To call my father “fastidious” would be akin to saying that “diet Coke tastes okay.” Sure, they’re both true statements, but they don’t quite delve into the true essence of the statement. I’d say he probably has some degree of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but I’d imagine it’s more the “compulsive” rather than obsessive part of the diagnosis.
(he reminds me too much of my daughter and her great range of Barbie dolls, which she obsessively fusses over)
When I was a wee Aunt Becky, rather than swatting me or yelling, he’d sit calmly in his chair, insist that I take a seat on the couch and begin to
drone on lecture me:
Dad: “Well you know, Rebecca, that I like my hairbrush to be on this specific shelf.”
Wee AB: “Yes.”
Dad: “And this morning, when I went to brush my remaining three hairs, it wasn’t on my shelf.”
Wee AB: “Yes.”
Dad: “This is a problem.”
Wee AB: “Yes.”
Dad: “I need my things to be where they are put.”
Wee AB: “Yes.”
(three hours later)
(by this time, I’ve already rearranged the features on his face to make him look like a Picasso and begun a letter to my Congressman about unfair lecturing by an adult to a minor)
Dad: “So, when I went to the bathroom this morning to find my hairbrush it wasn’t there.”
Wee AB: *stares at wall*
Dad: “REBECCA ELIZABETH, ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING?”
Wee AB: *nods*
Dad: “What did I say?”
Wee AB: *drones back* “I should always put your hairbrush away.”
Dad: “Right. Now, where was I?”
This tactic worked well on my brother, who’d have been wracked with guilt and pleading for forgiveness by this point, but I’m more of a quick, “hey put my crap back,” or “smack me across the face,” kinda girl. Always have been. My father has never understood that about me, so for years, I’d get The Lectures. It became a running joke once he realized that I wasn’t listening to him or feeling in the slightest bit guilty for committing such a heinous and unspeakable crime.
When it comes to his compulsiveness, though, nothing matches the way he feels about his car. Now most of you Pranksters know that I’m a bit of a car nut myself, but I’ve never had the opportunity to select a car for myself, so I don’t show the proper amount of respect for a car the way my father does. Someday I will and when I do, I am positive I’ll similarly warp my children.
Thursday evening, I’d left Not Chicago on time and had managed to wrangle my children into my CR-V without too much mayhem, which I considered a bonus. They were even wearing pants!
Sitting in the turn lane, waiting to make a left through “rush hour traffic,” I finally saw my opportunity and I took it. We sped off toward home for a nice night of lounging against the machine. Except… there was this rattling noise coming from the bottom of the car. Not the Oh CRAPBALLS You Blew A Tire noise, it was more You Ran Over A Branch, Moron,” so I wasn’t particularly concerned. I figured I’d lose the branch on the drive back to the FBI Surveillance Van or extract it when we arrived.
Alex sprang out of the car to examine it.
“Uh, Mom?” He said unhappily. “There’s something broken under there.”
I groaned. I’d just gone through the most ridiculously dramatic blown tire event of my life and now this? Really? I bent down to examine it. What appeared to be half a gigantic metal pill was, in fact, actually hanging off the bottom of my truck. Which meant absolutely nothing to me, which is I why I snapped a picture and sent it to The Twitter. Really, it’s the best course of action. The Twitter is ALL knowing.
Always a Daddy’s Girl, even after suffering the lectures about my improper placement of personal items, I called my father, who then stopped by on his way to visit my mother in the hospital, and explained the problem as I understand it to be. I sighed a little bit, cursed the CR-V and went about my night.
Until it dawned on me: I shouldn’t be driving the thing until that was fixed, and there was no way in balls I’d manage to get to the dealership for a couple of days.
Once again, I called my father, which I consider repayment for hours lost to lectures and asked him the most dreaded of all questions: “Can I borrow your car?”
Now, my father loves his car more than he loves his children, of this I am quite certain. Hours upon hours he spends babying the thing, carefully detailing it on his days off, making sure it’s beyond pristine. He’s so fastidious about his car that I normally refuse to ride in it for fear of somehow breaking it and being subjected to yet another lecture. I mean, I don’t breathe near the thing – my breath might contain something that could potentially damage it’s impeccable paint job. I don’t even look at the thing when I’m at my parents house, just in case my eyes somehow refract sunbeams onto the wrong spot and cause a dent.
So for me to ask to borrow it took a few Klonapin and a whole lot of “calm the balls down.” Honestly, I’d rather chug gasoline than ask him for this favor. He responded in a way most unlike him:
Not-So-Wee-AB: (deep breath) “Dad, can I borrow your car to get to work tomorrow in Not Chicago?”
Not-So-Wee-AB: “Are you feeling okay?”
Dad: “I’m fine. Hey, you do know how to drive stick, right?”
Not-So-Wee-AB: “Yes, Dad, you taught me.”
Dad: “And you were terrible.”
Not-So-Wee-AB: “No, I drove home in a winter storm. I’m excellent at working a manual – I miss the crapballs outta it.”
Dad: “Oh, that’s right. It’s the BIKE you had issues with. You were 11 before you could properly pedal.”
Not-So-Wee-AB: “Thanks for the reminder, Dad.”
Friday morning, bright and blurry, I drove my father’s car for the first time since he’d bought it, back when I was pregnant with Ben. And with the exception of the sixth gear, which I wasn’t accustomed to using, it was a blast.
He’s going to have a heck of a time dragging those keys out of my hands.