Well, in eight hours or so I’m heading for La Guardia to catch a flight to Tampa, where I’ll be staying through Sunday. It’s been about 18 months since I was last in Florida; I wasn’t able to make my usual Yuletime trip this past December becuase the UN only gave me Christmas off. But my father is retiring from the Coast Guard this Friday, so family and friends are gathering for the ceremony.
While I was talking to Dad on the phone yesterday he said, “I’ve built an altar in your room.”
“Yeah. See, what happened was, I hung that self-portrait you did in high school. Properly.”
“Ah,” I sighed, remembering the glee with which I’d watched the other students’ double-takes as they’d walked past my painting.
“So my African girlfriend — I told you about her, right? — was visiting, and when I turned the light on in your room she jumped backwards and yelled, ‘What is that?’ So I said, ‘That’s a painting of my daughter,’ and she’s like, ‘Why does it look like that?’, and so I tell her, ‘Well, that’s the way she painted it. Look at the hair,’ and she says, ‘TAKE IT DOWN TAKE IT DOWN TAKE IT DOWN!’ So you spent the rest of her visit leaning against a wall in the closet, right side up. She would check. After she left, I put it back up and then decided to accessorize, so now you have your own shrine.”
I would have said something at this point, but I was laughing too hard.
“She was totally freaked out, so you’re up a point,” Dad concluded.