Sunday, March 09, 2008

My Malicious Child

Hawaii, Photobucket
My daughter is such a loser. I know, I know. A father is supposed to love and cherish their little darlings no matter what nonsense or adventures they get themselves into. And do it without judgement or conditions. But I am not happy with her right at the moment.

She calls me up yesterday at the bike shop about 5:00. Outside my shop, the rain has been coming down for hours and still there are literally mountains of snow piled anywhere available. With me looking out on this dreary miserable wind down to a very brutal winter, she asks me, "Uh Dad, do you know someone on Team CRUM who might know where I can rent a bike in Hawaii when I fly out there this next week?"

Being the dutiful but dumass typical father, I immediately assume she is in need of my years of experience and wisdom. And I begin to seriously address her concerns about where to score a bike for her off time between softball games at the University of Hawaii. The entire discussion spent engrossed in conversation relating to her having a good time while in a tropical paradise for 6 days. I forget about my miserable existence dealing with weather best forgotten as soon as it passes, but has burned itself into my memory as one the all time worst winters I have lived through in Maine. I forget my own pain and throw my soul completely into her service. What a great Dad I was being. Dope is more like it.

She tells me the one other serious cyclist going with the team said he found a place that rented road bikes. But her heart is in the woods and the dirt. She wants a mountain bike, even if it never sees anything under the sneakers but tar. Being of a similar bent, I nod and understand. A road bike may get you there faster, but it really keeps you glued to the street. A mountain bike on the other hand will always make the street a breeze and if you happen to come across an enticing little dirt trail, you can head off the beaten track. More options with a mountain bike.

We end the call with me promising to ferret out what information I can and firing off an email ASAP. She's leaving on Monday, so of course she calls me on Saturday. Somewhere this is a written rule I am sure. The one that makes our children call with their little emergencies at the last minute. Some sort of genetic mental block is in force to prevent decent planning when this whole expedition was formulated in the first place. The block does not disappear until they have children of their own. I have learned it does no good to point this out to my child of 24. After 24 years both of us have become used to this system. No recriminations on my part and she doesn't have to feel guilty in front of me. All of that crap is taken for granted.

Mutual "Love Ya, Miss Ya's" and we hang up.

It was not until I had worked my fingers to the bone googling, forming a lengthy email of at least 100 words and a couple of links did it dawn on me there was the possibility of some devious and mean motives on her part. I am sitting in front of one of those touristy pictures of Hawaii just like the one at the top of the post and I think, "Damn it sure sucks to be me. I'm not going to Hawaii. But my daughter who I slaved years of my life away for and sacrificed so much for is. And now she calls me up with some trumped up excuse just to rub it in my face.

Have a nice trip Lis. Remember, pay back's a bitch.


More on Hawaii as this trip Lis is taking brought back some memories. You have been warned.

I lived in Hawaii as a young lad in the late 1950s. My dad was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base. This hotel on Waikiki Beach, "The Royal Hawaiian" was the last Hotel on the beach at that time. Nothing but coconut trees and sand from there all the way to Diamond Head. If you look at the picture at the top and remove every single one of those monstrous hi-rises, you might get an idea of what it looked like. My family spent a lot of time at the Hawaiian. Mom and Dad would plop me on the beach and head inside for drinks. I had a great time.

I know I do not harbor the well remembered memories of that time an adult would have filed away. My memories of Hawaii are all jumbled up, exaggerated, and missing huge chunks due to having had the experience at the age of 5 and 6. But the few memories that have hung in there still come back to me crystal clear and sharp.

Weekends spent at Bellows Beach in the cottage on the rocks overlooking the blowhole. The time I watched the huge Hawaiian Life guard I used to bother incessantly suddenly jump up, run into the ocean and then minutes later pull some poor bastard out who had been attacked by a shark. That was my first remembered experience of blood in huge amounts. His wound was not fatal, but his leg was a mess of blood and torn tissue.

I remember winning the state freestyle championship for 8 and under. I remember it well because I did not want to compete. I was only 6 and felt seriously intimidated by those huge 7 and 8 year old kids. My brothers literally dragged me up to the blocks. Shaking and quivering I started and was in dead last off the blocks but then 25 yards later came out of the pool as a winner. Everyone was cheering. And then I was okay with it.

I remember being a pain in the ass for the AP's on base. They had to bring me home after curfew more than a couple of times. And how unimpressed Dad was about it.

I remember we were quartered right across from the parade grounds. And my school was just a short walk from there, but I never consistently showed up with both shoes on my feet. Damn, that pissed off my mom. I never understood why she did not believe me when I said I had lost them.

I remember the swim team went on a bus to a swim meet and when we all got back in the bus, one of the nice ladies who helped with the team stood up in the front of the bus and held up a small pair of whitey tighty underpants. In a voice that split the kid noise like a knife she loudly asked who they belonged to. Mortified because the bare ass inside my shorts told me they were mine, I kept mum. They never did find out whose undies they were. I was guilt ridden for days until I finally owned up to it to my mom. She looked at me oddly and then just laughed and gave me a hug.

I remember the National Geographic magazines at school in First grade were my first exposure and acknowledgement of naked bodies. Us guys followed the lead of the bigger kids giggling and laughing as one of them turned the pages and pointed to exposed breasts. I am sure I had no clue why, but they were giggling, so it must have been funny.

I recollect endless cocktail parties on the lanai of our house while Dad and all his officer buds barbecued, drank hard and in the wee hours told really dirty jokes. I used to fall asleep to the sound of clinking glasses, thick clouds of tobacco smoke and sporadic roars of laughter.

I remember playing in the DDT fog sprayed out of the back of the spraying truck that did regular rounds on the base. It smelled good and the truck drove slow enough we could run behind it.

Witnessing the last fist fight my older brothers ever had. They were 13 and 14 years older than me so their fight was with the bodies of young men at the hard body age of 18 and 19. They were on the front lawn going at each other like strangers in a bar fight. I was sure they would kill each other and was scared to death. Then my father came out and tried to wrestle them apart. He was flung to the ground. I really started to panic sure now someone was going to die. But Dad just got up and walked over to them as they were locked together in a mutual death grip. He bent down, stuck his fist between them and brought it up hard. They seperated like a stick of firewood being split. Doug fell down bleeding from the nose and Joe sat down hard. Problem solved.

It's odd the different things and situations that trigger memories. It is always a pleasure though when the trigger fires off good ones. Well mostly good ones.

I'm gone.


Carlita said...

My dad remembers his father closing all the windows in the house to exterminate with DDT. It's a wonder kids make it to adulthood, isn't it?

I tagged you on my blog yesterday, by the way.

Lis said...

Daddy, I am astonished and hurt that you think I would ever call you to rub it in your face. I was not, I purely wanted to ask for a favor at the last moment, in true Crum fashion. :) Anyway, too bad I never could find any bike places, not that there was any MTB to be had....Honolulu was pretty lame for that stuff. Love you! Miss you! :)