he sits on the chair in front of me and tries to make conversation while I eat like there is no tomorrow. I have just come back from work, half crazed with hunger and totally bonkers with stress. my face is longer than a horse’s and my allergies are acting up again. there is a sign on top of my forehead that flashes “DANGER! APPROACH AT YOUR OWN RISK!”. yet, he still sits in front of me and asks me weird questions about preaproved credit lines and lottery winnings notification letters; tells me stories from his friends sons and daughters and gives me the 411 on grandma (she escaped home again and went to visit cousins in another city without telling anybody); shows me the daily purchases of produce at $0.30 less than uncle and asks me to check the computer he found on the street.
“who knows” he says “maybe we do not have to buy another one”. he feels guilty about infecting our computer with about 200 viruses from all the game sites he visits.
yet, he is an intelligent man (he made me). so far, i have never won an argument with him, and still use his strategy when trying to win one with somebody else. so why can’t he see the danger signs on my forehead? why does he insist on sitting with me evening after evening and just talking of very unimportant, very mundane things, of which he knows i have no interest or knowledge of?
i have to take my eyes off the book i am trying to read while eathing, so as not to appear rude. i can not be rude to my father. my mother maybe a little bit. but never to my father. i try to engage myself in the very interesting and competitive field of collard greens and gallon of milk. i give an opinion on grandma latest health craze and try desperately to remember what my daddy said three seconds ago. i translate the latest lottery winning notification and explain to him (amidst too many “you don’t care” stuff ) that they are not real, and are tailormade for naive emigrants like… his best friend’s daughter who used to call home and tell them she’d won the lottery anytime she got one. but i can’t compete with my father’s friend daugher. i am too full of myself to ever consider his suggestions, i think i know everything and i never listen. and yet i do.
in the middle of all that everinvolving conversation, i realize that i have closed my book, finished eating and let my stressful day go. i am tired yes, but i am not edgy and sour anymore. my dad kisses my brow and leaves, smiling his infuriating allknowing smile. mission accomplished.