Plane, Train, or Automobile?

December 28, 1997

  Still in Los Angeles. I talked to my dad this morning and he sounded a hell of a lot better. His doctors aren't saying much beyond "he's had a heart attack, he's doing fine." He has a stress test scheduled for Wednesday, which will decide his future course of treatment -- surgery or not.

So I'm waffling all over the place, practically frozen by indecision over what to do. Of course I should go see him, but when and how? Do I go now and not be able to stay if they decide he needs surgery but at least be there while he was in the hospital if he doesn't? Do I go later so I can be there for the surgery if there is one or at least help him out around the house if there isn't? And when I do go, do I rent a car (I don't trust my truck for the trip) and kick my ass with a straight shot 11 hour drive each way through a Colorado winter or do I kidnap a banker's kid for ransom to pay for airfare to fly there and still have to rent a car because I'll probably have to fly into Durango? Or, if I'm flying, do I fly into Albuquerque or Salt Lake to save on airfare and drive from there? I know he wants me to come, I've told him I'm coming, I have to come. Indecision...

Underlying all this is a faint tinge of old resentments. Once again, I'm the guy corralling the troops, notifying my brothers and sister of what happened, and I'm the guy everyone's looking to to do something. My brothers "can't" get away from work to come with me to see him even though they're both waiters, a position where getting days off is an art form. My sister didn't really want the ICU phone number so she could call him, but rather wanted his address so she could send a card. Everyone -- my dad included -- is looking at me with the expectation that Chuck Will Handle It. And I will, but goddammit, it pisses me off that I'm always the guy holding the family together, and it really pisses me off that my dad takes it for granted that I'll handle it and he's more upset that my sister won't even call and my brothers won't come than he is grateful that I'm here for him. Why bitch about it, though? It is what it is, has been for years, and I'm used to it. Get me, I'm the knight in tarnished armor.

Ah, family... An accident of birth, I say.





Copyright © 1997
Chuck Atkins