Spoke with my Dad tonight. There’s not many people who understand me like my Dad. My Dad and I are similar in many ways. We’re both artists, dreamers, modern day philosophers. But we’re in very different places. My Dad, nearing 60, lives in Los Angeles. Feels trapped by it. Trapped by the concerns of eking out a living on the edge of retirement. My Dad fixes and installs pool equipment. It’s not a glamourous job, but it pays well. There’s lots of work for a pool guy living in Los Angeles. Of course, nobody dreams of being a pool guy.
He used to dream of being a rock star. He grew up inspired by Bob Dylan, was among the first to attend U2 shows. He plays guitar like a craftsman and used to have a band. In the first house I lived, he built a soundproof room and had strange men come over, with names like Rocco and Jim. The walls would vibrate me to sleep, and the next day I’d wake Dad at noon. They had records. They had fans. They had a dream.
Somewhere along the line, my Dad moved to Colorado and became a mortgage-broker. Torn in eighteen different directions, music emerged a dusty, washed-out road. Now he deals in pool machinery and has carpal-tunnel from adjusting nuts and bolts. Playing guitar pains him now, and not just in his hands.
My dad is so proud of me. When I tell him I’m exactly where I want to be, doing exactly what I want to be doing… I feel like I’m bragging. But he’s happy for me, though he says he’s jealous of people who align with their destiny, “vibrate with their own frequency”. I tell him that science tells us that time is not linear. He confesses that sometimes I’m the only thing that keeps him going.
We talk about women. He asks if my ex-lover inspired me to creativity. I say no. That love, for me, is a constricting experience. He says that love is an inspiration to him, so I stop and reconsider. My dad listens as I tell him I think I could be happy alone, forever. He says it takes a very rare and special woman to allow her man the space to be alone.
I wish my Dad wasn’t so hard on himself. I wish he wouldn’t measure his life in terms of artistic success. My Dad’s been a blessing to me, and I hope he can find peace in the absence of achievement. I wish these things for myself too, but only half-heartedly. My Dad and I are similar in many ways.