Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Friday, April 09, 2004


As part of the research for my book on bipolar disorder, I had to interview my father's current girlfriend the other day. She's been with him for, oh, seven or eight years now. Since right before his diagnosis, but definitely not before his craziness. The thing is, she's a really grounded, nice person. Not at all like my stepmother, and not at all like my dad's previous longer-term girlfriends. My sister's met her, and raved about her--and she doesn't rave about anyone.

Of course, this means I've always been curious about why she's with my dad, and why she has stayed with him. Add to this the fact that her daughter is bipolar, as is her ex-husband...and you really start to wonder. Why would she get involved with my dad? She knew what she was getting into; what could she possibly be thinking? And why hasn't she left?

Well, courtesy of my book, I don't have to wonder any more. These and other personal questions were not only appropriate, but important for the book. It was wild. We talked for about an hour and a half. And I had carte blanche to just ask anything I wanted. So I did.

After we were done, my dad got on the phone, and went into one of his patented Why I'm So Proud of You speeches, featuring many comments about how he's so pleased that I'm really trying to understand him and what he's been through all these years, etc. After I'd rolled my eyes about a dozen times, I cut him off and said, "Dad. You gotta be kidding. I just got to sit on the phone with your girlfriend and ask her why the hell she's still with you. And I'm getting paid for it! It's like some kind of sick fantasy come true!"

To his credit, he laughed, and laughed hard. One thing my father has and has always had is a good, wicked sense of humor. And he always appreciates a good line--even if it has a loud, almost deafening, ring of truth to it.

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