What I would love on Father’s Day is to wake up early, take a shower, ride the elevated train to a neighborhood in Chicago where I’d bring only a book, a pen and my journal. I’d be free from cell phone conversations, orders or requests, complaints or e-mail messages of any kind. I’d read for as long as I want, take a walk if I wish, and go home after the sun had set. Just a day to myself without anyone dumping their issue on me. That would be a dream.
The most challenging thing about being a parent is the necessary patience. I’m constantly solving someone else’s problem, both at work and at home, and I usually wake up with some plan on how I’ll take care of *that* problem today. While I’m in the process of dealing with it, I’ll get one or two more requests. I’m nowhere near finished with the first one and here are two more that I need to deal with. People dump them on you with the assumption that this is what you’re there for.
There’s this fantasy that I’ll finally fix all the problems, set up the machine, then sit back and watch it hum. It will never happen. That fantasy is torture.
What is my idea of torture on Father’s Day? Getting dragged some place where I’ll have to be patient with a waitstaff that has no interest in serving anyone, and with guests who come to the place only out of a sense of obligation and duty, a mass of waste left on the table in the end. That’s the kind of thing that leaves me fantasizing of self-immolation. I could set myself on fire and jump in a hey stack.
Father’s Day, as a gesture, is quite kind. It’s interesting that it exists. I’d be interested in conducting a study to see what percentage of dads wake up on Father’s Day to be told what they’ll be doing for Father’s Day.
(Does anyone remember the days when you’d leave the house an NO ONE could call you. When I was in college, I could have announced that I’m driving to Arizona, then gone to the woods to shoot myself and no one would have known for four days. On the fifth, maybe someone would have started wondering what was wrong. By that time, the crows would have finished pecking my carcass off.)
This Father’s Day, let’s throw all cell phones in a burning barn.