Winter Wonderland

Design by Etai Smotrich-Barr

There is always a period during the winter season in which I am revived. I feel a rush of pure life, born from sitting at home for three weeks, reunited with my chaotic, unconcerned parents. 

To be precise, it is my dad’s presence which transforms me into a creature of havoc. My dad and I have always had a strange relationship. Not in a problematic “we don’t talk about it” type of way. More in the “he’s an odd little man” and “I’m a peculiar little child” type of way. He is, truly, a rare species. And I suppose I must be too.

My dad is the type of professor whose demo experiment was set aflame in front of his PHYS 200: Chaos class. Though he was greeted with applause from the students taking a midterm across the hall, his own students were more inclined to film the combusting extravaganza. They later emailed him the recording with the subject line “our famous professor.” I was granted viewing access. I will never be able to repay him for the absolute pleasure of witnessing the sacrifice of the last few strands of hair on his head.

My dad is the type of man who lugged a black garbage bag filled with melted candle wax with him on a two-mile hike up a mountain to a Greek church. To be fair, the bag was propped up only a few feet away from a sign that read “Help Needed!” The sign was also leaning against a deserted market stand and the garbage bags were piled up off the side of the road. Though a more rational mind would have deduced that the bags contained garbage, my dad claimed he had been called to fulfill his civic duty: bringing trash bags to church! The disappointed and slightly bewildered priest asked him to return the trash to the bottom of the mountain on his way out. 

My dad is the type of dad who yells at me for arguing with my mom, but squeezes my cheeks and sprinkles holy water on me a few seconds later. This is his go-to response to any conflict. My dad is the type of person who makes a joke and continues expanding upon it to the point that I must aggressively point out that it is no longer funny. My dad is the type of dad who gets pulled over for letting his six-year-old daughter poke her head out of the sunroof while standing on the car console. My dad is the type of dad who teaches me good driving practices—although he hits a car about every other week. More recently, he’s the type of dad for whom we have had to post bail. For yet another car accident. But that’s a story for another time. 

My dad is the type of person who even enjoys missing the highway exit for the fifth time and having his glasses lenses fall into his boss’s meal and casually forgetting his phone in the airport. It seems as though he’s simply mastered the art of everyday absurdity.

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