Growing up, my mom’s frequent trips to Taiwan usually meant a few things:
- Unsupervised TV for as long as my siblings and I wanted until our eyeballs fell out
- Contests with the aforementioned people to see who could go the longest without taking a shower before our dad noticed (I know, we were so gross)
- Candy with our packed dumpling lunches everyday because our father didn’t want our classmates to keel over from our ensuing garlic breath
In a recent return home to visit my dad and brother, I observed the details in the house that suggested they were trying to function as best and as normally as possible without our family matriarch present, as she was again visiting Taiwan, this time to celebrate our grandfather’s 80th birthday.
Peering over the kitchen table, I saw a series of back-and-forth handwritten messages between my dad and my brother as if the text message had never been invented.
My brother: Took the dog out for a walk. April 3
My dad: Fed the dog. April 3
My brother: Can I go to [our cousin] James’ house to play video games? I will be back by midnight. April 4
My dad: Yes. Don’t forget to walk the dog though. April 4
My brother: I walked the dog. See you later. April 4
On my first night back, my dad came to chat with me in my room, holding a wine bottle in his hand. Just as I was getting ready to tell myself how good it was to be home, I realized he’d only brought glassware for himself. Well all right then. While setting the bottle down, I saw that his drink ware of choice, however, was a mug.
Me: Why are you drinking wine out of a mug!?
My dad: Because then I don’t have to wash another glass. When your brother and I are home alone, we are very efficient.
Me: What are you talking about.
My dad: For example, we just keep using the same plate until it needs to be washed. And we feel very good about it.
As I listened to my father continue about the science of his eco-friendly approach to dishwashing, I used the opportunity to document his nightcap for posterity, and I think he sensed that this was likely to be blogged.
“Can I use another bottle of wine!? People know this bottle is only $1.99! Wait – just tell them it is $199!”