Posts Tagged ‘sudden outbreak of memories’

The Old Man and the Wind

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

It was a windy morning, that January 16 of ’08. Not as bad as the usual Santa Ana winds tended to bring, but still pretty up there. I still had a lingering cough from… whatever bug I had caught a couple weeks before, and despite all that Mucinex I’d chugged but I would be damned if I missed the funeral (that, and I did NOT want to be left alone with Evil Stepfather, who definitely would have been taken gold for Worst Person in the World for booing my contribution to the burial loot but I’ll get to that in a bit). I had this itchy-as-hell shirt and the over-jacket that I’d originally gotten for when I placed within the top 10 for Features of Fontana, and for some reason I’d brought Dinah along as I thought there would be a lot of downtime and waiting around at Riverside National…

We’d gone to pick up Robert (Kelly was bringing a friend and using her own car, I think she was coming from work?) and then went to Riverside. Thankfully the winds had died down somewhat by the time we got there, but it seems either we were early or the funeral staff was late, so mother parked the van near the huge duck pond near the entrance. Some time later, Aunt Sally’s car pulled up in front of ours.

I’d only remembered seeing her before then when I was 4 years old, and at that time she looked like a slightly older version of Det. Wheeler from Law and Order: Criminal Intent (mostly the hair). She still had that same hairstyle, only it was now a much darker brown. I also remember trying to stop mother from going into a tirade about how she thought father brought his own demise upon himself, but to no avail. WTF. You don’t go saying things like that to his sister, ESPECIALLY at a funeral! Even if some of it is true, it was in really poor taste! >:(

Sally had also brought a photo album… I think it was a new one she had compiled when she was informed of father’s passing? I don’t recall, and I don’t feel like diving through the archives to corroborate. A lot of this material was new to me, especially the pics of father as a boy (oh, and his senior portrait? If he had brown hair and a little stubble, totally could have passed for Robert. The other way around is probably true). Mother was all “you should scan and email those,” and I think it sailed over Sally’s head, judging by the way she reacted.

Then the funeral staff pulled up. They, uh… didn’t know who I was. Apparently they thought father only had two kids. >_>; (excuse me for being too sick to help much with the service planning) Weird coincidence: the director’s father (in law?) had also passed away more or less at the same time, ouch. We also met the priest who had been called in to actually perform the service– a bespectacled Catholic priest, he had a distinct accent, made him sound very Scrooge McDuck-ey. (Internally? I LOL’d. 80’s nerd amusement, yes, but also because I’d supposedly given father a Scrooge-themed pen at some point– I STILL have no memory of this– and he was very much amused by it.) The hearse arrived, so it was time to shift over to the actual service… area… thing– a patio-like “outdoor church” with benches and such.

And holy smoo, we then realized how many people had actually shown up. I’d thought that the audience would be very very small (seeing as mother had banned me from as much as notifying Ophelia and the others so they could come), but there were lots of VERY distant relatives of House Ayarane and their families. I don’t know if father knew any of them, but a lot of the men looked like him— the same kind of face and the hair and body type. o_o; In a very twisted way, it was almost like Osaka’s Chiyo Country bit in Azumanga Daioh, except replace all the Chiyos with… you get the idea.

There wasn’t a formal seating arrangement, it was more or less “let’s pile in as many as we can on the benches” but even then it was still pretty much standing room in the back… though as father’s children we did have front-row seats (necessary especially for Robert, since he was the designated recipient of the flag from the honor guard). Then the funeral started up and took its course– lightly Catholic-themed with the added honor guard details.

Part of that arrangement– particularly, the decision to involve a Catholic priest– still strikes me as a bit out of left field. I know father was born a Catholic (and that was only by seeing it on his dog tags– he never even mentioned it in person) but that was it. He was otherwise pretty much a secular guy, never really spoke about religion. Huh. Oh well.

I don’t know why I had recalled the funeral this morning. Was it my stuffy nose? Or that today is a Sunday? Or that I had played old man Phil in WoW yesterday? Or some other unrelated thing? Surely one of those had brought it on.

But yes… old man Phil. Well, old men in general. I have this particular… fixation (I’m loathed to call it a “fetish” since that implies that it’s sexual, which this most definitely is NOT) on badass old guys. While I mostly blame Final Fantasy 4 for this– Fusoya ftw, ESPECIALLY in the DS version– it cannot be denied that father factors into it too. He wasn’t perfect– nobody is– but he was certainly the most normal person in the family. Big, goofy dude, and more importantly, not a jerk!

So it is no surprise that there are a lot of “replicas” floating around…. variants of the Phil Ayarane root character. With the exception of WoW, they all predate father’s death, and he knew about them, but in particular he was VERY much amused by the CoH incarnation. “O RLY? What are my powers?” “Oh, you can heal and shoot pink psy-bubbles out of your head. And you can fly!” And he was grinning like a fool when, on the previous Father’s Day, he saw me coloring that Ramen of RT!Phil casting Indignation.

When the burial loot was being assembled for placement in the coffin… they were going to put in father’s cell phone and car keys, not so much as relics of everyday living, but more as symbols of my siblings (the cell phone for Kelly, and the keys for Robert), but for some reason they were hard-pressed to find one that could be associated with me (aside from the headlight, which Robert had decided to keep and use as part of his IT training). At that point mother had suggested a Ramen piece, and to do it in high-res so it could be printed on nice photo paper and put in a frame, which led to that piece of CoH!Phil in his Sorciere formal uniform. And as mother was apt to do, when Kelly came to collect it so she could hand it off to the funeral staff, that morning mother had shown the Ramen to Evil Stepfather. I told her not to because I knew it wouldn’t end well, but she did it anyway.

…He booed it.

“That doesn’t look like him! Why would you bury that with him?” Accurate resemblance wasn’t the point, you old jerk-ass, but rather that father was greatly amused at there being characters styled in his likeness and were total badasses on top of it. Even mother tried to tell him that, but Evil Stepfather STILL pooh-poohed it. What would he have me do instead, not contribute to the burial loot since there wasn’t anything else that would be equivalent? Sheesh. Evil Stepfather, gold medal winner for that day’s Worst Person in the World. It’s ridiculous, of course, but the whole thing still bothers me today since it constitutes a giant dismissal of both my ability and my bond with father.


If there is anything to boo, it’s the fact that father will never get to play himself. I had wanted him to read for RT!Phil– and he’d have probably done it, too– since, after all, I am hard-pressed to think of anyone who could replicate that goofy-but-badass quality of voice. (At least… in English, anyway. I still maintain that father’s Japanese VA equivalent is Takehito Koyasu, the master of being silly and badass at the same time. See: Jade Curtiss) Well, maybe Robert could, but it’d be a stretch. >_>;

And with this left-field recollection (and then some) out of the way, we now return to our normal Sunday slacking.