Sunday, November 23, 2008

Escapism

My parents are divorced. I was out of the house and 22 when it happened - give or take. It started the day after our big farm sale, the year Dad decided it was time to hang up the farm gear and just lease our property.

I don't know how long Mom knew Dad was cheating on her. I've never asked, and to be honest, I don't think I want to ever know. Its bad enough that *I* knew for at least a year and a half before hand, and my brother had figured it out about six months before hand. I still feel sorry for him sometimes when I think about it. He was just going into college and hadn't moved out of the house yet when they seperated.

I'll never forget that day as long as I live, not matter how much I'd like to.

Needless to say, I have some rather strong feelings about hipocrits, marriage, and divorce because of it. But, thats another blog post.

My Dad was in town today. We held season tickets for all the NDSU Bison Home Games this year. He's an alumni and I spent a semester there way back in my first attempt at college. (I still don't have a degree, but I'd like one, eventually.) Its been moderately fun, though I admit that seeing my dad that frequently wears on me a bit. We think a lot a like, him an I (which makes sense, he's my father, and instilled a lot of values in me... a lot of them I still hold dear, even if I have trouble reconciling what he did with what he taught.) but we're very different beasts.

Dad doesn't find a lot of enjoyment in much anymore. I remember the days he used to love flying, how he enjoyed teaching me to shoot, or learning something new together. And of course, his endless projects.

I don't think he enjoys flying as much as he used to. Might have something to do with the fact that he met the woman who he allowed to help end his marriage through flying an airshows.

He doesn't enjoy shooting anymore, or reading - which he used to do quite a lot of.

No, these days he spends his time working on his new house (which feels very.. impersonal to me. Its a nice house, but its a bastardized copy of the house we lived in while I was growing up), fixing his vehicles. which like mine are always perpetually finicky. (I think I got that quality from him too... at least I'm mechanically inclined enough to put them back together most of the time) or spending time with my brother or I. When he can't do any of that, he endlessly watches seasons of 24...

My brother is an Industrial engineer, and immediately after college moved out to the east coast. Now his girlfriend, who'd also just graduated was moving out there, but I think the real push for Mark was the fact that he wanted to get as far away from the parents as he could. I envy him that a bit, but I like North Dakota too much to leave, and honestly at least for the moment, have no reason to leave.

I have no proof of this, but I know he doesn't have to put up with monthly (or bi-monthly) visits from the parents, and he sure seems more chipper about it then I do.

But I'm getting off topic. I started thinking about this change in my fathers behavior patterns. And it occured to me that most of the things he claims to not like doing anymore, are things that he used to do with friends... who he never sees anymore. Since he got divorced he's been pretty much persona non grata with a lot of them.

Its probably just a defense mechanism on his part... but it is a sad thing.

We all die alone, as the saying goes, but my father has gone from a full and enjoyed life, with friends, family plenty to do and look forward to... to a cold lonely existance. He makes the best of it - but only just. He's my father, and as much as I hate him on occasion, I still love him. Its frequently stressful when he's around, but I'll continue to put up with it, on occasion.

Because I will never hate him enough to take that away from him. He may have become an Escapist in many ways... but he's still my father.

1 comment:

The Old Man said...

Amigo, I don't feel your exact pain but - I found out circuitously that my old man had been squiffing his secretary after he died. My ma had died 5 years earlier than he and he had remarried, but I think the affair had a life of at least 10 years.

He's now been gone 12 years. Yah, it sucks to be "The Old Man" after your dad dies but it is necessary. Sack up, then and now.
Right now he probably needs more support from you than he ever did before. You know that you're doing the right thing even though you feel very uneasy. Everybody needs love, because reality is a stone-cold bitch. Besides, you'll feel better and so will he.

"I am not Dr Phil, nor do I play him on television,"