Feb 15, 2005

A Tribute to Big Bad Bob

This morning, I talked to the exact person I have been wanting to talk to for a long time now. Well, not the exact person, but it was close enough.

I decided this morning, that it was much too cold, and I was much too lazy, to walk to the bus stop after work. I really didn't have the funds for a cab ride, but I figured that payday was soon approaching and I could do without a pack of smokes, so I picked up the phone, and called my burned out self a taxi. When I hopped in the cab, the first thing I noticed, was that the cab driver looked eerily similar to my Uncle David. So I told him so, and off we went. It was the longest cab ride I have taken in my life, as the city workers decided to block off one of the main drags with many an orange cone, during morning rush hour traffic, and then apparently go for coffee for the day. Our conversation quickly turned to our stories of working for the Department of Highways, and then he started telling me about how he only drove cab when he wasn't away working his regular job. He was a crane operator for O.E., and was waiting for a call, and was hoping to be sent to Alberta to work on the pipeline. I immediatly perked up. He talked and talked about how patient you must be to do that job. You wait for calls, you sleep in your car, you get sent far away from your family for months at a time, and much of your 16 hour day is spent sitting in your equipment, waiting for someone to move something out of the way so you can work....you can't move it yourself, because that would be taking away someone else's job....union policy. I knew all about it already, as I had heard my father talk about the exact same things for my whole entire life. The only difference today was that, I was actually listening. Not that I didn't ever listen to my father talk about his job, I did, but sometimes, it was just too over my head. I was in my 20's before I actually started to understand how hard it must have been for him. Driving for hours at a time, on a moments notice, to get to some shithole, that didn't have a vacant hotel room for the next 2 weeks, never really knowing how long you were going to be there until the job was done and you were laid off, then heading home for an unknown amount of time, to live off unemployment. My dad was always proud of the work he did on the road, and loved to attempt to tell the family stories of the amazing things he helped to construct, and the crazy characters he had to work with every night. And we were proud of him too, but unfortunatly, he didn't hear that enough. Talking to that cab driver, really made my day.

I was fortunate enough to break my leg last year and have to move back in with my parents for a few months. Not that I was happy about it at first, but something in the universe, knew that it had to happen. I never have gone home for visits as much as I should have, and because of work, I have missed alot of phone calls and holidays with my family over the years. This event, threw me right smack dab into my parents life without kids at home, and I'm glad I got to see it through my own adult eyes.

My dad and I ended up spending alot of time together, since he was laid off for the majority of the time I was home, and had just retired from his second job. I thought he was going through some sort of mid-life crisis. He talked alot about his decisions in life, and things he could have done, women he could have been with, other places he could've chosen to live.....and even though all of those choices seemed better, looking back on them, he was truly happy that he chose Small Town, my mom, and that he had GQ, Film Star and me. I believed him, but I got the impression that he wished he could go back 30 years, and start all over again. But don't we all want that sometimes? I started to notice, after he had gone away to Alberta for a couple weeks to work, that his attitude had perked up (although he was getting a bit sick of me being on his couch!). It was about this time, that he was going to the doctor alot, and coming home every day and telling me he was perfectly healthy. I knew that was a load of bullshit, I could see he wasn't. But, for the one and only time in my life, I decided to keep my mouth shut, and just let life go on, without a gruelling question and answer period and inevitable screaming match. Dad was happy, the weather was warm, Shmeed and Film Star were home, so I just tried to enjoy it.

Eventually, my leg was good enough for me to go back to my apartment in the city, and Dad and I were both going stir crazy and driving each other nuts. (we're both Aquarius and wanted to run the household our way!) I headed back to the city, and went back to my old ways of not communicating. But good old dad, called me every morning to make sure I was looking after myself, and to rouse me from a good sleep. He knew I wasn't happy, he knew I had been happy in Small Town, even though I thought when I was there I was missing out on something in the city. He didn't know what to say to make me happy. He did however know how to make me cry every morning, but I don't think he did that on purpose.

After five and a half months of laughing and arguing with Dad every morning, I went back to work, and wasn't around for his daily phone call. GQ and I had a fight, and even when I went to Small Town for a weekend, I didn't go to my parents house, except for a short afternoon visit, and dad wasn't there, he was out at an auction sale. A week later, GQ and Red had to track me down in the middle of the night, to tell me that my dad had died. I will always respect them for having to be the bearers of that horrible news, and dealing with me the way they did.

The week following, I heard alot of "This will get easier in time", and the like. I am realizing though, that for me, it isn't getting any easier. I dealt with everything at the time, as I should have, as the eldest child. Shit happens, and life has to go on, is my motto. But I miss my dad more and more every day. It hasn't gotten easier at all. I think of all the things he's going to miss out on, and all the things I hadn't said to him.

When the phone rings early in the morning, I always wish it to be him, calling to annoy me with something,to yell at me, or to ask me some ridiculous question. It's strange, when you realize the things you never think that you will miss, the things that drive you crazy, really are what drive you to be, well.... you.

I miss you Dad.

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