Thoughts on a picture

A probably mid to late 30s Filipino Father with a beard and mustache poses in front of a Christmas tree with his son, the author of this post. They have a striking resemblance.
Dad and myself in front of a Christmas tree circa 1982-84 I’d guess.
I am terrible at estimating child ages. But this picture inspired this post.
Also this is how I imagine I’d look with facial hair. (top)

This is the picture that got me thinking.

I grew up with my dad as my primary male role model. I would almost say only.

When I was growing up, there was a period of time where it was just my Dad in the afternoons taking care of me, all the way until we got home at night together.

My parents couldn’t afford childcare. After school my father would take his lunch break, pick me up. I accompanied my dad back to work, where he’d work the rest of his second shift.

I remember I hanging out in the back of a jewelry store until it was time to go home or my mom picked me up after work.

I would watch as my dad sold jewelry, greeted customers, and dressed a certain way. I learned how to interact with people and how people interacted with him. I knew all the staff and would just talk with folks and learned how to use a ribbon machine for gift wrap.

It’s made me wonder how much of an impact he’s had on my life, and then, after that, on to other people’s lives. I know we’re not the same people, but by the same token, he definitely played a major role in how I started learning how to be who I am. The person I’m discovering and keeping track of now.

I want a lot of you reading this to know that my father helped shape the first “me” you met, but who I am now is in no small part influenced by all of my interactions and experiences with you.

I think I turned out all right.

Thank you.

Paying it Forward

I’m approaching the end of what I consider my Office Hours.

It started earlier with laundry, then some cleaning up. Paid some bills, took a look at some lighting (for video calling) I could send my mother. Finished off the last of the immediate errands with the help of Meredith.

Had a long talk with my mother about making sure that my brother and I had current copies of the advanced directive and maybe just trying to figure out what to do with things in a safety deposit box.

It’s strange but I feel like I’ve done enough to make life just a little bit easier for my Future Self.

It’s a weird time y’all.

There’s No Time To Explain!

A dorky title because.

I’m going to talk about the future, mainly the immediate future. This is a space that I often am aware of. Like deadlines, or meals, or what used to be vacation plans. When I think about the Future, I imagine a vast, undefined space of probabilities, dotted with signposts along the way. In this space is the reality of my own mortality, something that is looming closer every day.

So the Future was filled with signposts of future known events surrounded by this fog. And the fog is every day life. That space I walk through is the living moment to moment, hundreds of individual tasks that all hang in the air until I pass them. These are the “mundane” forgettable aspects of my own existence that I push through.

It was never personal. The Future, being not the Present, always seemed imposing, impenetrable, indecipherable.

But the Future is incredibly personal.

Because I live there.

I often have thought about my life as three people. Three separate people, who make independent decisions based on the information they have at the time and they make the best of it and don’t talk to one another. They are, chronologically.

Past Fil. This guy leaves stuff everywhere for me to clean up, and is kind of rude, honestly.

Fil. The Person writing this entry, but only for now.

Future Fil. I don’t know who this person is. I think about him only occasionally but when I do I have a lot of questions. Does he have food? Is there money in the bank? Have the secret police taken him for something he wrote? Does he have a job?

(Note: I have additional thoughts on each of them, but I think it’s a longer discussion that’s going to need some thinking. Probably another time.)

Thinking about them as separate has always been incorrect since they’re all the same person. I guess separating them was just my way of coping with my past decisions and my own inexperience at thinking beyond month to month rent.

Which is also another story.

Me Mom Dad at a party, Dad has a plate full of food and is reaching for more and Mom is holding me while I look off to the camera's right. I don't know who took the picture.

About the Author

This is a picture of the Author that his wife took, circa 2019.

Filemon Palero
Filemon Palero

He never looks like this, in his head. He thinks, that somehow, he’s a distinct individual, separate from his father.

And yet, here he is.