Ugh, terrible day today. It started out OK, which is to say it started with three phone calls from P. before the alarm went off. I got up and called him back, and then a few hours later, just as I should have been going out the door to go to his house, he called again. "How are you?" I asked.
"I don’t need a reason," he said primly.
We discussed the time of my arrival: "What time are you coming over? Twelve-thirty? You’re coming over at twelve-thirty? That’s today? Is today Monday? Is it Sunday? Say it again. What time will it be?”
Then he expressed his gratitude: "Thanks, Dad." Half the time, Dad is a big bastard who is apparently in the penitentiary for unspecified crimes, but sometimes I get to be a more benevolent Dad.
I replied, "You’re welcome, little girl."
"I try to be the best little girl I can."
"You’re my pride and joy."
At his house, I called a cab, Gloria and I assured him that it wasn’t going to rain and so he didn’t need to bring the plastic bag he uses as rain gear, and we set off for McDonald’s.
I’m not sure at what point I slipped into an irritable mood. The movie we were going to see was right across the street from McDonald’s, at
He had a big piece of red crud in one ear today, which was grossing me out a bit. I didn’t know if it was a scab or a piece of fermented earwax or what. I couldn’t quite bring myself to tell him to go look at it in a mirror.
P. got a cookie at the concession stand, but decided it was too hard and traded it in for something else. He told the attendant and me, "It’s too hard," and pinched it to prove his point. "Stop pinching that, P. Someone else is going to be eating it." The attendant, who looked a bit like a gentle Vincent Gallo, was quite gracious.
We saw our movie and I felt vaguely guilty when it proved to be more violent than I’d expected. P. smelled strongly of urine today, which has not been the case for several weeks.
After the movie, I went to the bathroom and then found P. interrogating the concession guy about another movie, which was playing at that same theater in forty-five minutes. When we walked outside we saw that it was, of course, raining. We sat down and P. tried to talk me into going to see the other movie. I really didn’t want to, because I thought it was going to make me late getting to sleep.
P. said he needed something uplifting for the coming week. I said he could be uplifted by the fact that next week we’d be coming back to see the movie. In the end, not least because it was raining and we didn’t have our raincoats, I called the house and told them that P. and I would be back later than usual.
Then I announced that he would need to come with me while I had dinner, and I marched toward a sushi place. P. said, "I can’t afford that."
I said brusquely, as if now that I had given him what he wanted, I had a right to be rude, "You won’t be eating. You had a filet o’ fish. I’m going to eat." In the restaurant, he unwrapped his chopsticks and scratched the back of his head with them, which was more or less tolerable, but then he stuck one in his ear and started to dig around. I said, "Stop that. That’s gross. I’m thinking of the person who has to pick those up later who won’t know there’s earwax on them."
He said, "There isn’t any earwax," and tried to demonstrate. It was gross, but it wasn’t really right for me to think I could speak to him in a way I would never dream of speaking to most other people. For instance, I wouldn’t say to my father, "That’s gross." (Of course, my father rarely puts anyone in the position of having to decide whether or not to say, "That’s gross.")