Thursday, January 10, 2008

Just call me Debbie Downer.

I haven't been posting because I've been very busy and very grouchy. And I didn't want to be a downer, so I didn't write anything.

But I did something weird and maybe stupid and out of character (no, not another Norrissing): I googled my dad. And now I'm a downer, so brace yourselves.

My dad wasn't around when I was a kid. He wasn't really a deadbeat; the checks always came, but they were small and uncertain. I don't want to mischaracterize a man I barely know, but what I most strongly remember was the month that he called to tell us that we would not be receiving a check because he wanted to take my brother to Disney World and couldn't swing child support too. At that time we could barely swing food.

I can only remember two of his visits (maybe there were only two, I don't know, my memory is notoriously crap).

One was when he came out to Vegas on an unrelated-to-me trip and we went to Circus Circus and I showed him my awesome hoop shooting skills. I didn't know at the time, but I guess dad gambled a bit more than he should have on that trip and found himself in a very tight spot.

The other was when he told me he would come for my high school graduation. And actually did. My father was filled with promises when I was a child, but never came through on any of them- except this one. He showed up at my uncle's house while I was at the beach. No warning. I just received a call telling me to hurry over because my dad was there with my brother. He came to my graduation and was mad when I went to the all night party afterwards with my cousin instead of to dinner with him. He didn't understand that my Auntie had paid for me to go and that to me $60 was a lot of money. When I got home that morning he had already left to take my brother camping in BC. It was just another vacation to him. He didn't even leave me a voicemail.

So years later when I called him and told him that I couldn't keep announcing my life on fancy stationary and wondering if or when he would show, I was surprised when he told me he would buy a ticket right then and meet me in Tokyo.

The next day I raced to the library to email him back (because I'm an idiot) and found he'd created this whole vacation around visiting me. That he, his wife (number unknown), and my brother were going to come over for a vacation tour of Japan, led by that other kid of his, the who speaks Japanese. I told him no. I told him that I would stop over in Indiana on my way back to Philly in the fall. That we could talk and bond (because I'm an idiot). He was insistent. I told him I'm not a tour guide, or some thing to brag about, but never have to be responsible for. He got angry. And I never talked to him again, which considering I hadn't spoken to him in nearly three years anyway was not much of a big deal.

I'm sometimes embarrassed when people ask about my dad, but whatever. It is as though he doesn't even exist. So now why would I wait 7 years and google him?

I don't know. I think maybe I'm a crazy person.

I hope my Norrissing and this act of the bizarre are unrelated, although I can't imagine how they can be. I'm sure a psych major would have a field day.

But maybe this is just part of having an estranged parent. Maybe I'm just stupid and want to reconnect with someone who has never been good to me in order to suffer more abuse- that seems nice and girly.

Or maybe a secret longing to forgive him, that comes with the realization that we all make mistakes and it has been a long time.

Anyway, I feel dumb. Dumb for caring. Dumb for even contemplating something that is the first step to exposing myself to the possibility of being hurt again. Just dumb.

I did find him. His pictures on some sports website. He looks good; I'm glad. I guess he quit distance running and has re-devoted himself to competing at mixed martial arts (ala ultimate fighting). He has some impressive guns for a 50 year old.


cymberleah said...

I would say that it's not stupid and not dumb to google your dad. It's not a bad thing to look at people who were in your life and wonder where they are now. If you take the information you found and use it to construct a fantasy where you take many martial arts classes, stalk him to a tournament, fight him, win, etc. then it's a bit much. But just wanting to know what he's up to, if he's alive, if he's broken... those are natural things to wonder about, and thanks to the wonders of google, you can now find out without actually having the person you're curious about find out.

If you had been estranged and entered a letter writing campaign to all local newspapers in hopes of some mention of him? That's a lot of effort, and says something different than typing his name into a search engine and seeing what comes up.

qtilla said...

So I SHOULDN'T try to become an ultimate fighting champ?
Phew! He would kick my ass. And look prettier doing it. :o)

Stupid Google, this is all their fault!

cymberleah said...

Well, you could still try if that's what you really wanted. One just hopes you'd have better reasons for the bruises and pain and all. Because if the main reason for becoming a fighting champ is to meet our dad, a phone call would probably work better. All in all.

And yes, Google makes creepy stalkers out of us all.