My dad appeared on Christmas Eve at the family get-together. Although I knew this was a distinct possibility, I was still secretly hoping he’d just skip it. He was a couple of hours late and left early.
When he walked/hobbled/limped in the door (Charlie and I had bet earlier that he would come in with a cane, or asking for physical assistance), he came straight over to the chair next to me, sat down, and began to tell me that his mom had told him we weren’t going to be there. “Oh?” I said. “That’s odd. She knew we were coming,” and I nodded to all of the packages under the tree for Bea.
He said I looked good, that Chicago has been good for me. At first, I just said thank you, and that we liked it a lot. But after I thought about it a bit, I wondered if there was a deeper meaning to that comment. Was it merely a compliment, or was it him absolving himself of any responsibility he had to pay us back? I mean, if I look good, I must be eating well. My clothes are clean and nice, so I must be living well. Translation: we must be capable of paying our rent and buying food.
He then made up some shit about how he’d opened an account in Bea’s name and the information was being sent to our house. “I took your advice and, rather than buying her toys, wanted to contribute.” This was a suggestion we’d made to other people when they asked what we wanted when she was first born. He remembered this one statement from two and a half years ago, but doesn’t seem to recall the fact that I had to take out student loans for grad school. He apparently told several members of our family that I got a “free ride” to Chicago and didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket. Jackass.
The account for Bea business worries me, though:
A.) I would not use any account he opened for fear he would take every dime we put into it.
B.) You can’t open an account in another person’s name without that person’s Social Security number. If he has access to that, I will be extremely worried and upset.
The process of checking a minor’s credit is complicated — copies of Social Security cards, birth certificates, driver’s licenses, etc… From what I’ve read, the credit agencies are terrible about getting back with parents who are worried about identity theft, so after you go through all the hoops they have set up, they’ll just ignore your request and then you have to file a complaint with someone else to get the credit agencies to follow through. Sigh.
So then my dad went on to complain about his medication, that he hadn’t ordered it, and was having all sorts of physical problems as a result. I didn’t really know what to say to that. It was clearly an I-didn’t-bring-a-gift-for-you-so-I’ll-pretend-I-didn’t-know-you-were-going-to-be-here, followed by an I’m-so-miserable-and-sick-and-poor-feel-sorry-for-me. Whatever.
He pretty much stuck in the kitchen, speaking to whomever would hang around in there long enough. Eventually, he went outside to smoke his pipe. I ran into him, where he began this really long, convoluted, weird conversation about oscillation, microwaves, and moving things across time and space. I couldn’t recall the specifics, because it was all so strange and nonsensical. After I went back inside, I had to wonder what purpose that “conversation” served.
On the way home, Charlie and I were talking about it, and he said, “Well, he’s just trying to sound crazy.”
“Yeah,” I said. “But, isn’t wanting people to think you’re crazy actually kind of crazy?”
All in all, it wasn’t that painful. When I first saw his car pull up, my stomach did a flip flop. But after he’d settled inside, it was just mildly awkward. He could tell I was being extremely cool toward him, so he didn’t attempt to butter me up. Instead, he played the pity card, but I didn’t bite, so he got bored and went to another room.
He left before anyone else, and didn’t say a word to me on his way out the door. Granted, I kept my head down, pretend-texting when he was making the rounds. But I just didn’t want to interact with him any longer.
A few days after we got back from Indy, we received some stuff from our Amazon WishLists. I got a $17 hat; Charlie received a $60 PS3 video game. I’m assuming this was my dad’s attempt to get something to us, despite the fact that he probably didn’t order them until after Christmas. And what’s with the discrepancy? Again, I’m probably looking too deeply into this, but if he’s so broke, why is he purchasing a brand new PS3 game for Charlie? And why do I get a gift that’s a third of that cost? Why couldn’t he just get something that was ten bucks for each of us?
There was no note inside the boxes, no way of identifying who sent the gifts. And, we have yet to receive that “account information” for Bea. Now I’m thinking I should do that credit check, though, just to be sure.