We make holes in teeth!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Seeya Pappy

It's utterly shocking for me to be sitting on the train and realize it's Thursday morning right now. Things are a little bit back to normal, whatever that means. I woke up, ate breakfast, and reviewed a few Mandarin podcasts on the train to Summit. But my brain isn't quite ready for that so I figure it's about time to sum up the last 5 days.

Saturday, I don't remember what we did in the morning. Maybe went to the Chinese market up on 46. After Julia's nap we went up to see my parents at my aunt's house. They were basically tending my dying grandfather, or more accurately my step-step grandfather, my step father's step father. I got to see him for the last time still breathing, but he'd been unconscious for a week previous to that so he was more or less already gone at that point. I don't think he had walked or spoken in a month. His health had been failing for a year.

Sunday I rode my bike at Wawayanda for 2 laps of the sport race. Despite all my hand-wringing I managed a 6th place finish, which helped me hit my goal of a top 10 finish. In driving up to the race, I was thinking of Pappy, aka Budsy. I don't think I ever called him Pappy until maybe the last 2-3 years. So to me he'll always be Budsy. My step father will always be Bird. Bird's brother will always be Tubby. And their sister will always be plain old Kathleen. She used to have a nickname but I forget what it was, maybe Skitso. She was a bit neurotic.

So I tried, but I couldn't win one for the Budsy, as the silly expression goes. I had kept it all out of my mind until the very end of the race, when it was just suddenly there. There was a guy in my class ahead of me, and it was all I could think about to catch him. I poured it all out there trying to close the gap, and eventually I did. When I passed him he was toast, and I continued to give everything I had for the last 100 yards to hold him off, which I did by 5 seconds. It turns out the guy wasn't even in my class.

Then I blew up. I rode down a fire road, got off the bike, sat under a tree, and cried. Crying isn't something I do very often, unless the dark chocolate runs out at home. So I was a little surprised at myself when I found myself sobbing under the tree. Nobody likely saw me, but if they did I'm sure they would have called me a big pussy for crying after a bike race. So it goes.

I didn't know it but he was dead by then. We knew it was only a matter of time the night before, but you don't know if that's 4 hours or 4 days. Well it turned out to be 4 hours. I told him he could go, that he had a good long life, which was true. I doubt he heard me and if he did he would have told me to piss off. But that was my peace to him, I guess. We all need to say goodbye one way or another. That was my farewell. If he had made it another day I was going to head up again Sunday after the race. But after a phone call I found that wasn't necessary.

Monday we spent the day with my parents. The amazing thing about a 2 year old is that they're oblivious to this stuff, so life just goes on. Of course, that's what we need during these times. So we just hung out, Julia demanding that grandpa walk her up and down the hill incessantly that afternoon. We washed the car, ate salsa and chips, drank coffee - just stuff to do while enjoying the beautiful day. At one point I asked my mom to make me a coffee and Nat admonished me for not doing it myself. But that's one thing Nat doesn't understand about the culture. At times like this, you need normalcy. For my mom, being able to take care of her son in any way is normalcy, the way things should be.

Tuesday was the funeral, where it became clear to me that I'm the "now" generation. You know how you were young and your relatives would get together and if something needed to be decided it was your uncles who discussed it? Well that's me now, just that there are no other uncles in this picture. The older generation is gone, our parents are now grandparents, and you're the one who needs to do the right thing when it needs to be done, like spending the day drinking coffee or walking the elderly back and forth to their cars during the viewing or giving up your train seat to the old man or pregnant woman.

So that's life. It's ironic for me to write that given I ride a bike as a hobby and post pictures of 17 year old pole vaulters. But the way I see it a person can do the right thing and still be a goofball. You still need to enjoy yourself.

I also got to see 3 of my cousins that I hadn't seen in like 15 years. One is a drinking and drug using neurotic, one is a snippy little bitch, and the 3rd is just the sweetest little girl you could ever meet. It's hard to believe the first and third are sisters. I'm the oldest of the bunch by 8 years, so to me they're all still just little girls. When we're all in our 50s they'll still be the same.

So that's that, 4 of my last 5 days. To top it all off I woke up yesterday, got on the scale, and saw 200. What a kick in the balls after that weekend. So I went on red alert and ate nothing but dandelion flowers all day. It worked, as I managed to pare off 6 pounds and this morning I'm back down to 194. Talk about a yo-yo. Monday 195, Wednesday 200, Thursday 194. I think I'm going to stay red alert for a while though, because I look like a fat slut in this picture, apologies to all the fat sluts out there:

It's hard to look at that picture and think, "By golly, there goes a top 5 sport class racer. I can just see it." Christ, it's hard to look at that picture at all. That's all the reminder I need to stay on red alert. I need to get serious about paring off this vacation hangover weight. I'm starting to sound like Joel Fleischman (how pathetic there's no picture of him?) or one of the Sex in the City chicks.

Anyway, so long Budsy.

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