02 November 2007


i just talked with mom and she said that the guys (my father and brother) are going to change her oil tomorrow and look at her brakes.  which means that there is NO way in hell (or here in mississippi or there in arkansas; all of them are the same place) that she will get on the road tomorrow.  and maybe not even sunday.

this is because my father has taught my brother well.  i know other men (and women, too no doubt) are good about procastination; but my father, he is truly the master-procast'er.  i am but a mere grasshopper.   not that i want to be anything but, at least in this area of putting off til next year what should have been done last week.

my dad, bless his heart, manages to make a fifteen minute job spread over four hours (and that's on a fast/bad day; his best times for the fifteen minute job are:  first place, never.  second place, 25 yrs.  third place, 7 yrs.  fourth place, 2 months.  after that, it is hardly worth counting).  changing the oil can take a good week of total focus for my father.  in case you think i jest, let me give you a sample of the last time i let my father change my oil (cuz, he reasoned, it would save me money so that i could make my trip from his home (which then was in pa) to my home (which was then in ga); stupidly i thought so too, not realizing that what i saved in money was not worth what i spent in time).  the task went something like this:

Preparation:  (if only i had my father's notes from this event from over 10 yrs ago, i know he still does!)  first, make a lengthy and detailed list of all steps, tools, instructions, and dance moves necessary.  pause often during the writing of this list so that he can make coffee, fix his cup of coffee, drink his cup of coffee; discuss the quality of materials, where i should buy said filter and oil, and which brands are to be avoided at all cost (and why).  the discussion can cover (and does) hours and hours.  arguments and debates ensue as the myriad of multitude of guy friends stop by to also have coffee (which means that more pots of coffee must be made, followed by the ritualistic preparation of the perfect cup with precisely the right ratio of sugar/cream/coffee/air).  the discussion of materials for the oil change has now shifted into the pontification of perfect coffee.  the discussion then branches into particular types of beans of coffee with the arrival of pete (who never drinks coffee but only beer, and has much curiosity of the coffee selection and grinding and making and drinking process).  the apartment now has so much testosterone in it that i feel myself growing balls the size of grapefruit (and find myself scratching and rearranging them often).  the sun has set, so the Great Oil Change of the Summer of 96 must wait til tomorrow.

Day Two:  We all straggle into the kitchen (social mecca) at various times, much imbibing of coffee commences (i didn't LIKE coffee, the texture is all wrong, it should have a more substantial body instead of being liquid; so i chewed the used grounds, and learned to spit from the skoal tuckin' good ol boys).  by the time we have all began to say sentences instead of merely pointing and grunting, it is now after noon and lunch must be contemplated.  this entire time, my father has carried the list and pencil with him so that he can add notes and check over it often.  the list has now become an outline with several pages (backs of envelops), complete with roman numerals, capital letters, numbers, and little letters.  he has began to list which tools MAY be needed at each stage of the process.  this includes parts and tools which may be kept on hand, at the ready, just in case they are needed.  my father deploys josh and bobbert and pete to locate the chainsaw.  we run out of coffee beans.  josh cannot find his chapstick.  hal and jim are sent to the store to get cream and coffee.  josh finds the stick of super glue my father lost 3 yrs prior to that.  pete screams like a little girl from the depths of the big garage.  josh has sealed his lips together (but can't tell anyone he did so).  bobbert rushes into the kitchen sweating and gasping.  hal and jim arrive with the coffee and MILK.  must return to store to get CREAM.  pete must be taken to the clinic for a tetanus shot and 25 stitches because he sliced his arm open on a rusty nail.  bobbert goes too, because he has been bitten by spiders and 3 snakes.  hal returns because he forgot money.  josh must also go to the clinic because he tried to use acetone to unseal his lips.  pete is now drunk on rolling rock, yet insists he drive the guys to the clinic.  my father remembers that he loaned the chainsaw to doug and makes a note (on a different list) to call doug to retrieve chainsaw.

things continued in this fashion while i sneaked from the house and drove my car to a garage and got the oil changed.  i then went to visit my mom and several friends.  when i returned to my father's 5 days later, he was still making a list and there was a chainsaw sitting on the kitchen counter next to the coffee-maker.  he said that doug heard about The Oil Change Project and brought it by, cuz he was sure they would need it.

I may not see mom til next decade.

1 comment:

  1. An odd but strangely practical family dynamic going on there!  ;)



Thanks for taking the time and effort to let your thoughts be known!