When he's at home, my dad always sits in the same seat at the end of the couch in the living room. He uses the end table next to the couch as a desk, his laptop on top of a mélange of papers and folders and pens. In the drawer of the end table, he keeps business cards, newspaper clippings, binder clips (mixed in with the take out menus, ticket stubs, holiday cards, and other ephemera that has accumulated over the years). About a year ago, I opened the drawer looking for a menu and noticed a pack of Dentyne Fire gum. I took it out and held it in front of my dad's face (the only way you can get his attention when he's working).
"What is this?"
"What does it look like?"
"Why do you have it?"
"It's the greatest."
tried a piece and was surprised to find that I was immediately obsessed. I returned to the drawer
five or six more times that day, trekking from the "work station" I had set up in
my childhood bedroom. Every time I'd open
the drawer, my dad would look up at me and smirk before returning his
gaze to his laptop. It made me feel like I was eight years old.
I had no desire to start buying the Fire gum when I got back to NYC;
but, ever since, whenever I'm home I make a few trips a day to the
drawer. I've noticed that, lately, the drawer is always fully stocked
when I get home. When I was home a few weeks ago, there were three full
packs. "Wow, what fortune!" I exclaimed when I opened the drawer and
found the bounty. "What's that?" my mom asked, looking up from her
magazine. "Nothing," I said. My dad didn't look up from his laptop.