Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Jeans (Genes) are a funny thing

I took the week off from work last week (kinda) and got some space from the job. In the process I went golfing at Sand Creek Golf Course over by Peterson Air Force Base. Sand Creek is a fairly low budget public course (tee time is not even needed). It was the first time I had played in three years.

Golf is always both wonderful and frustrating at the same time. It is wonderful because it consumes your mental energy. To play golf well, you have to focus on golf. And, while you are focusing, you take your mind off of everything else that you should be dealing with. It is frustrating because if you are a passionate guy like I am it is all you can do to not cuss like a sailor and throw your clubs all over the golf course.

The first time I played I finished playing, took my clubs, put them in the back of the Aztek, got in the car, and turned on my music. And what was playing? Hank Williams Jr. THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION. And it was at this point I thought "I have become my father."

This is not necessarily a bad or a good thing. It is just a real thing. The first time I noticed this is when I began to recieve my monthly letter and spending money check from my Dad. At one point I grabbed the letter out of my box, and I thought I had written a letter to myself that I had forgot. Then, I realized that Dad and I have almost identical handwriting. If only I had known this sooner I thought. I could have had some creative forgeries when I was under 18!

Actually, one of the reasons why this shocks me in the relatively little time I spent with my father after my parents divorced when I was in Kindergarten. I hadn't sat down and worked on penmanship with my father, I had just somehow grown up to have my signature look almost identical to his. Our handwriting similarities were pure genetics.

The second time I came to this realization I was in school. My dad was wearing his carhart overalls and coat, and I was wearing the Carhart jacket he bought me and a pair of jeans. We were in Oregon shopping for Christmas presents for my sister and my grandmother, and I all of the sudden noticed that as I walked my hands were placed in my pockets just like my father, and I was walking in the almost exact same gait. Whats up with this I thought? I have become my father.

And then there was last week in the Aztek, and I had the same feeling. You see, after my parents divorced my dad spent a lot of time working around golf courses, and playing around on them as well. And since it was the late seventies and early eighties in country music, Hank Williams was playing a fair amount at different phases. And, all of the sudden I remembered being in Dad's briefly owned Scout International (white in color) listening to Hank Williams Jr. on AM radio and heading up with Dad and my sister to Salem, OR. We were hot in that car, because the temparature was in the 90s in the summer and we had no air conditioning.

And I thought, here I am in my Bronco-like vehicle, listening to similar music, doing similar things, living in a one-bedroom apartment (like Dad did off and on), going home to drink a beer and watch some football. And while this was briefly eerie, it was also comforting in a way as well.

It was comforting because somehow, in some strange way, I felt connected. So often in life I feel like the path I chose and who I am is so disconnected from where I have come from. Like I do not fit anywhere easily. Somehow and someway this awareness of my connectedness to my father, and to my family as a whole helped me understand that I was not as homeless in the universe and disconnected from everyone in the world as I sometimes feel.

It was comforting because I felt normal. Like it was normal and ok to be struggling to pay your bills in your 30s. And it was also ok to be single and in your 30s (depends what part of the 30s for dad). It helped remind me that things can get better, and that the future does not necessarily have to be an extension of today. And that my hope for change and for something better sometime soon is a realistic hope.


Brownsoul said...

Interesting...especially the handwriting thing.

I think it's normal to be struggling to pay your bills in your 30s, though I don't want to get comfortable with the idea. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with being single in your 30s. Your time is coming.

Brownsoul said...

By the way, I love the new look.

SUPER said...

I'm trying to live for the moment and go day to day. I'm horrible about day dreaming and planning out the next 10 years of my life, and then being disappointed when it doesn't pan out as I had envisioned. I didn't think I'd still be single, not be a mother, be struggling with bills, live in an even smaller town than Liberal, and be somewhat okay with it all. But...that's where I'm at.

Aphra said...

I look exactly like my mother and sometimes I find that scary and comforting too.

I never had much respect for golf as a sport, I didn't realize it was a mental game. I've never played, so I shouldn't really judge. But on the weekend my son (he's 4) and I were eating dinner and we were watching tv. There was nothing else on so we were watching golf.. We only watched for about 10 minutes because that's how long it takes us to eat. At the end of the time, he says to me 'I like the one in the orange shirt' and I'm like- the kid either has good taste or knows his golf because he likes TIGER WOODS. I thought it was terribly funny at the time anyway.

Stephen said...

Wow! Love the honesty bro! It's funny what things you notice about your parents coming out in yourself. I also find it interesting that it really starts coming out when you near or are in your 30's. What is it with that number!!!?? Well anyway - happy Wednesday!

wilsonian said...

Woah... I had a similar experience meeting my father for the first time after a twenty year absence. Similar handwriting, same hobbies, same Johnny Clegg tape playing in our cars...

But it wasn't comforting for me at all. Just didn't want to be like him.

Thanks for this post... it's cool to see how it might have played out differently.