Occasionally as I get older I see things in myself that are much like my father. Sometimes it’s physical and sometimes it’s a personal characteristic – it doesn’t really matter. Today I wondered if there are things about me – really deep dark secret things that I don’t share with anyone – that my father has similarly experienced. I wonder if my father regretted his marriage but eventually resigned himself to it. (While I’ve never considered it and have no real reason to suspect such, the thought wouldn’t astound me.) I wonder if he secretly relished the knowledge that women found (find?) him attractive. I wonder if my mother were similar to the child that I married, and if his innate desire to help (fix/correct/instruct/improve) people made her seem perversely appealing. Again, I could certainly imagine it, though I’ve never thought about it before. I wonder if the authoritative propriety that I’ve known since I first knew my father masked the sort of human thoughts and feelings that I also try to smother. I always thought he was the oldest man I ever knew. At 35 he could have been 60, save for the dark brown hair. His entire wardrobe was 25 matched suits, shirts, and ties, and wingtips along with one pair of jeans, one pair of white tennis shoes, and a drawer full of white t-shirts with brown armpits that had formerly accompanied the suits. He worked hard. Not in the construction-worker sense, but in more of a Donald Trump sense. At one point in my childhood we owned seven homes, six of which were rented to others. Despite this, both my parents worked full time (or more) and we lived in the hood (as I found out in high school). His job allowed him to do more than one thing at a time and he grasped the opportunity with both hands. But at 35 all I knew was a stodgy and stiff man. At 40 he was practically a cadaver. He spent his personality during the day and at night he read the paper in his underwear and needed to not be troubled.
I can see an alarming amount of that in myself. Save for the fashion choices, this describes me wonderfully at 29. And more than ever I am academically curious if he has the same kind of secrets that I do. Experiences, ideas, feelings that I’ll never share with anyone because they would shock or hurt or people wouldn’t understand and what I shared would feel diminished as a result. I wonder if I will soon (if I haven’t already) settle into ping-ponging between a couple of hobbies to occupy my waking hours in order to replace a feeling of personal happiness or fulfillment. I wonder if he ever had thoughts like this. Somehow I doubt it, but then again I have a lot of thoughts that I doubt anyone else would ever guess.