I didn't."

Dad returned and sat down.

"Uh, yeah ya did," I said, "I'm sure I just misunderstood your prosody back then, but there were times you made it clear that we had to stay outside."

"I just wanted you to get outside and get some exercise."

"No, it was much stronger than that. You said we couldn't come back in."

"What? When did I ever do that?"

"I remember one day when Billy and Jason came over."

Mom interrupted, "Who's Jason?"

"Jason -------. Anyway, I remember because Billy fell off the zipline--you remember the thing we had in the back?" I mimed the motion of two hands hanging on and swinging forward.

Mom nodded and said, "Yeah, but that was the big house."

"So? Why does that matter?"

"You were little."

"Does that make my story invalid? You never specified an age limit to..." I considered the rabbit hole I was diving down and said, "Just let me finish."


"Anyway, like he always did back then, Billy got a bloody nose, but you'd made it so clear that we couldn't go inside that I had to sneak in to get him some Kleenex."

"I never meant that."

"I know, I just took you literally. That's how I perceived it."

She looked at me for a moment and then said, "You know, knowing you now, I see that you probably took everything personally back then. I didn't think that at all. It never even occurred to me."

*Irony alert* She thinks I take everything personally now, that's not true. I resisted the urge to rebut the implied criticism with I took things literally, not personally, and just said, "I know."

"How did we get on this topic?" Dad asked.

A year ago on TTaT: Back in anger

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  1. What I take from this story is: OMG, you had a zip line?! How awesome is that? Then again, my dad built this amazing playhouse in our backyard that all our friends loved, and all my sister and I wanted to do was go back inside the house.

  2. LOL. Well clearly, that is the most important part.

    It was pretty rad, but I didn't play on it that often because it was also totally dodgy. Something the previous owners left (along with a 3rd floor and basement full of junk to treasure hunt). The wire that held it to the top tree kept gradually unwinding until it finally came loose (must've been when someone was on it, though not me) and my dad took it down. Wasn't super high, had to lift your legs up to avoid tall weeds in summer (and I was little back then, 5 to 8 years old maybe?).