Talking to my father on the phone is always filled with strange, portentous pauses. “So you’re thinkin of movin down to L.A.?” my dad says to me.
“Yeah,” I say. “Thinkin about it.”
My dad says, “Y’know, we get some L.A. people out here in West Virginia. In the A.A. meetings. I tell ya, those Los Angeles people think they’re better than us sometimes. They always come in, and they say, ‘Well, this is the way we do things in Alcoholics Anonymous in Los Angeles,’ and somehow they think they’re better than us.”
“Well,” I say, “that’s a west-coast L.A. Alcoholics Anonymous thing. In Los Angeles Alcoholics Anonymous there’s a two-drink minimum.”
I say, “In L.A. Alcoholics Anonymous there’s a two-drink minimum? … Are you there? Hello?”
“Well, I don’t know about that,” says my dad.
“That was a joke,” I said. “You see, in L.A. there’s a two-drink minimum.”
“They don’t serve alcohol at A.A. meetings,” says my dad flatly.
“Yeah, see, that’s why it’s funny,” I say. “Two-drink minimum at A.A.”
“I don’t get it,” says my dad.
“I’ll work on my material,” I say.
“I gotta go,” says my dad. “Bye.” Click! Phone calls with my dad always end as though there’s a house fire on the other end.by