My father is back in Canada for the summer from his teaching gig in China, and he and his wife passed through Vancouver on Friday. I took them to Cafe Calabria, naturally, and obliged Frank Junior to shoot us.
Bear hadn’t been to my current apartment and had to phone a few times to locate me. When he got close–as in a five minute drive away–I told him I’d wait on my corner and flag him down. And so I ended up out there, away from the phone, with no idea what he drives. I haven’t seen Bear in a couple years, and my memory for visual stuff, including faces, is not my strongest suit.
Anyway, it turns out every man of a certain age looks like my father when I’m peering into the cars rushing by on First, trying to guess whether or not the driver looks like he knows where he’s going.
Finally this aging, creaky rusted-out white VW bug pulls up on the cross street. Aha! Decrepit Volkswagons were, at least at one time, my father’s car of choice. And within is a guy with a snow-white flowing beard and the style of hat Bear favors (he calls ’em pimp hats. Think Huggy Bear on *Starsky & Hutch,* if you’re old enough. If you’re not old enough, you’ve missed nothing).
I looked at this man and I thought: Wow, my father has really aged.
The light changed, the car whined, whined, I tell you! as it tried to get across First. It sounded like it was trying to run a rocket engine on something like orange juice instead of gas. I waved like mad at the parking space in front of my building.
Moving at a land speed that would do a leopard slug proud, assuming said slug was newly recovered from a debilitating foot injury, the car pulled over beside the parking space and the window creaked down. Holy cow, I thought. So white-haired! So rickety! So indecisive and confused-looking! Did he look like that before he went to China? Wouldn’t I have noticed? And hey, Bear, would you just park already?
Creak, creak, creak as he rolled down his window.
“Excuse me young lady. Are you waving at me?”
Oh. Not even remotely my father.
I apologized, told him I thought he was someone else, and didn’t tell him it was someone I ought to damnwell recognize on sight. He got his laboring little bug up to walking speed again–I should’ve given him a push–and tootled away. I passed him yesterday and he’d made it all the way to the corner of Venables and McLean, ten blocks north of here.
Bear and Lily showed up five minutes later, driving a car with a real engine and looking like they do in the above shot, except that I deprived Bear of his Edmonton Oilers cap before the shoot. Maybe the pimp hats weren’t so bad.