It’s a common question: “What’s your dad do?” It’s natural for people to inquire after another’s parents, to gather information to assist in making those assessments of others that are in our nature to make. It’s a simple question, often with a similarly easy response. In my case, however, the answer is anything but simple.
My dad is a wargamer, I might say, but this will only instigate more questions, and next thing you know we’re having a whole different kind of discussion. I could say he has a certificate in massage, but he doesn’t actually “do” that, not for a living. I might go the retired Naval officer route, and list some of the volunteer work he does with several local organizations. That usually makes them nod, smile, make a polite comment and move on to other information-gathering questions. Such as, “What’s he like?” That one’s the real doozy.
To give you an example of how impossible it is to describe my father, I will share with you one recent snapshot of his life, taken yesterday morning.
David and I had just had breakfast at Bread & Cie. I was turning left onto University from 4th in the middle of Hillcrest when we heard a honk. “It’s your dad,” David said. I slowed my Mini so that Dad could pull his Harley up next to me. I’d seen him late the night before, when he’d come to collect David and me from the airport.
“It’s great having you back in town, baby!”
“Great to be back!” I raised my voice to make sure he could hear me through his helmet. “What are you up to?”
“I’m going to catch Louisa’s zumba class! I’ll give you a call later!” The light changed, and he sped away.
“That’s just like my dad,” I said to David. “Riding his manly motorcycle to zumba.”