When I talked to my sister today, as I do at the start of every week, she recalled that we never went to Disney World as kids because my dad hated lines. As my wife then pointed out, he was also impatient in traffic and had a bad habit of leaving cabinet doors open. This was all learned behavior for me, especially the part about line phobia. Admittedly, I hate to wait, cuss & swear like a pirate while driving, and forget to close doors, cabinets, or to turn off lights. I hadn’t really thought about why. Now, I know…thanks dad. 

As an adopted child, I obviously inherited none of his physical traits, but we shared an interest in numbers, sports, and planning budgets, even though I don’t necessarily stick to them like he did. As an accountant, he was frugal – I am not. He was neat – I’m more of a slob. Both of us were prone to yell at the T.V., but he also liked to taunt the referees (“You meatball!”). I’m less boisterous in public situations, probably because of this! After work, he was a powder keg ready to explode and hid behind a newspaper in silence while nursing a cocktail, as the alcohol effectively instilled a sense of calm. We knew to stay away and to never ask for anything during that critical home reorientation time. Despite some of these quirks, he was still my idol and I spent my entire life trying to emulate his success. I loved sharing good news with him, but feared the opposite.

Through the years, I’ve gotten better about dealing with any phobias about standing in line. Along with my dislike of buffets and cafeterias where I had to serve myself, these were my two greatest adaptation challenges. Phones have certainly helped me deal with the boredom of waiting. I’ve also learned to appreciate the fact that it’s difficult to spend money while standing in line. An hour in line can save hundreds of dollars, especially if you can check on sports scores, answer e-mails, and play games to pass the time. Particularly in New York City or Las Vegas, it’s time not spent in expensive stores or pricey restaurants. Cafeterias also save money, plus you get your food much quicker. For my wife who’s a picky eater, it avoids the hassle of sending things back to the kitchen. She can see the food and select what she likes rather than rely on a server to tell tell the chef to hold the onions or to keep her portions separated on the plate. I still to be served without getting up and being first in line, but through the years I’ve discovered the financial advantages of what were once negatives. 

I miss my dad but still seem to channel some of his good and bad habits. He was a great man and father, adopting two strangers in his home to raise as his own. I can not imagine a better way of life as a child that he and my mother provided. However, I always wondered why her never took us to Disney World when we would vacation in that area of Florida every year with my grandparents? My sister felt strongly that it was because of the huge lines, although he apparently did break down one year and agree to take my Grandmother there for an anniversary celebration. As I think about it, his attitude might have been different if he had a cell phone to keep him busy while standing there for hours.