No curfews, Dad!After moving to California nearly 10 years ago, I noticed an interesting phenomenon. The farther away I was from my dad, the less he cared about my whereabouts.

It’s true. When 2000 miles away, I would sometimes go for more than a week without hearing from him. If I did manage to track him down via phone, I could barely keep him on the line for more than five minutes before whatever baseball/football/basketball/hockey game wrestled away his attention from me. However, when I would visit Chicago, my phone would blow up before I could even exit the plane. Once he confirmed that I did indeed make it safely into the Windy City, I would then be instructed to call him after getting my luggage. From there, I would be told to ring again when I got my rental car. Given that I hadn’t lived with my parents for many years, I’d typically rent a hotel room while in town. Inevitably, I would also be given orders to call after I checked in. One time, I stopped off to get something to eat. While waiting on my Subway Sandwich Artist to add a little sweet onion sauce to my veggie patty sub, I could hear my phone ringing. “You should be at the hotel by now.” My father’s tracking capabilities are scary.

Now that I’m actually living at home, his skills have only gained in strength. Should I leave to get groceries, grab a Starbucks, or even go for a run, I’m told ahead of time how long I should be.

“It shouldn’t take you more than a half-hour to pick up some Sprite and those Stouffer’s I asked for.”

“So, what? You’ll be gone until seven o’clock?”

“It’s getting dark. You’ll be back in an hour.” (Note, not a question.)

One of the reasons why I love what I do is because I don’t have a boss watching my every move. As long as I get my work done by the assigned deadline, no one is taking note of when I arrive to work or clock out for the night. To be honest, though, I was the one doing the watching and note-taking when I had my last office job. I didn’t even enjoy doing that for other people; hence, my decision to leave cubicle life behind. Now, a new boss is in town, and I live in his office.

Perhaps his behavior is in retaliation for my own militant antics. Pretty much on the quarter hour, you can hear me ask, “You okay? You need anything? You need a refill?” (He loves his Sprite.) My father has decided that the living room couch is the perfect place for mid-morning, post-noon, and early evening naps, so I’m usually drilling him with questions as I make my way to the kitchen for a bite to eat or my own refill. If he doesn’t answer me, I quite literally get in his face to see why. Apparently I’m not the twinkle toes I think myself to be because more than once I’ve startled him awake. “Huh? What? Yeah, I’m fine.”

Given that he recently received at-home oxygen, I’ve also become a fan of checking his O2 levels on a more-than-needed basis. This is in part because he could go unconscious if his oxygen runs too high. Also in part, I’m absolutely fascinated by how this tiny device can magically know how much oxygen is in your blood when clipped to the end of your finger. I test myself as often as my dad. When I hit 99, I feel as smug as if I just got a perfect score on the SATs.

My dad isn’t as mobile as he’s been in weeks past, which may also explain his ceaseless need to know where I am at all times. He’s still a dad, after all, so I’m sure there’s some protective thing going on. Given that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to accompany me for errands and the like, I think he just wants to know that I’m okay. And that’s cool. Probably for the better, too.

Did I mention that my dad is the worst backseat driver ever? I don’t need directions to the same Walgreen’s we’ve gone to at least 10 times now. Gah.

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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