Christmas in Vancouver: Diaries

My father types: 09/12/12, Saturday:

Eggs, portuguese sausage, raisain toast
WiiFit 51 years
Cracked filberts
TV lazed.

Not much explanation is needed for strangers. Portuguese sausage is spicy and when heated, an orange oil rises up and coats the cut surface. It is a food from Hawaii, where mother is from, meaning that they would have brought it back from there on one of their trips, and frozen it. The Sun is one of Vancouver’s two main papers. Dad reads one or the other or both every day. Wiifit gives you an age after a “fitness test”, and this one is much younger than Dad’s 77 years. Fiddled relates to an undetermined activity and not music.

Even though the above 12th of December took place mostly on the 13th of December in Sydney, Australia, this is what I wrote in the corresponding date of my Filofax.

Finish EECA Budget
Tim S
John G coffee
Time Traveller’s Wife
Darryl Coffee
Davy Drinks
Stevie. Japanese food and Bondi,
Made love + zzz

A simple list. The first name is related to work. The next four names are friends. The last name is my partner. Bondi indicates that we slept at his house rather than mine in the City. Time Traveller’s Wife was the movie, not the book. I did some work in the morning.

The thing is, I didn’t know my father kept a diary like this, until seeing it this Christmas past: the small ring binder, pages with six holes, in fact, the same number as my filofax pages. I can see that he types up a page every day, or every few days, and puts them in place.

I was shocked to discover I do basically the same thing, except I write my list in my filofax pages. I’ve done so since university. I remember that first instinct, to record my days, to be able to refer backwards, to give shape to my life. It was never much of an imposition – and at times I have found it useful to be able to pinpoint a particular event or time. Early on, it helped me battle a feeling of malaise, that I was not accomplishing anything, to look at what I’d done over a week. I’ve never stopped the practise.

Recently, my mother told me, “You’re not keeping lists like your Dad, are you? He’s been writing things down in that notebook in his front shirt pocket for fifty years.”

How do aspects of our parents make it into our own lives without any conscious recollection? Did I know he did this and forgot about it? Nature or nurture? Neither of my brothers do this daily record of activities.

But I do. Thirty-seven years younger than my dad. My lists. My diary. Like his. I am my father’s son.

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