A Trivial Comedy for serious people archives

Drunken dad

I knew he was drunk, but no one else was helping me. I shouted from the top of the creaky staircase.

"Dad! Where are the dufflebags."

We have two big ones. They're somewhat essential in the hauling-of-stuff to college business, in which, unfortunately I have to engage in tomorrow.

I shouted again. He stirred. His record (Paul Butterfield) had stopped a few hours ago. I saw him earlier, although I lost track of time, so I don't really know how long he had been passed out on the couch in the living room.

I repeated the question.

"They are in the grocery," he said.

I was firm with him. I asked again, even though I wanted deeply to laugh. I always laugh when things are uncomfortable.

I swear he said something about a "myfywraig." Well, it sounded Welsh.

"They are in the acting." I knew he meant attic, he sputtered and tripped on the word. I knew that's where they must be, but I insisted on asking again. I wanted him to slow down, take his time, and say the words. I know you can do this when you're drunk.

The other night he came into the television room, after a long night of drinking. He spread his arms like a condor and said "There's no ice cream."

Then he sat on the couch and mumbled to himself. I told him to go to bed and he just said "She'll yell at me."

After a while he sighed, and I asked "What was that for?"

"Oh. I was just thinking. About when I was a boy." His eyes were squinty. I think he was lying. I don't know what he was thinking about.

I don't know what to do about him.

The other night, he told me that he had it on good authority that York was "more cosmopolitan" than Aberystwyth. I don't really understand what he means by this. It's not like I'm comparing London and Aber. I called my aunt in tears, desperate for someone to say "You are doing the right thing, either choice will be good."

I can't express how upset I get sometimes about the thought of going abroad. It makes me feel like a simpleton because I can't understand U.K. administrations. Last night, I was trying to just understand what my class-time would be like, and I grew so upset trying to read schedules and figure out what a module is, and guess in vain at what year I would be considered.

I went to Britain for two weeks at the beginning of the summer, and I planned the trip almost entirely by myself even though I was going with two school-mates. I felt very scared, and had constant fits of needless worrying (all went smoothly). This feels worse than that did. I think I'd feel better if I had a good reference book that helped to translate U.K. colleges for me. I think I like things better when I have a book, the printed word with me, so that I can read things over so many times that I memorize them. I did this to Fiske's guide to colleges, and Rick Steve's guidebooks. I need something like this for study abroad.

So, I worry that I won't be happy at Aber, and that this isn't how I want to spend my academic career. But I loved learning welsh. I did, deeply. I think I want to go there. How can I know any more until I get there? (It's a bit of a shame - I could really see myself enjoying their graduate level offerings much more than the courses I'd take as an undergraduate visiting student. Maybe I'll find cause to return when I'm older.)

I think it's going to work out, I'm just panicking.

I feel like my entries are growing boring. They're reading like a journal I would write in loose-leaf, not online. I used to take much more care in "imagery" and such, and now I just want to make things lucid and forthright.

2002-08-30, drunken dad and study abroad

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