Sometimes when I am bored at work, I call home in Algeria to chit chat with the parents, for a recipe, a random question or for a laugh…
My dad is now retired, he never picks up the house phone, he wants to be called on his mobile to get some use out of it, he never picks that up either, he also never takes it out with him when he leaves the house. I had to explain to him that it was called a “mobile” for a reason but he ignored me. (Just now I called him to get more quotes out of him for this little post and nothing; nada)
When you do call him on his mobile, after he reaches up for it on top of the highest furniture in the room, he has to remove his glasses and squint to see who it is first, then by the 10th ring, he will dramatically struggle to slide it open, by then the phone call drops or the caller gives up.
My dad is a badass character, I heard from a reliable source that he has a foul mouth, though admittedly I never heard him say more than “saligou” in our presence, though everybody is missing a link according to him and we live in a mental country where the language spoken is screaming.
Since retirement, my dad got funnier, admittedly I find him funny because I live far from him, my sister finds him annoying at best of times, I guess there is nothing funny about living with your dad at the age of 30, it is neither easy nor ideal, perhaps it’s practical but let’s not encourage that.
Apparently the whole family including the neighbours and their dog is conspiring against him, they hide his hair brush (he HAS no hair), his glasses keep moving, he can never find them, he accuses mum of moving them on purpose and accusing him of suffering dementia. You can never laugh out loud at home, because the neighbours have nothing better to do than to listen to me laughing, he argued “but you laugh like a hyena”. Fair point.
When I visit, I am usually spared the wardrobe commentary, at least for the first few hours, then you can really tell he’s suffering and has to let it out,
“is this what they call la mode nowadays?”, “Those trousers do nothing for you ma fille”, “c’est pas tres elegant ma fille”, “you look like Gavroche”, once he referred to my Bermuda shorts as “kilouta”.
He doesn’t like my weird style, it’s not tidy or smart and he usually laughs in my face and this is me getting the guest treatment. Ahhhhh fond memories.
After about a couple of days, he forbids me from touching the crossword puzzles, because I can never finish them, apparently he only finds it adorable for the first couple of tries and I only prove him right, I am an apeutpriste, we are all Apeutpristes, the whole of Algeria is a nation of apeutpristes, including the people who make the Puzzles because he always finds “mistakes”! ya ya!
Everybody is out to get him and his money, the plumber doesn’t know what he’s doing, he’s a cowboy, “I will do it myself” so he does and makes a mess of it, latest damage; he put a hole in the brand new bath tub and taped it with duck tape and painted over it with white so my mum doesn’t see it. She did and called him an apeutpristes. Ah sweet justice, he didn’t eat her diner that night.
I know you’re starting to see the similarities…
But that’s just my dad; I always thought he was different from other perhaps more typical Algerian dads, but I am pretty sure he isn’t. When you think about it what makes the Typical Algerian dad?
Is it the gandoura he owns and only wears some Fridays not all, the fact he calls everyone a hypocrite particularity if they were bearded, or is it the fact he never cooked a meal in his life (Omelettes and BBQs don’t count), or maybe the respect he always manages to impose and the fact he can be uber annoying and his excuse will always be “because I am your father”.
I always find I have a different relationship when I am away from him to when I am under his roof; I have a fondness, love and respect for him that is unimaginable but it doesn’t make him mind his own business, be less annoying or less imposing, but he’ll always be loving, funny and my dad.
American dad: eat your heart out, Algerian dad remains my favourite character of all times, he gets my jokes and knows how to boil water.
Now; I am against (over) quoting other people unless it’s my dad or someone of great wisdom, but this is a quote I find to be very true:
“That is the thankless position of the father in the family-the provider for all, and the enemy of all. ~ J. August Strindberg
Dz-Chick….daddy’s girl! Always…