My dad had vanity plates 7.10.19

My dad with the vanity plates he’s had since the 1980s? I don’t remember, long time.

My dad with the vanity plates he’s had since the 1980s? I don’t remember, long time.

I’ve parked behind my dad’s car since high school. I drove his old Toyota Celica 1979? Something like that. That’s something I would ask him and he’d still remember. He’s really good with numbers. He could remember every single box they had in stock at his warehouse. Every number of every NBA player dating back to who knows how long.

Well, I don’t know how well his recall was the last couple of years. He could do complicated math problems in his head, no problem. My mom and sister are also really good with numbers. It’s my brothers and I that are into the words, reading, writing though math are topics we did well in too.

But it was always my dad that we’d turn to for calculating whatever we needed pre-smartphones. Lord, those phones have probably made us all a lot stupider than we all realize. There was a study of cab drivers in London where they did MRIs. Parts of their brains grew as they learned the streets of London. I’ll find it because it’s so interesting. Hang on.

Study on London cabbies brains.

Looks like the hippocampus grows but at the expense of another part of the brain. That is in line with my theory about my brain. I love neurology. My dad used to be my GPS. I could call him and he could navigate even outside the city. Him and his friends rode their bikes all over so he knew all kinds of roads.

I should explain why my dad has the boxes vanity plates. He opened up a box business around 1976, I was maybe five years old. He had no inventory in the beginning. There was a Carton Service Co in Portland, Oregon and he thought: wouldn’t it be cool to start that business up here? So he started cold calling and picking up customers, then had the boxes brought up from Portland. Things were tight those years. They had all four of us kids, my mom was barely 30 years old, and my dad made up his business here in Seattle (sounds familiar).

He got these vanity plates (I will hold back my opinions on vanity plates out of respect for my dad) in the 1980s when business was good. He was so proud of them! Of course, when I drove his car as a young woman, I was mortified. I think it took only one drive around teenage boys to find out what “box” often referred to in their minds. Eyeroll.

I just remembered! He had them on the station wagon my mom drove and I think the third car which was for whoever was driving, or in town or whatever. He wouldn’t give them up.

Nobody has suggested moving his car. We have a really weird driveway here. I park behind his car, and then have to back up out of this twisty-drive. I’ve been doing it so long, I could literally do it with my eyes closed and get out just fine. My dad could drive backwards better than anyone I’ve ever seen.

It’s weird how someone dies, and you see them in this different way. It’s the strangest thing. I’m sure it has to do with all his friends telling stories too. I never realized we both loved hanging out with younger people. I hadn’t thought of it in that way. But it makes sense since we are both above-average hyper people and like to be active.

There was this darling group of guys that came to the shiva from his Crossfit gym. I could have listened to their stories about my dad for hours! At one point, I REALIZED THEY WEREN’T EVEN MY AGE. THEY WERE YOUNGER.

Yup. That’s right. My dad worked out with people 30 years younger than him. One guy, the wife of a distant cousin and yes I’m related to half of Seattle hello big reason I didn’t date much around here, was so sweet. He was telling this story about how my dad kicked his ass at the gym. Those stories kept coming up. I mean, I knew he was strong, of course. But I didn’t quite get how it was seen and felt by his workout buddies.

When I’m up for it, I’m going to go visit them at the gym.

Wow, I didn’t think I’d be able to write in here. I kind of forced myself. I thought it would be a good way to mourn him instead of laying in bed, crying, staring at the wall.

And I think it is. I want to write stories about him. Or collect them at least. I don’t know. I’m so tired today. It’s good that people are visiting. One cousin yesterday and a kid, today another cousin and a couple of friends helping me figure out getting enough food in me. I’m working really hard at it. It’s not easy! I don’t feel like eating much ANYWAY, and then the heaviness of grief.

My lord.

I was so overwhelmed with how it unfolded that I went back and read all my blog posts! I did a tiny bit of editing but not much because it’s the real deal. Holy shit. No wonder I was wigging out. What a fucked up situation to be witnessing in-house, my Pops, and the whole thing.

I keep thinking of when the medics picked him up - I hear sirens now - and I went to fist bump him goodbye as they medics carried the gurney out. He couldn’t lift his hand. My super strong dad couldn’t lift his hand even a little bit. He’d been oxygen deprived for too long, his extremities not getting enough air. That’s why they kept sending him home from the ER when he had the ankle clots.

He was dying. He was slowly suffocating to death.

Ok time to let some tears flow. That’s enough today.

I have to say the cutest thing about him driving that car with those stupid plates is that everyone knew it was him. I’d see old friends and they’d exclaim: I saw your dad driving by last month!

I forgot how much of a relationship so many of my friends had with him. He was always so chatty and friendly! Some friends even stayed here when they’d never met my parents before, on their way to an Alaska cruise, on their way through town for some reason. Often, I’d learn something about him that I never knew, listening to him chat with my friends.

So many people are crushed. He was such a people person, a connector, someone every knew in the community.

Ok, that’s enough today. This isn’t going to be easy. Not easy at all.

Jules