It was great to have Celeste (my daughter) and Patrick (her husband) spend the weekend, and part of Monday, with us. It was even worth driving through a seriously weird hail- and rain-storm on the way to the Portland airport Friday afternoon. The thermometer on my Volvo was at 48 degrees (outside temperature) just before the storm; it dropped to 36 degrees in the middle of the storm, during which I-205 was completely white—covered with hail—and cars were driving 30 miles an hour on an almost deserted freeway. Then, a few miles later, it warmed up, and traffic went 10 miles an hour because of numerous crashes.
So we were a mere half hour late, give or take half a hour, picking up Celeste. She had already phoned Patrick (who arrived on Saturday) once she stepped outside the airport doors, looking for us: “It’s freezing here, and my Dad hasn’t showed up yet. Do you think I should take the next plane back to L.A.?” Ah, I love my daughter’s hardiness. Patrick brought up her “puffy” jacket, which looked like it would get her up the slopes of Everest. She wore it on a walk around our nearby lake Sunday, when it was 65 degrees out, and Oregonians were in T-shirts and shorts.
Saturday we paid a visit to the one and only optical store in Salem that sells Oliver Peoples eyewear, and I got fitted for some mucho cooler shades. I can only hope that Celeste doesn’t forget about her promise to give me a pair of what I tried on. Famous actors wear them, I’m told. But not those oh-so-embarrassing Maui Jim dark glasses Laurel and I favor at present. Hey, I told Celeste, if I don’t have to pay $300 for Oliver Peoples glasses, I’ll be happy to wear them everywhere I go, a walking/talking advertisement for O.P. (which doesn’t advertise much, at least not in the magazines I read).
Patrick manages the men’s department at the Beverly Hills Gucci store, which puts him in the same coolness range as Celeste. It was interesting to hear tales of Gucci buyers, who clearly don’t live in the same universe as the rest of us. I learned that the trend among the superrich is to have complete wardrobes of clothes in each residence that one owns around the world, so you don’t have to go through the oh-so-gauche labor of packing suitcases and carrying them around with you. Apparently you just carry on the plane your little Gucci tote bag, get picked up by the limo driver, and open the Gucci-filled closets at your other home.
Aside from being exposed to the L.A. Rodeo Drive lifestyle that is so different from Salem’s Commercial Street lifestyle, it was wonderful to catch up with Celeste and Patrick. I got to make my usual pathetic speeches about how so many other guys my age have grandchildren, and how, in these uncertain times, one never knows how long a middle-aged man will live, and whether his only child will ever give him the joy he always has longed for—namely, the satisfaction of seeing Celeste’s child/children drive her as crazy as she did him.
At times...now, she helps me keep my sanity, what is left of it, and I'm hugely proud of the lovely, successful woman she's become. This is the real joy of parenting, when the children grow up, and you begin to relate to them adult-to-adult, rather than parent-to-child. We had some sort of a stuffed animal rite of passage experience together, in which I dragged down from the crawl space bags upon bags filled with her old stuffed animals, and Celeste chose the few she wanted to keep, the rest going to Goodwill.
Then, we hauled down boxes upon boxes labeled “Celeste’s treasures,” stuff she couldn’t bear to part with after graduating from high school. I pulled over a garbage can, and soon it was filled. Another rite of passage, leaving behind memories that once were precious, but now aren’t. Myself, I think this is healthy. I’ve never been one to keep, um, keepsakes. Why get stuck in the past when the present is, um, present?
If you want a taste of how cool I’m going to be looking when my Oliver Peoples glasses come in, check out the O.P. web site. The main page takes quite a while to load on my slow connection, but a lot of hipness is coming over the bandwidth.