Here's the conversation I would have had with my dad this morning, if he hadn't died last week:
Me: "Hi Dad!"
Dad: "Hey, old man! You're all safe back in New York?"
Me: "Yeah, got in just before two last night. Made it in just under nine hours! Eight hours and fifty-nine minutes, actually."
Dad: "My God, you're a wild man."
Me: "Yeah, I dunno, Google Maps says it should take eight hours and thirty-two minutes, but they've never been stuck behind a slow truck on Route 3." (My dad probably wouldn't have had much of a response to that; he didn't mind getting stuck behind a slow truck on Route 3, or any route, because he liked to drive 45 or 50, and not just in his old age.) "Ten hours door to door, I usually think, with, you know, moderate traffic. Although, I didn't take Route 3."
Dad: "But that adds a good fifteen, twenty miles." (You get to the Interstate much more quickly if you go via Bangor, you see. We've discussed the pros and cons of going through Bangor, as opposed to taking Route 3 to Augusta, for at least fifteen years -- since around the time I figured out that my dad, wiser than I in many ways, nonetheless didn't necessarily know the best routes to take from one place to another, even though he was my dad. Anyway, I always approached this Bangor-vs-Route-3 issue as if it were a new topic that we could bat around.)
Me: "Yeah, I know. Took the River Road. There's all the construction on 1A this summer. And I don't like 46; it gives me the creeps." (Route 46 is borderline Deliverance territory. That's no fair, actually: it's just not a nice drive, and you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere, even by Maine standards.)
Dad: "Well, that's grand -- any traffic around Boston? I suppose not; must have been nine thirty..."
Me: "...Right, yeah, a little near Worcester and Hartford, nothing big. I did pick up the Wilbur Cross sooner off of 91 than I have before. Nice to get away from the trucks a little sooner, and you can still make good time."
Dad: "Now... The Wilbur Cross just becomes the Merritt, doesn't it?"
Me: "Yeah. I'm not sure where it happens. Some town line, I guess. Then over to the Saw Mill on --"
Dad: "Ooooooooh! So you do it that way even if you're going to Brooklyn?"
Me: "Sure; otherwise you'd have to -- I don't know, go over the Whitestone or something into Queens, then down the... something, I dunno; it'd be an ugly drive, anyway. Coming in in the West Side, though, it works better if you cut over to the East Side like you were taking 95, except that you don't; you get off and zip down the FDR. Better than West Side Highway traffic (unless it's rush hour cuz things can get snarled up there)... Hey, Dad? What's the thing about the Mosholu Parkway? The poem or something? 'My moon over Mosholu Parkway?' I always think of it when I come into the city that way, cuz you go under it..."
Dad: "Oh! Ahhhh, well... Perelman, S.J. Perelman. 'You're a double-malted with two scoops of whipped cream; you're the moon rising over the Mosholu Parkway'..."
Me: "Oh, right... Who was he, Perelman?"
...Christ, you're not asleep? I commend you on your stamina. Perhaps you've had a lot of coffee. Perhaps you kept reading because you thought something substantial would eventually be discussed. Yeah, sorry. Because that really could have been a Steve-and-Dad conversation -- although we would have switched it up after a bit and talked about Obama, or how we both regretted that we'd been cautiously in favor of the Iraq war, or Seinfeld, or how the internet worked.
But so my question is, who the fuck am I going to have that conversation with now? That stuff -- where the Wilbur Cross Parkway turns into the Merritt Parkway, for God's sake -- was stuff which my dad and I found interesting. Seriously! Go figure.
I was, in fact, on the Merritt near Greenwich last night when I realized that I'd made really good time to New York from Maine, and I thought about how I'd tell my dad about the good time I'd made, but quickly realized that I wouldn't be telling him about it at all, ever.