Yesterday evening I was out running errands in preparation for my imminent drive to Arizona to get Mike settled at college. Because I was running errands, I sent Mike to the airport to pick up his dad (my ex), who'd been in Chicago for the past 5 days to attend a memorial service for an elderly cousin. While he was there, my ex also visited friends and family, including our eldest daughter, Alex, and her fiancee, Chris (not to be confused with our son, Chris, or my ex-boyfriend, Chris).
Mike and I both arrived home around 10 PM and, as is often the case, we ended up sitting around in the living room, talking about our respective days.
"So how'd it go, driving to the airport to pick up Dad?" I asked. (There'd been severe thunderstorms in addition to rush-hour traffic to contend with as Mike drove to the airport.)
"Oh, it was fine," he said. "Dad took me out for dinner afterward, at Chipotle's, and I had a really good time with him. We talked about humor, and movies, and stuff like that. I'm really glad I can talk to him about stuff like that. I don't think most kids can have a conversation like that with their Dads, and I'm glad I can."
He paused, a pregnant pause. I waited.
He sighed. "Sometimes, though, I just don't get Dad at all!" he said.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
He sighed again. He said, "OK, well, Dad was telling me about his trip to Chicago, and it sounded really neat. He saw Alex and Chris, and Ked and Betsy and Buff, and a bunch of his cousins, and it sounded like he had a really good time..."
"Yeah, that sounds great, right?"
"It does, it sounds great," I said.
"Yeah, I thought so too, but then...GET THIS...Dad starts telling me about this really great TOPLESS BAR they all went to..."
"Whaddya mean? Who went?"
"Dad, Ked, Betsy, Buff, and...GET THIS...ALEX and CHRIS!"
"They all went to a topless bar?!?!?!"
"Yeah...and like...I don't care if Dad goes to topless bars...I mean, that's his business, right? I mean, I don't really wanna know about it, but I figure it's his business...but geez...he takes his own daughter to a topless bar??? What's that like for Alex? What's Dad thinking?"
"Wow, I don't have a clue, honey...I can't believe he did that...and I can't believe Alex and Chris went. Wow."
"Yeah, me either, and Dad just kept saying, 'It was actually Ked's idea, he and Betsy go there all the time...' Who's Betsy?"
"Ugh, she's Ked's little sister...I KNOW her...I can't believe they all go to topless bars together...TOO WEIRD!"
"Yeah, I thought so too, and Dad was just so casual about it...like it was No Big Deal...I just kept thinking what that must have been like for Alex..."
We talked about college after that until it was time to go to sleep.
This morning, I called my ex and asked him to meet me for coffee at Starbuck's. He agreed, and as we sat there having our cappuccino's, I said, "So how was your trip?"
"Well," he said, "I already told you about the airline losing my luggage, etc., but other than that, it was great. I really had a good time seeing everyone; Alex and I caught the Toulouse Lautrec exhibit at the Art Institute; I took her and Chris to lunch at Berghoff's, where we had the corned beef...incredible, as always...oh, and Ked knows this great Spanish restaurant where we all met for dinner...Ked, Betsy, Buff and me...and I invited Alex and Chris, and they met us there...we had a great time...it's a tapas bar..."
...of course...tapas...a tapas bar...makes sense now.