3 Conversational Gambits To Attempt While Your Father Drives Silently Beside You
It’s not important as to why you agreed to this 45-minute drive with your father. Maybe he’s taking you to college. Maybe you’re coming home from a distant uncle’s funeral. Or maybe you’ve just spent the afternoon not speaking at a baseball game, with you dad alternating his attention between a hot dog, the on-field action, and the program bio of the second-string short stop.
Whatever the case, you’re looking at another near-hour of silence building between the two of you that threatens to blow open the airlock of emotion you’ve been ratcheting closed since the ninth grade. Don’t run that risk: try these 3 conversational gambits that should dispel any legitimate chance at making a real father/son connection.
1. Pretend You Don’t Understand His Job
It doesn’t matter if your dad is a fireman or a history professor – there’s at least an hour or so of arcane details surrounding what he does for a living that he would be happy to drone on about until the lights of your front porch pull into view. Make sure to phrase the question so that it’s completely open-ended, and don’t be afraid to say ‘well, what do you mean by that?’ or ‘I don’t think that was very fair,’ or even ‘it’s hard to believe he’s still in charge when there’s a man like you around’ more than a few times.
2. Remind Him That His Father Was An Exceptional, If Mysterious, Man
Dropping a trail of conversational breadcrumbs that will lead your dad’s thoughts away from his relationship with you as he ponders the lack of a relationship he had with his own own (now dead) father will buy you at least 45 minutes of emotional invisibility. Timing is everything, however – the car ride must end before he mentally resolves not to make the same mistake with his own progeny, or you’ve just bought yourself two to three weeks of uncomfortable eye contact and ‘togetherness.’
3. Lock Yourself In A Gas Station Bathroom
Tell your dad you need to stop for a piss break, and weather his stony ‘you should have gone back at the ballpark’ glare. Once inside the rest room, snap the key off in the lock and back into the stall. Wait until night fall. Your father has most likely gotten lost in the box scores he was reading in the parking lot while waiting for you, and perhaps even absent-mindedly driven home without you. Check to see if the coast is clear, then Uber home, crawl through a window, and never speak of the ball game again.