"I had to take a taxi down to go pick it up." Dad began, shooting me a rather nasty glance. "No one around here to give a poor old pensioner a ride anywhere or help a guy out."
"Hey!" I interrupted. "I offered to drive you to get it but I don't get off of work till 4. You told me you had appointments & didn't have time to 'lollygag around ' all day waiting for me. What was so important you had to get there so quickly anyway?"
"That's doesn't matter now." Dad replied abruptly. "The point is there was no one around in my time of need. Yet when any of you people want something you're calling me up and...."
Before Dad could finish his rant of self-pity, Mom quickly interrupted him. This was good since it appeared Dad was going to be moaning about every injustice he could recall for the next few hours.
"If I remember correctly Simon you claimed to have some type of silly dart or backgammon match down at the legion with your friends." Mom responded. "Just an excuse for a bunch of lackadaisical retirees to booze the afternoon away. So don't you sit there trying to make any of us feel guilty for your impatience."
"Hmmph" Dad replied. "I'm just saying I am a very forgiving man is all. Isn't that what that 'Good Book' of yours says 'Forgive & Forget' or something like that?"
"Let's just go with it says 'something like that' and leave it at that." Mom remarked dryly. "Simon, I really wish you would stop misquoting the Bible. If you want to learn it you will need to attend church a little more than your 'reluctant' once a year visit at Christmas."
Dad just shook his head to the suggestion & then took a big sip of his coffee & began his monologue.
"It was one of them old 'AAA-Rabs' driving the taxi." Dad declared. "Enormous turban on the top of his head. So big it pressed against the roof of the car, could barely turn his head as a result."
My father was very animated in his description of the driver, his arms gesturing as if the cabbie was wearing some huge wizards hat.
I could see right away that due to my irritated fathers' mood, it would not be wise for me to correct his description about Arabs wearing turbans. I decided that silence was the best option for me this evening.
"Do you believe what this guy charged me? $23.00 to go just a few miles." Dad continued. "It would have been a lot higher too if he had gotten his way. Crooked as a dogs hind leg, 'them people'."
"He suggested we take a few unnecessary extra right & left turns to jack up the ticking meter. But I don't mess around, I set him straight right up front. Told him I've lived here most of my life and he wasn't about to 'Jew me' by giving me a drive around the city."
"That's the way to do things. Set 'them people' straight up front so they don't try messing you about, damn foreign bandits."
"Hey Dad" I interrupted, realizing his pointless story was pretty much over. "I saw some comedy movie where these guys went over to India & all the cabbies over there were white guys. I bet you would have loved that!"
"HAHA, Good one boy." Dad responded, laughing aloud. "That's rich. I'll need to remember that one to tell Pete. He'll roll on the floor when he hears that."
I recall that Dads' friend, the 'old buffoon' Pete, pretty much falls on the ground laughing at every joke he hears. But realized I better also keep that thought to myself to preserve the relatively peaceful atmosphere this evening.
Mom then interrupted. "Dorothy's brother Ron is Caucasian and drives a cab here in town. It's an honest living. Why is that so funny?"
Dad sighed heavily and explained the joke & why he found it so funny. He then concluded by saying that it seems that 99% of the cabbies here in this country are 'AAA-Rabs', as he called them.
Mom was clearly not amused in the least.
"That's not funny at all." Mom chastised. "That's untrue & very stereotypical and I also might add, rather racist, don't you think?"
"No, not at all." Dad quickly retorted. "You must remember I'm a foreigner too. Born and bred in Scotland. So I can't be racist. Laughing at foreigners is exactly like laughing at myself, is all. We're all the same. HAHA!"
I began laughing out loud at my fathers' absurd statement. However my laughter ended abruptly as Dad tried to get out of this situation by turning it on me.
"If anyone is a racist in all of this, it's him." Dad accused, his crooked index finger jabbed the air, pointing directly over at me. "He was born right here in Calgary. Canadian through & through. And now he sits there laughing at us poor foreigners & making jokes. Openly mocking us."
"What" I exclaimed, completely taken off guard by my fathers unprovoked remarks. "I am just sitting here. How am I suddenly involved in any of this?"
Mom just rolled her eyes at Dad's lame attempt to worm out of the situation. I thought this time I would help her out a little.
"So Dad" I slowly began. "How exactly does that work anyway - you can make racist jokes about anyone, anytime you want just because you were not born here in Canada & that makes it ok? How is it you get a pass on all of this and claim you can't be racist? It seems to me that your statement cannot hold up to even the slightest bit of logic."
There was no response from him as both Mom and I had expected. Mom got up and began to clear the dessert plates from the table.
Dad continued to sit there in silence for about another full minute before he finally spoke.
"Logic is like whiskey, it loses its beneficial effect when taken in too large of quantities. Remember those words boy, they may do you some good one day."
With that final 'profound' thought, Dad suddenly jumped up from his chair, folded the newspaper under his arm and headed toward the living room and his sanctuary, signalling this illogical conversation was now over.
I notice a lot of our conversations end this way.