Faith and Logic

“What makes you think you can go off by yourself, huh? HUH? What it the HELL makes you think you can just go off to Europe like that?” His left palm stamps out every syllable, “Elias this is insanity!”

 

At the age of 24, I have only begun to stand up and defend myself to my dad.  I don’t pride myself on the one masculine trait that I have developed—argument, relentless intellectual discussion—but I use it at times to prove to my dad that I’m not an inadequate failure.   In these arguments, catching up as my dad calls it, he talks first and most of the time.  Usually no one wins because the guy just rambles, dodging every bullet like two fighter planes dog fighting.  And according to him, I’m too young to know anything, anyways.

“Did you go to school to get stupid?” he repeats intermittently during his course of babble.

“Do you get all your retorts from movie references,” I ask him in my head.

 

Last night, with some apprehension, I drove with my dad to his favorite Italian restaurant, or at least he calls it that, it’s just fast food in my mind.  There at the restaurant, gimmicky restock black and white photos set in tarnished patina wood frames of famous Italians.  The pictures line the walls inches apart from each other.  It was enough to immerse us in an atmosphere reminiscent of the garlicky-citrus scent of Italian life.  There are statuettes of fat men singing while holding a bowl of pasta and large vessels of wine.   Our hostess pours us a plate of olive oil.  I watched as her tomato print tie nearly dipped into the bowl as she poured.  She smiled, returned to her floor, and left us alone with our bread and oil.  My dad hasn’t said much at this point.  He’s fixated about something on his phone.  Moments later when we’re greeted by a waiter he cuts “the bullshit,” as he calls it, and without even looking up orders a big plate of rigatoni, sauce on the side.   This is where my dad goes to feel important.  He complains about losing weight, drifts off to the nearest muted television, and scrolls through his phone to find the most absurd entertainment the internet can provide for us that night.  His pick: a list of people murdered, “whacked” as my dad would say, in relation to the Clintons.

 

I don’t think that my dad isn’t mindful of being loud, it’s just that he can’t hear.  Even in a public setting, especially an Italian restaurant, it doesn’t mind him a bit to share what’s on his mind.   Tonight the topic at dinner was my reason for travel. I like to have answers for my opinions or at least be able to explore them with someone, but this time I felt pinned, stunted, placed on a skewer; (I feel I should make a reference here to Italian cooking).  Why the hell am I going to Europe?  Why did I quit a perfectly good job? And why, after weeks of immense doubt, have I not canceled the trip?

 

An hour before going out to eat my dad asked me if I heard the news while I was sleeping.  News broke out that there was another senseless slaughter in Nice. The news, however, is just what is out.  Nevermind the fact that there are various levels of  violence and crime every minute over the United States or other European countries. I had been set in dread all month along.  Fears of my money getting stolen, being mugged, getting lost, getting sick.  There is the potential for everything to go horribly awry or wrong.

 

“What makes you think you can go off by yourself, huh? HUH? What it the HELL makes you think you can just go off to Europe like that?” His left palm stamps out every syllable, “Elias this is insanity!”

From my glass of water, I look to see my dad’s eyes locked on mine.  In his mind he’s shaking his head, trying to understand why the hell I get into such foolish ideas.  Still, I don’t have an answer. “I don’t know why I’m going Dad,” I admit. “I know I’m just going to learn of my faith.”

“I don’t understand, Yai-Yai.”  My dad resolves, “but I guess I don’t need to.”

 

. . .

 

Faith and logic have always been distant siblings.  Sometimes they stare at each other and wonder how at all they are related.  Faith hears news and listens to the number of heart beats and counts the number of stars before giving a response.   Logic has always found a bitter taste in this, almost laughing in ridicule.

 

What Logic cannot see is how strong a character Faith is. Under a sheepish appearance, Faith has existed for as long as Logic has.  The two are just as equally fit despite the difference in their experiences.  Certainly, Faith tends to wander and goes through periods of hunger and thirst, while Logic stays put, traveling only for business.  But Logic too has their periods of doubts and times pressed by incompetency.  Faith only sometimes gets along with Logic.  Sitting at the dinner table they speak only when they agree on the topic.  Faith doesn’t believe in answers, the same way that life is always changing and circulating.  Logic, however, has strong fears of the need to know.  Logic laughs at Faith, but knows deep down inside who feels the most assured.

 

From their glass of water, Faith looks up at Logic, to see Logic’s eyes locked theirs.  In Logic’s mind, they are shaking their head, trying to understand why the hell Faith gets into such foolish ideas. Still, Faith does not have an answer.  “I don’t know why I’m going Logic” Faith admits.  “I know I’m going just to know myself.”

“I don’t understand, Faith.”  Logic resolves, “but I guess I don’t need to.”

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