/ Internathought

The Great Big Useless Book of Social Obligations

Hey you! Did you remember your mom's birthday last Sunday? What about your aunt's?

No?

What the fuck is wrong with you? How could you forget their birthdays? You're telling me you don't keep track of every detail in your life?


Are you feeling a little annoyed? At the very least, can you sense my animosity to the exaggerated scenario above?

I had a rather uneventful and frankly awfully awkward call with my dad today. To give some context regarding the relationship between my dad and I.

He lives in New York while I live in Iowa. He is reasonable, however, he is very insistent that I answer his calls and/or call him occasionally. I'm not very good at those things though and often forget to.

Anyway, a call with him typically begins with a speil about how I haven't called in a while, why I haven't answered his calls, and why his calls go to voicemail (there's a thing called DnD - 7PM - 9AM). After that, we can expect an "inspirational" speech about value of education which eventually diverges into a rant about the black minority, school, yada, yada, yada, yada. I've lived this so many times that it's not surprising or really stimulating for me at all.

What annoys me about this situation is that he goes over the same thing, every single time, and if my answer is the same as the last time he called, he has something to say. Whether it's my punctuality (Which, interestingly is superb with the exception of school) or if I'm currently doing freelance work cue the speech about education and making time for it (Despite willingly occupying the greater part of my day, week, month, and year.)

Let's get into the meat, so far we've been slurping some sweet drama juice. I have to say, I did lie about the call, it wasn't entirely uneventful. Apparently his birthday recently passed and boy oh boy, he had something to say. First begins the comparison, according to him the rest of my family members wished him well except my brother who I can assume forgot or who was much too busy. Following that, he goes onto question me about his age, birthday (We've already established that I don't remember it, but ya' know. Mans gotta doubly ensure that his son forgot his birthday), and my mom's birthday.

I don't have a problem with wishing people a happy birthday. I don't mind, that is if I remember. If I don't remember, so be it. I have learned to keep birthdays low-key, I relax alone and make it a "me" day. In the past for each birthday, my parents felt it necessary to organize a party against my will which pretty much always resulted in empty room with a cake. My feelings weren't hurt, I understood that people have lives and commit to more important things. I'm not one to question and feign disbelief that someone forgot my birthday. Frankly, I don't care. Like I said, make it a "me" day.

Unfortunately, my dad is the complete opposite. For brevity, the staple of his rant boiled down to "You're supposed to remember my birthday. I remember all my friends' birthdays." That's great man, you can also count the number of friends you have on one hand. Regardless, if you're hurt that I forgot your birthday, that's too bad - keep your woes to yourself. Give me a reminder while you call and sure I'll give you a "Happy Belated Birthday" and maybe a late present if I'm feeling generous, but do not sit there and complain to me.

I'm beginning to think my dad's mind is modeled after a basic flowchart. Here's an example:

Forgot my birthday?

  • Yes
    • How could you!
    • You're obligated to remember it along with the rest of your family!
  • No
    • Thanks!

What are you doing right now?

  • Working
    • Cue rant about education
  • Watching something
    • Cue rant about education
  • Homework
    • Cue rant about education
  • Absolutely anything, finishing your 6th PhD?
    • CUE. RANT. ABOUT. EDUCATION.

EDUCATION. EDUCATION. EDUCATION

(internal mantra intensifies)

I hope you've grasped exactly what goes through my dad's head now. It's in my best interest, yes, but to jack hammer that shit into my ear ways every single time I interact with you is annoying and very unwanted.

...

Well, I guess, that's it.