Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Grandfather is 84 Tomorrow

"Or 85, I can't remember," according to my mom.  He is very private.

He, my mom, my uncle and grandmother in Rocky Point in the early 60s. 

He's fussy, as many old people are, and he likes to talk shit.  Except he laughs before he gives you his zinger and then just ends up kind of mumbling it.  He and my uncle were talking about Goodwill at Christmas and he poked me in the arm and said, "You look like you shop at Goodwill, too! heh heh." Listen, buddy.  It's Salvation Army.

He does well on his own.  He built a little machine shop for his house and has customized the entire place.  The hall light is on a motion sensor for when he has to use the bathroom at night, and every electronic device has its own recess in the wall.  The tv, dvd and vhs players each have their own.  So does the microwave in the kitchen.  Yes, it looks ridiculous, but I love it.  He has the most mannish bathroom I've ever seen, which contains absolutely nothing but a sliver of bar soap on the sink and a molded plastic hairbrush from the 1970s.  "Where's all your stuff?!"  "What stuff?"

When we went there for Christmas, I was amazed to see that he had strung garland around and put up a small tree.  All of this decor was obviously from the 70s or early 80s.  He doesn't seem to have purchased anything but real estate since then, which curiously coincides with the end of his second marriage.  He's driven the same car for about 35 years, which is a red El Camino that he purchased new.  As far as a consumerist society goes, he lives off the grid.

It's strange to navigate the deafening generation(s) gap between us.  He's curious about everything, but doesn't have a computer or a cell phone.  When he asks about the functions of these things, I don't know where to begin.  It's uncomfortable to see the incomprehension, mostly because he's uncomfortable with it.  He's not used to not knowing how something works. 

I, on the other hand, am quite familiar with it and am content to believe that iphone = black magic.

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