Coffee heat rising

What WERE we thinking?

Ever look back on events in your life and think…well…


And wonder…

Why did I do that?
Why didn’t I do this?
Why didn’t I wait?
Why didn’t I hurry up?
Why didn’t I do b instead of a?
What the HELL was I thinking?
Or was I thinking at all?

Here I am, today, diddling away the morning playing pointless computer games: the mind on autopilot. And while the brain roams pointlessly, yea verily on true autopilot through the empty silicon labyrinths, various memories and various long-gone puzzlements come to mind.

The weirdness of it, Life: the very weirdness of it.

Quite possibly the weirdest experience that comes to mind was the time my father and his bit*h wife (then a.k.a. the sweet, socially active, nice church-going future wife) showed up in our living room to share some Big News with us.

They wished, said they, to get married. (My mother hadn’t been dead a year…but that was OK, because at 70-something my father didn’t have all that much time to waste.) Would I give them my blessing?


If he had come to me or called me on the phone and said i’ve met this woman here at the Institute [by this time he’d sold my late mother’s and his home in Sun City and ensconced himself in a brand-new life-care community] and we get on really well. To make it legal and forestall any gossip, we’re gonna get married, I would have said “Fine! Congratulations! Good for you, and many happy years for both of you.” And I would have thought that was all I could say, because what he chose to do was none of my business. And I knew he would have thought it was none of my business.

But PLOP down on the living-room sofa and ohhh here we are in love, may we have your permission to get married?


I was so nonplussed, I didn’t know what to say. All I could think of was “Congratulations! May you have a long and happy life together.” Even though I strongly suspected the whole idea was stump-dumb stupid. I barely knew the woman — if I had known her better, I would’ve yelped Are you crazy??!!???” But that was outside the realm of experience just then.

Today, from the vantage point of experience (a goddamned Mont Blanc of experience!!), I know what I should have said.

Ohhhh I’m sooo happy for you! Congratulations. And…uhm, by the way…

Why don’t you wait a year? You’re still relatively young. Why not just be an item for a year, so you can get to know each other better before you make the giant leap to living together…and, forgodsake, to making it a legal contract?

But of course that’s not what I did say.

What I said was “Duhhhhhh…. Yeah, sure, that’s cool. Congratulations. How wonderful for you both.”

Jayzus! Pass the bong, willya?

What WAS I thinking then? I wasn’t thinking anything. No. Nothing.

In the first place, of course, I didn’t know the bit*h in question. If I had, I might have registered some response. This was only the second or third time I’d met her.

In the second place, I did not then and would not today consider it to be any of my business to advise my perfectly rational father on his personal life. But if he’d asked and I’d had a clue and I’d possessed about 10 years’ more life experience, I suppose I would have hollered RUN, DADDY! RUN!!!”

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down,
And still somehow
It’s clouds’ illusions I recall.
I really don’t know how…
At all.



2 thoughts on “What WERE we thinking?”

  1. Okay, I’ll bite. What made your stepmom such a b*tch?
    BTW, I was very tempted to ask my future stepdad what the Hell was he thinking?!? Did he understand what he was getting into? I was only 15, so kept my mouth shut.

    • Apparently, it was just her personality. Once when we were at her daughter’s house, she made some cutting remark to me. The step-sister was standing there and I suppose saw me make a face or just overheard her idiot mother. Incredibly, in front of her mother (who wasn’t paying attention by this point) she apologized for the the remark and then said, “She’s always been like that — all the time I was growing up.”

      Far as I could tell,Step-bitch would attack anyone. The step-family, led by Step-Bitch, had classic Midwestern American eating habits, which is to say “filling but really bad for you.” Consequently they were all overweight. Teenaged Step-Niece — daughter to Step-Sister — decided she was going to peel off the weight to a normal level. Under the direction of a medical doctor, she began to diet and it worked!

      Well, Step-Bitch’s reaction to that was to go on the attack. She started banging away at the kid that the weight loss made her look terrible and that it was going to make her sick.

      This was bullshi!t, of course: the kid never looked better. Fortunately, the girl (or someone) had enough emotional wherewithal to keep her on the diet, and she actually did drop down to a more or less normal weight.

      But that was pretty typical: wherever Step-Bitch saw a weak spot, she’d dive right in If she couldn’t find a weak spot, she’d try to make one.

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