I love my parents. I really do. They're great. You know how in novels and movies and television shows how the parents are cold, or kooky, or mentally unbalanced, or abusive, or absent. My parents were never like that. My mom is a "Domestic Goddess", the kind of mother-goddess-genius figure who can whip up a sumptuous casserole after spending the day researching our family tree back to the 3rd century AD (oh, I'm sorry, C.E.) and teaching herself Biblical Hebrew. If I ever caught a flu at school, she'd be there to pick me up, drive me home, tuck me in on the family room couch, and stir the bubbles out of a pitcher of gingerale so it wouldn't hurt my sensitive elementary-school tummy. In parent-child arguments, she's usually the Good Cop.
My father is often the Bad Cop, but when we're not biting each other's heads off, he's quite the cool guy. He is one of the rare men who is possessed of two different personalities without being crazy. On the one hand, is the fitness-obsessed, workaholic, war-fan disciplinarian. He's about a foot and half taller than me, but weighs only about ten pounds more. He bikes ten miles a day, every day, no exceptions, regardless of holidays or weather conditions, he's a six-foot-two beanpole with a buzzcut. He eats like a horse, but gripes about how he hopes all the food he consumes won't make him gain a measly pound, which always pisses off the less-healthy members of our family. He subscribes to Civil War Monthly magazine, a concept I find to be mind boggling (the Civil War happened a hundred years ago, how much more can they write about it?) and has to keep his beloved collection of war films on a separate shelf from our other movies because he has so many of them, so many films that only he is interested in watching. He love affair with legal violence is one of the things that has led to many differences in opinion between him and me. I love Japanese animation (anime) because it's colourful and expressive. My father hates anime because the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour and strangled a hooker in Rising Sun. He believes anime to be simple-minded and immature, even though he's never really watched it, because he's been raised on the inaccurate assumption that animated stories = made for children. We fight about it. A lot. My mother also disapproves of my anime hobby, but at least she doesn't go out of her way to belittle it.
On the other hand, is the beer-guzzling, joke-spurting, movie-quoting, science-fiction-reading, baseball-loving goof that I get along best with. We're a lot alike in many ways, which is partially why we fight so much. My father's passion for military films is fully as bright and as long-burning as my passion for Full Metal Panic and Escaflowne. When he's not in "Full Metal Jacket" mode, he behaves like a 21-year-old student let out of University for the summer. No one is his presence can so much as mention Buckaroo Banzai or Starship Troopers or Men In Black without being immediately buried underneath a mountain of his favourite lines, repeated over and over. "Laugh while you can, Monkeyboy!" "I always get the shakes before I drop! Everybody drops, everybody fights!" and "Your--proposal-- is-- acceptable!" (followed by an upward grasping motion of his hand, meant to imitate the scene where the alien cockroach kills Vincent D'Onofrio). Finally a shared interest: movies. We've had several of our best moments together watching films, like the week where Mom took my sisters off to BC, and Dad and I shared a pizza while watching Phantom of the Paradise which he first saw when he was my age. Or when we watched Enemy At the Gates, and even though I was watching it to see Jude Law, and he was watching it to see history re-enacted, I still let him distract me from Jude Law's flawless visage with his endless supply of historic military knowledge. The family can't even watch Gladiator without Dad pointing out that the Romans weren't supposed to be using cavalry until two centuries later, due to the fact that the stirrup hadn't been invented yet. You have no idea how many people he annoyed when he watched it in the theatre! ^_^
I do love him, very much. I love both my parents. But now (after many distractions) I must get to the point of today's blog entry. I love my parents. My parents love folk music. I, on the other hand, despise that kind of music. This year is the 25th anniversary of Edmonton's Folk Music Festival, and my parents have been going for 15 years to this event. I have been going with them for about 8 years, and out of those eight years, I have only found two bands that were worth getting the CDs, and they were both joke bands: Moxy Freuvus and The Arrogant Worms. I go for the company (all of our family friends go) and the food (deep-fried -- everything!). This year, however, I had recently discovered a perilously time-consuming addiction to a certain internet forum (that I will discuss in another entry), and thus was not looking forward to going to the 'Fest. My bad mood soaked into everything, as I discovered I had lost my only verifiable photo ID (my learner's permit) at the Animethon. So I had to brave the scathing ridicule of my father for nigh on three hours, as well as fork over 20$ for a new permit. This also meant that I couldn't enter the beer tent unattended by a parent, even though I was now legal drinking age. Gah! Needless to say, when we finally arrived at the festival grounds, I was thoroughly unhappy. My stomach was twisted with paranoia (what if I got sick from the food and couldn't leave? What if I had to actually use a porta-potty?) and the grounds (a series of steep hills with the stages at the bottom and the audience on the slope) carried the familiar scent of a stray dog after a heavy downpour. After the massive storms and flooding that had wracked our city a few weeks prior, the mosquitos were plentiful, and hungry, and the Churros stand that provided those heavenly deep-fried sugared delights was no longer present!
In the beer tent, I was forced to ignore my mother's friend's cigarette-smoke, a scent I had grown used to over 16 years when my mother smoked, but was now completely intolerable after my mother had successfully quit. However, once I finally made my way up the steep main hill (no mean feat, even for healthy, athletic people, and my parents had put the tarp down in their usual spot: right at the top) and settled down into my new, ridiculously comfortable lawnchair, and opened my Entertainment Weekly, things began to look up. The wailing, irritating performance music drifted, as it usually did, into the background as I socialised with my sisters and my parents' friends' children. It was really quite a pleasant experience at the end, although we didn't stay for the entire night. My mother's best friend, NJ (I will not reveal her entire name, but she's not the one who smokes, thank God), was going through her first Folk Fest experience, but, even for a Folkie virgin, she was enjoying it immensly. That is, until NJ's daughter phoned to warn her that a storm warning had been declared on the television, and that a severe storm, with thunder, hail, and funnel clouds a-plenty, was headed for our city and would touch down in about an hour. Needless to say, we beat a hasty retreat after that, and raced home surrounded by flashing bursts of lightning, with the first drops of rain falling only after we had reached our house in relative safety.
By the way, this really has nothing to do with my blog, but I thought I would mention it. We brought two vehicles, a car and a van, to the Folk Fest Park and ride. My father left with my younger sister (who could drive) for the car, and my mother was prepared to take my youngest sister and me home in the van. That is, until she remembered how much she had had to drink at the beer tent. She didn't even hesitate. She left the van and immediately switched places with our father, who was completely sober. You see, you can prevent drunk driving accidents, you idiots. Use your heads.