circa 1985, h.p. india.

circa 1985, h.p. india.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

the ford guy.


there were four of us in my dad's car as we approached the underground garage of my parents' apartment building in toronto. having stopped on the steep downward slope, he hit the button of the remote garage door opener. then dad began looking for his non-sun-glasses. of course, by the time he switched glasses, the garage door had opened and closed, but he started the car rolling down the driveway anyway.

i was sitting in the passenger's seat and kept saying: "dad, stop. dad, stop," but he couldn't hear me. he also couldn't see that the door was closed or that we were about to smash into it. everyone in the car was asking, begging him to stop, louder and louder, until my mom hollered with a force that could make a pot of geraniums wilt: "DAVID STOP THE DAMN CAR!" that did it. he slammed on the brakes just as the nose of his ford was an inch from the door, and he barked petulantly: "oh for god's sake. you would think that with all the money we pay in condo fees that the management could at least fix the damn door!"

he really shouldn't have been driving. but, he was a smart, crafty man who figured out how to pass his test each year. had they actually tested his actual driving, he actually would not have passed, actually. no way. at the ripe old age of ninety-one, he decided he wanted a new car. there was nothing wrong with the one he had, and my brother was vehemently opposed to him wasting 'our' money in that fashion, but i encouraged him to go ahead. i told him to take his time, enjoy the process. in fact, i even went around to a few dealerships with him. eventually, the old guy drove home a brand spanking new, big black ford and he could not have been happier.

by my next visit, about three weeks later, the vehicle looked ten years old. it was like the car had a rare genetic disorder, the rapid aging disease. there were white streaks all up and down each dented side and the mirrors were hanging down like, well, like wilted geraniums. i wondered why those mammoth streaks along each side were white until it occurred to me that there were white concrete pillars all over the large underground parking lot with blackened chunks taken out of them. when we'd drive along people, who had very nearly been run off the road by dad, would shake their fists at him. he'd look over and remark: "what the hell's wrong with them(?)"

now, i've never been able to understand how people can be so sure of an afterlife. when i read comments, as i did recently after an article about an actor tragically losing his child, that he should take solace in the knowledge that they would be re-united one day, i roll my eyes. what does that even mean? and how do they know that? my dad once said he did not understand my belief in reincarnation. to my knowledge, i had never mentioned the concept to the old guy and i didn't know anything about it. he said: "you people all believe in reincarnation." when someone says 'you people,' of course you've been pigeon-holed, categorized, stereotyped, nailed down so to speak.

so, at that point i just said: "well, if there is such a phenomenon as reincarnation i hope i'm reborn as your son again." he simply waved at me and remarked in his usual way: "oh yeah, you think you're so clever." but, i'll tell you one thing. if i am ever re-united with my old dad, i sure as hell hope he isn't driving at the time. 

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