Chapter 21: The Annual One Day Visit



Chapter XXI: The Annual One Day Visit

Tim and Caroline were married over the holiday and spent a day to celebrate their anniversary. They were staying the night at Caroline’s dad’s house and weren’t going to be coming back for a couple of days. My step-mom was headed to Cincinnati to see a concert—a mainstream country artist. That narrowed it down to three for the next day. And it also marked bed #3 for the trip, and the worst bed of them all—Zach’s old bunk bed that still was lined with the plastic guard to avoid any costly stains when Zach wet the bed.

They finally moved him into another room, because they said it “helped.” He slept in bed with them for the longest time and for all I know he still does periodically; discipline is not their strong point. But, there were some areas of improvement. Apparently Zach got in trouble at school for saying fuck, this made me so happy. However, I was unsure what school meant—he is still home schooled, and it seems periodically that he will be in some sort of a school for brief periods at a time. I am more than eager to read that “tell-all confessional” about Zach in school.

He has become a fan of dubstep, which my parents had never heard of before. It’s not my preferred style of music, and I borderline hate it. But, I had no problem Zach liking it—again, I viewed that at least a step in the right direction. The only time I listen to dubstep is when I am out a club and, being single for so long, occasionally get desperate to put a drunken blemish on my track record. I was curious how Zach discovered dubstep, which is obviously non-existent out in the middle of nowhere in which they live.

The music was discovered by means of video game, DJ Hero. They encouraged him to show me the game, as if it would be of major interest to me. He proceeded to play the game, and insisted that he had selected songs that I was certain to like. It was a kind gesture, the music was OK for it did at least feature Major Lazer, but, the game was dull. He proceeded to play it for several hours and lost track as to where he was. My stepmom suggested that I probably wanted to play too (which I didn’t) and Zach stated that there was no way I could ever play this game as the video game gradually took over; he played video games all through the night.

The following morning, I wasn’t overly thrilled to be stranded out in the middle of nowhere with no transportation. Furthermore, it was freezing cold and it was snowing yet again. Julie left to go to Cincinnati for the concert, and that was interesting to say the least. She was in a rental car, a small little Kia or something like that, and my dad was worried about her driving in these conditions. Her departure was greeted in the same manner as when somebody leaves to go to war, and she called every so often for updates on the progress. Also, she stated that she did not even want to go and was actually dreading it. I told her that traveling for concerts was among my favorite things to do and had set a goal to see 50 shows, in all 50 states, before the age of 50.

My dad bought a new car. It always brings me joy when my father buys a new car. Not that I am a devout fanatic for showing off expensive material possessions, but throughout our childhood, Tim and I were always ashamed to be seen in the cars he drove. For nearly a decade, my dad held the award for the person who drove the vehicle rated the biggest piece of shit in town. For the longest time, he drove a VW Van, mind you this was long after they were in style, and the thing didn’t even have a muffler—you could see hear this pile of junk coming for miles. After that, he upgraded to a Ford Pinto, again, way way way long after they were even still manufactured. It was nice compared to the VW Van, but this thing was a piece of shit too. He smashed into it once with a tractor, and that fucked it up royally; he still drove it even with the whole back end smashed.

Zach woke up and immediately began playing a video game on the computer in the dining room; and there he would sit until he finally went to bed… his entire waking hours spent in front of that video game.

Dad began playing a video game, but I must have looked intensely bored sitting there watching him play. He put it away and suggested that I pick out a movie on Netflix. That was a nice change for I was glad to not have to see any sort of video game on the screen. Also, there is no music in the house while the game is on; just a screen of somebody digging in a mine for various stones and total complete silence.

Knowing that I wanted to have a conversation, I did not wish to watch a movie that I had never seen before or anything that required too much attention. Therefore, I wished to select an all-time favorite comedy and went with Raising Arizona, which I had seen already several times but it never gets old.

Conversation was scattered throughout the day; it almost seemed that nothing interesting had happened to either of us. He spoke of work and I merely listened. Perhaps it was because I was uncomfortable in the settings of being in a house that was out in the middle of nowhere. Or, maybe it is because most of my interesting experiences I am unsure whether or not are appropriate for discussion. The temptation was there to relate to my dad how I took a shot of liquor with a scorpion in it and then later that evening puked up the scorpion into my backpack while riding on the bus, but that was just pure stupidity on my part. It occurred to me that my life had grown completely dull and meaningless.

We sat there for what seemed like an eternity. I was hoping we would go somewhere to eat, but Dad cooked eggs. I was hoping we would go to the store for something, but never did. I was hoping we would go anywhere just for the hell of it, and never did. Finally, dinner time approached and Dad asked what I was in the mood for. I told him that I had been craving Pizza King, which they only have in Indiana. He seemed hesitant, but then declared that it sounded OK as he looked in the book for the phone number. He was going to call in take out, assuming that we would come back here to this desolate part of the world to eat it.

Sitting there, I felt as if I were going full-retard. My new slogan for when I was feeling uncomfortable was to be, “you know, I’m sort of feeling full-retard here.”

I was prepared to beg to leave the house and go eat it there; I was even going to stoop so low as to pull a Veruca Salt, “but I want to go eat there NOW.” Finally, I was able to encourage him to leave.

However, Zach refused to go. He opted to stay home and sit in front of the video game. My dad offered to get him a bun and cheese sandwich from Wendy’s… instead cooked him macaroni and cheese in which he ate with ketchup. For somebody who once complained about not having anybody to play with, one would think that he would be as eager to leave the house as I was. Instead, he was content just sitting in that environment non-stop playing video games.

Pizza King is one of the few attractions in New Castle. Although I was attempting to give up meat for good come New Year’s, I figured I might as well enjoy one last sandwich.

Just being outside changed everything for me. I was far more comfortable and talked with much more confidence than when I was inside the house. However, I am not 100% positive that dad had too much interest in what I was saying. There seemed to be other things on his mind; Julie was on an extended trip and 12 year old Zach was home alone. It appeared that he was trying to rush this in order to get back home quicker.

When I was 12, I was left home alone quite often. I was in 7th grade and never had a babysitter at that point. Furthermore, I had a paper route—yes, New Castle is the type of place that has paperboys like in the video game. At that time, Tim was only 10 or 11, and he too was fine by himself. I highly doubt that anybody would want to kidnap Zach.

That said, I took my time.

As we were leaving, I believe he finally sensed that I wasn’t overly thrilled about sitting around the house. He turned left, the opposite direction of his house, and we took a nice little spin around New Castle. Granted that New Castle isn’t exactly the most exciting place on Earth, it did give us something to talk about and I was happy to be out of the house for a longer period. That one trip around town changed my entire mood.

When we returned, Zach was still playing the video game. Dad and I watched a couple more movies, two he picked out and I chose Death at a Funeral (the original). While we were talking, Zach insisted that he needed a peanut butter sandwich. Rather than make it himself, which I was expected to do at that age, he demanded Dad get up and make him one. My dad did, and later he requested another one.

“Another peanut butter sandwich please,” he shouted from the dining room without even getting up out of his seat.

Finally, I was slightly vocal. “Don’t do it. Make him get up and fix it himself.”

It’s fucking peanut butter. If you can’t make your own peanut butter sandwich by age 5, then you are overly dependent on others, and that’s not a good thing for a person with perceived differences. He acted like he was sitting there doing something highly skilled and important that was going to perhaps save the universe—or something that maybe had some benefit to anybody. If one has the ability to shout a request for a peanut butter sandwich, then one has the ability to actually perform the required dubious tasks of actually preparing the gourmet meal.

Being as I’m the type of mother fucker who insists that I am capable of performing my surgical procedures, I am positive that the step-by-step procedures for making a peanut butter sandwich can be found on Google. Step 1. Get out the God Damn Bread; Step 2. Open the mother fucking jar of peanut butter; Step 3. Get a damn knife out the mother fucking drawer; Step 4. Spread the shit over the damn bread; Step 5. Eat the mother fucker. It’s not that complicated.

Much to my dismay, dad arose and made him one. He declared that if I were an only child, that he would have done the same for me. No, I would not have allowed that. To this day, I never expect anybody to do things for me that I am capable of doing myself…and I’m happy for that. I wouldn’t want a woman to come over and cook my food, clean my house, do my laundry, etc. In fact, I’m against that shit. Guys who declare that “their” woman does all of their house chores are losers in my opinion and overly dependent on others. 

Also, when we were that age, Dad expected us to get up and get things for him—get me a Coke, etc. This has since become an inside joke between Tim and I. So, part of me was satisfied that it turned out like this as sort of a “serves you right” karma mentality. But, regardless, I was not happy with this behavior.

Once again, I decided it was not my place to say anything, wanted to enjoy my visit, and put it to the back of my head. The rest of the night was spent discussing various elements of life, watching sort of a bad movie, and Zach making all sorts of obnoxious racket and repeatedly farting grotesquely while playing that video game.

The next morning was New Year’s Eve. Tim texted me requesting Dad to meet them in Anderson, Indiana. We had tickets for a Pacers game and some plans for some things later that night. I had also messaged some old friends to see what they were doing. Dad was hesitant at first, but smiled and declared we would travel to Anderson. It was after noon, and Zach was still in bed. Julie would be home soon enough.

We met at Steak and Shake, had lunch, and that was the end of the visit with Dad. Tim did not visit with Dad for long, and I found that a bit odd. Dad claimed that he would check on buses from here to Portland so I could arrange visits. Somewhere along the lines, I hoped for more as it occurred to me that it could be a long time before seeing him again. I really wish a multitude of things were different and life is quickly beginning to pass us by at a rapid pace… soon it will be too late.

I was quoted at my mom’s house for saying, “I do not support anything unconditionally. If I sense there is something wrong, then I am going to identify that as a problem, regardless.” There is something definitely wrong here.

Last year, it was slightly mentioned, but the conversation was never finished. I feel that something more needed to be said.

After my grandmother died, I had visualized an entire biography about her; then did the same with my grandfather and my Uncle Mike. Soon, I will do the same for my father.

Then, I felt like a bad person for not being able to effectively reason with Zach. Supposedly, he is a special needs child who had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Autism and I suppose that I do need to treat that differently than I would other people.

As for my dad, there remains too much gray area with us, which is most unfortunate because we obviously have so much in common. As previously stated, the gray area only exists due to lack of time for proper visits. I set a new goal for myself, and one I hope to accomplish sometime relatively soon. I would like to take a two week vacation with my father and travel to various places with each of us taking turns picking out destinations. It’s doubtful we would fully enjoy each other’s selections, but we would be able to make up all the ground we lost when, as it is so elegantly put, life gradually took over.

**This chapter will have a positive happy ending sequel someday; just not in the next few upcoming chapters.**

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation into a mere money relation.  Karl Marx

Index: Chapter List

Chapter 21 Soundtrack Listing:

1. Bonnie "Prince" Billy & Matt Sweeney
"My Home Is The Sea" 5:49


2. Nick Lowe
"I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass" 3:13

Jesus of Cool

3. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
"In This Home On Ice" 3:59

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

4. Major Lazer
"Pon de Floor" 3:34

Guns Don't Kill People...Lazers Do

5. Jurassic 5
"End Up Like This" 3:58


6. The Butthole Surfers
"Let's Talk About Cars" 4:36


7. Led Zeppelin
"That's the Way" 5:38


8. Van Der Graaf Generator
"My Room (Waiting for Wonderland)" 8:02

Still Life

9. Sparta
"From Now to Never" 5:34


10. Tall Dwarfs
"Nothing's Going To Happen" 6:06 + "Nothing's Going To Stop It" 6:17

The Tall and Short of It

All Sections Written, Designed, and Music Compiled by Tony J. Neal

Pizza King image mysteriously from: West Point Steak House.

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