The last few times Dad and I have been on our own, we've spent the evenings watching the All-Westerns Channel
. This time around, we changed things up a bit.
DAD: I think I have run out of westerns. Let's watch something else! Here, I've got the AppleTV all set up. Let's watch a preview and decide on a movie.2 hours later
ME: You know, it says something about us that we can spend two hours being entertained by nothing but previews
Finally we picked an actual movie. Unfortunately, it was The Europa Report
ME: Maybe we should have stuck with the previews.
While he and I share many preferences for movies--we both like science fiction movies, and blockbusters, and Coen Brothers productions, and previews--in other ways we have wildly diverging tastes. I like horror movies, while Dad feels that, complex academic and psychological theories about subconscious fears and hindbrains be damned, anyone who watches horror movies is unequivocally a bad person.* For his part, he likes stupid rom-coms and pretentious French movies.
DAD: I think I'll watch some French cinema tonight. Want to join me?
ME: Are there explosions?
DAD: No, but there are other great things! They love slapstick, but then right in the middle they'll all pause and comment on the unbearable loneliness of living, and the ever-present specter of ennui that looms over even the most lighthearted of moments. Then somebody gets his head stuck in a paint bucket. It's like the Three Existentialist Stooges!
ME: ... Yeah, you have fun with that.
So for movies, we mostly went our own ways. Fortunately, we got to spend Quality Time on other projects--such as supervising thunderstorms. The Thunder Switch was on the whole time Mom was gone, and every time another shower started up, Dad would have to go outside to observe.
DAD: I think it's going to rain some more!
ME: So it is.5 minutes later
DAD: Now it's raining!
ME: Why, yes.
DAD: I'm going out to see!
Then he would walk outside and stand under the eaves, listening to the rain.
DAD: It's still raining!
ME: Keep me updated!
When it wasn't raining, I also continued my attempts to skate.
ME: I really enjoy the feeling of getting better at this.
DAD: That cerebellum is a wonderful thing.
ME: Although we are an entertaining species, considering that we have decided to take that as a challenge
. "So, you think you've learned to balance on two feet, do you? Well, what about if I PUT WHEELS ON THEM? WHAT NOW, MOTHERFUCKER?"
Other activities included making and then canceling surgeries (total flake patient in one instance, and in another a patient who called in sick), cooking, and gnawing on vague anxieties caused by the alienation of modern life or half-remembered traumatic experiences or most likely fucked-up brain chemistry (there is a reason he likes the French movies).
ME: Are you having another
DAD: No, it's the same one. It's pretty much perpetual.
ME: Well, all right then. Want to go watch some previews?
My only regret was that he'd already seen John Carter
; that would've been a fun one to watch with him. I guess I'll have to figure out a similar movie for the next
time we hang out, just me and my dad.
*Okay, I laughed it off when he said it, but later it occurred to me that it kind of hurt my feelings. You don't hear me telling him
that the Doris Day movies he loves, which as far as I am concerned are grosser than Slither
and infinitely less funny, make him a bad person. And anyway, fuckin' Mister Rogers
liked Night of the Living Dead
, so YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID.
... Come to think of it, my sister and I inherited our love of bad horror from our paternal grandmother, which may or may not explain a lot about Dad's attitude toward horror.