Grocery shopping. The store was not particularly well designed, as there was a small flight of stairs separating two parts of the store. That’s no problem if you have a basket, but I had a cart full of groceries. I thought it ill-advised to attempt the stairs, but I was able to ask a friend for help. I haven’t seen David R in several years, but he was there with his sister, Stephanie R, and between the three of us I got down to the second level.
I immediately abandoned my cart and found myself in a small, very natural section of the store. The whole place had a rustic feel, as though it was a grocery inside the idea of a log cabin. This corner of the store, however, existed in almost outdoor conditions - there were plants growing in the corners, in particular a small growth of bamboo in which I met a peculiar man.
He was trying to pee in the bamboo without attracting too much attention. I got the idea that it wasn’t a huge problem to pee in one of the natural corners of the store, but might be slightly taboo or embarrassing if someone called him out on it.
I provided a distraction or cover for him as he finished up, and he took a real shining to me. He was a nice guy, and I liked and trusted him immediately. As we walked through the store together, I couldn’t help but notice that his penis was still dangling out of his pants, innocently forgotten. It was too awkward to say anything and almost too awkward not to. I chose to ignore it and hope no one else noticed.
For whatever reason, I wound up catching a ride with the peculiar man, and we followed my friends down the highway. I can’t remember what we talked about, but he quickly established a pleasant, paternal relationship with me. It was all mildly inexplicable but thoroughly enjoyable. After a few minutes, I asked him to turn around and take me back to the store, as my car was parked there anyway. He was embarrassed that he had driven me away from my own car in his friendly enthusiasm when I hadn’t needed a ride in the first place.
Rather than turning around at an exit or emergency turnaround, however, the peculiar man simply gunned the engine and did an insane, terrifying powerslide across two lanes and into the grassy berm. He gunned the engine again and drifted us up against the tree line then back across the road. We saw flashing lights in the distance, but he assured me the police weren’t after him for all his reckless driving. He knew what he was doing from a technical standpoint, but I had no clue as to why he felt now was an appropriate time to show off his driving. In my waking thought, I began to wonder if maybe he was a stuntman.
Looking back, I think he was showing off to impress me. As he didn’t have sufficient face-time to make a lasting personal impression during our car ride, which I interrupted by requesting to return to my own car, he felt the need to show off. It further reenforces my notion of him as a sort of father figure, although my own father, while I am sure he (and every father) feels a need to be impressive in my eyes, rarely goes out of his way to show off.
Actually…(several minutes of thought elapse here)… yes he does. They all do. And I don’t blame them in the least. It’s a reflection of how we feel about our own fathers and a deep-seated need to be worthy in their eyes. It only makes sense to reflect that back at our sons as we age and watch many of our roles reversed.
One way I’m thinking of it now: As children, a son is dependent on his father for everything. Teaching, training, food, housing, protection, advice, etc. Although I wouldn’t cheapen a family social bond, the son wants to prove himself worthy of inheriting the legacy of his father. If his value to his father increases, the willingness to share increases, and the more he can learn, as he proves the more he can be taught.
At a certain point, a man becomes independent of his father. For a time, the relationship might be equal or at least shared, but eventually the father needs help, security, and protection. The son offers this freely, as it was once offered to him, but in the same way, the father struggles to prove his worth. He needs to show he deserves and makes good with the support, knowledge, and training he is given.
I’ve seen this in my father as he begins to lean on me for assistance, advice, or expertise. We are well into the “sharing” phase, but role shifting, especially with my parents, is frightening to me. Am I so old and wise and competent? If I’m expected to do a few things for my parents, I must be expected to do all sorts of things for myself, which is a lot of responsibility, whether I welcome it or not.
My father was the man I grew up thinking I could eventually be like (and unlike), and now here we are, under a system of mutual respect. We strive to be like (and unlike) each other in various ways. He has told me I have qualities he wishes he had, and I’ve tried to teach him about things of which I feel he has an incomplete understanding, just as he has done for me my entire life. We are both searching for happiness, contentment, and partners. It’s not that we are incredibly similar, but we sure have a lot in common. To a frustrating degree, really.