Father Knows Best – 4

My father is one of my regular blog readers — a fact that both amuses and disturbs me.

It’s amusing because I can’t fathom why he’d care about the contents of my purse, my eternal quest to find the world’s greatest veggie burger or the fact that I’m enamored with 80s power pop.

It’s disturbing because I curse a lot, opine about gin pretty often and spend an inordinate amount of time gushing about Ron Livingston (although, I’m about 97.581% certain that Paps has no idea who this is).

In addition to being one of my regular blog readers, I’ve also discovered that he is, in fact, a thirteen-year-old girl.

Behold the following gChat:

me: Hey Paps! 🙂
Paps: ‘sup

What the hell? Did he really just say that?

me: Don’t say ‘sup. No-one says ‘sup except for half-wit middle schoolers with no capacity for the English language
Paps: how you be?
me: Dude, seriously. Any modicum of respect I once held for you is diminishing at a rapid clip.

Yes, I call Paps, ‘dude’ on occasion. Thankfully, he quits striving to be hip circa 1995 and we start talking about books, Project Gutenberg and then, he inexplicably starts talking about fruit:

Paps: Mom got me a water melon from Publix. It is sweet. When you guys come here we’ll get some more. I am sure you like it
me: We should get mangoes. That way, I can learn how to chop them up. And also so I won’t go out and spend money on this. But, I have to admit it’s a pretty inventive device
Paps: Raw mangoes? Boy, you wanna spend $13 dollars on a glorified knife?
me: Well, I obviously don’t mean boiled. It’s not a glorified knife!It’s a Williams-Sonoma mango pitter!
Paps: I saw the picture and it looks like a glorified knife
me: Well, your vision is getting pretty bad in your old age….
Paps: Mom is right here and she says jatka na pat nu chhe

The most direct translation of this would be, ‘piece of crap’ and yes, most of the conversations I have with my mom are her speaking in Gujarati and me responding in English. I think she’s grateful for this because I swear every time I try to converse with her in the mother tongue, she winces like someone just scraped nails down a chalkboard.

Paps: she says get an ol’ fashion knife and cut the mango
me: And then, I can go to the ol’ fashioned emergency room and get ol’ fashioned stitches for my ol’ fashioned gaping flesh wound.

To which he proceeds to mock and belittle me for my fear of both sharp and flammable objects — the very things he taught me to fear as a child.

We chat for a little while longer where he continues to mock me, accuses me of being pouty and petulant and starts a conversation about Cutco knives. It’s all very flotsam and jetsam and totally indicative of my own thought/speech patterns.

me: Talk soon. Love you! xx
Paps: luv you too
me: There’s an O in that word, you know. And no U. Jesus Christ….
Paps: WHATEVER

All-Caps ‘Whatever’, ladies and gentlemen. All. Caps. Whatever. If that doesn’t firmly establish him as a thirteen-year-old girl, I don’t know what does. Seriously. He might as well have said, “I have Bieber Fever!”

me: I swear, you’re a thirteen year old.

Wait. I take that back. He’s not a thirteen-year-old girl. If he was, I would have read ‘OMG WHUT-EVA, LOLZ’ or ‘Whatevzzzzz’ or some other bastardization that would cause me to want to eat my own eyeballs.

Paps: Don’t you have laundry to fold?
me: No
Paps: Well go and fold something then!
me: How about you go open a dictionary, sir?
Paps: I don’t have one
me: Obviously. And don’t you have that dollar store one missing sections Q-T?
Paps: Oh be quiet. Go and annoy your sister; she just logged on
me: OK
Paps: Bye now LOVE you
me: love you too! xx

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Love+Respect Ugandan-Indian-English-American Style.

There’s this stereotype about Indian kids and how they’re all raised in these incredibly suppressive environments where children are seen and rarely heard. There’s no banter, no freedom of expression and certainly no smart-assery.

But my parents, being the amazing individuals they are, bucked that trend and focused on their kids’ happiness instead.

So while I may gripe about how Paps has a logic firewall on his computer that prevents him from accessing the most rudimentary information, I’m still immensely lucky to have the parents I do and I can’t wait to see them in a couple of weeks. It’s been way too long.

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