My father’s back in town. You may remember him from the days of his canary yellow hairdo that was one of the highlights of his visit last summer (obvious pun alert). Try as I might, my father is a very difficult presence to ignore – for reasons both mundane and, often, insane. Yesterday a bizarre car-towing incident occurred which I thought must be recorded.
After much humming and hawing about whether his hair was long enough for a trim, my father departed in his ill-fated car to see Edwin, his hairdresser. An hour or so later, I had an appointment to meet a friend outside his new place of work to congratulate him upon getting a job after months of looking for one (Why don’t you come see me after work? You know, where I work now. At my job. Did I mention I work?).
I spent about twenty minutes with my friend outside the blessed cafe of employment, watching his eyes all a-twinkle as he talked at length about his work schedule, days off, the cafe dress code and how he has “an apron and everything”. I was in the middle of asking him to join me at the library the next day just so that he could say “as long as it doesn’t interfere with my work,” when my phone rang with a desperate father on the other end.
“Alyzee, are you home? Go home. My car’s just been towed. What do you mean “again”? Stop laughing, this is serious. Stop laughing! Mum doesn’t have the keys and you need to let her in. And also I need you to go home and get my driver’s license and meet me at Pacific Central Station. Okay? Okay. Quickly!”
The day before yesterday my father spent much more than he needed to on car servicing to the profound irritation of my mother. I wasn’t wrong in assuming she’d be even further provoked by my father’s latest auto antics. Turns out I didn’t get home in time to let my mother in, and I found her angrily boiling lentils in the kitchen, having climbed into the house through my bedroom window. I am often locked out myself and so have taken to leaving my window open a crack for such rainy days, and other members of the family occasionally benefit from my foresight. My mother’s mood was in no way improved by the fact that she had spent the day fasting as many Muslims do for the month of Ramadan.
“Here I was excited to come home early for once and then your father has to do a thing like this,” she fumed, muttering something about how she has to break into her own house like a thief just to make dinner. “Here!”, she snapped with obvious low-blood sugar as she handed me the forgotten license, and off I went to catch two buses and rescue my father.
Meanwhile the offending parent was killing time at the Pacific Central Station where a camera crew was filming. When I found him, he told me he had positioned himself strategically so that he would be a prominent member of the set background. “Good thing I had my hair trimmed,” he mused as we made our way to the Impound Lot.
Before we went in he warned me to look as solemn as possible when we went into the ticket office in case they stuck us with another ticket for not looking repentant enough.
When we had been safely repossessed of our car, my father gingerly began asking questions about my mother’s mood. When he learned that she’d had to climb in through the window, he thought it would be safest if he too, didn’t come in through the front door where he would be in plain sight of my mother and retribution. His idea was to get in through my window, shut my bedroom door, and lie in my bed quietly to delay his reckoning for as long as he could.
I thought he had been joking until I he was climbing in through my bedroom window after me, with his shoes in hand to aid his silence. I thought that that was as far as the shenanigans would go, but he really did want to hide in my room to escape his fate, and wanted me to do the same so no one would know we were home. Now I’d been pretty flexible so far and didn’t want to be trapped in my room, so we argued in loud whispers until I decided that enough was enough.
I found my mother watching TV, looking all the more like a formidable movie villain as she was doing this wearing her sunglasses (having misplaced her clear spectacles, I assume). When I told her where my father was and what he was doing, she had a hard time containing her laughter, and marched in to my room to sort him out. I guess the comedy of the whole thing negated any “sorting out” that was to happen, as soon my father was persuaded out of his hideout to eat his stew, and the incident was forgotten.
My father wants to go to City Hall to dispute the towing, with me as a witness. I’m going to pretend not to hear him and change the subject next time he mentions it. Somehow I think relating the above story to the Municipal Court will make matters worse. Better let them believe we are quiet, law abiding citizens and leave it at that.