Old Dad

Bianca called after she dropped my daughter off to meet a friend. Actually it's more of an acquaintance, not somebody she knows that well. "She said her cell phone isn't working so you can't call her on it," Bianca said. It's the first time since she's been with me that she didn't come home. I didn't sleep much. I got up early to look at the news online, where there was a story about shootings and stabbings at the Castro Street gathering. Was she there? Probably. I couldn't call her.

It wasn't that I think her phone really doesn't work. It might and it might not. She might just be saying, "Do not call me please." And I remind myself, "There when you need me and not when you don't." And another voice says, "Get a job as a waiter. Jim Dandy to the rescue."

One of the things I've always tried to teach her is that everything is balance, and that vice is simply virtue taken too far. Generous gradually becomes profligate; confidence can become rash and friendly can become vulgar.

When the Roman officer came to pick up Jesus and run him in on charges of terrorist activities, he said, "I don't want to do this, but I'm just a soldier, and when those above me say, 'Do this,' I do it, and when to those below me I say, 'Do this,' they do it." And Christ said, "Never have I seen such faith." I don't know what faith is other than finding the path between what is essentially a pattern in one direction or another. When you are outside a patterned response you look for one.

"Actually, they just come up to try and resolve the impasse. Don't make an impasse and they'll leave you alone."

"Who are you?"

"Pistis Sophia."

I get up and fix myself a cup of coffee. One part of me is confident that the kid is okay because there is no kid there. It's a woman; another adult. That part is the man who turns loose of the child because the child has passed into adulthood. The other, curiously enough, thinks that she should have called or text messaged or something. And a third, almost unnoticed in the tension between them, re-reads an email from a woman who is in counseling with her husband, and wondering how to get through being married. She wrote, "I don't want to be any certain way.  I don't even know what I am thinking I might like to do, I just know that whatever it is, I don't want it monitored."

Do I want to monitor what she's doing? No. But if I don't make sure she's okay, Old Dad will worry.

"Oh. It's not you, it's Old Dad?"

"Yea. Old Dad. You know. He's a lot like grandpa."

So I go ahead and call her, and she answers. "We were out pretty late so I just stayed over here instead of trying to get a cab home." I keep it quick and light.

What she needs isn't me. It's freedom from being monitored. Oh, well. I learn these things in baby steps.

Posted: Wed - November 1, 2006 at 10:43 AM