Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A visit to Older Daughter's place of employment

Older Daughter called Thursday night. "So, Dad," she asked, "what time will you be done with your deposition tomorrow?"

As I'd mentioned in this morning's post, I went to Indianapolis last Friday, for an expert's deposition. Inasmuch as this is also where Older Daughter now resides, I at least wanted to stop by and say hello.

But I had no answer to Older Daughter's question. "It's a deposition," I told her, "It takes however long it takes. It shouldn't take too long."

"Well, will you be free for lunch then?"

No, I told her, we were starting at noon, and of course I had to talk to the expert first.

"Well, will you be able to pick me up after work?"

Ah, I thought, now we come to the nub of it. Older Daughter has no car. She's working in a suburban location (I don't know if it's technically in a suburb, but she'd previously made it clear that this new office was not on a major public transportation route.) "I don't know," I told her. "I'm actually hoping to be done before you'd get off work."

"Because it would be helpful if you could pick me up tomorrow." Older Daughter listens when she wants to.

"I don't know when I'll be done. You can't predict this stuff. I think it'll be short, but I'm not even the one asking the questions. It's what the other guy wants to ask."

"Oh." There followed a lengthy, awkward pause. She then said she could get her boyfriend to pick her up. But this clearly sounded as if it were a last resort.

"That sounds best," I told her. "I'll call when I'm done and we'll see where you're at."

"OK," she said, but it may not have been entirely OK. Our conversation ended shortly thereafter.

Fast forward to Friday afternoon. The deposition was done and it was not even 3:00 pm local time. I called Older Daughter on her cell phone.

Actually, that's her only phone, still with a Chicago area code. I remember when you could tell where a house or business was from the exchange -- the first three digits of the seven digit number. I can even remember when the first two characters of the exchange were usually letters. RAndolph 6... BUtterfield 8... no, wait, that's an Elizabeth Taylor movie....

"So you're going straight home?" Older Daughter asked when she picked up the phone.

"I thought I'd drop by your office if that was alright," I told her. Long Suffering Spouse had bought a book she wanted me to give Older Daughter. Younger Daughter had found her sister's camera in a pile of laundry -- before running it through the machine -- and I was to return that as well.

Older Daughter brightened. She started rattling off directions. I cut her off. "Just get me close," I told her, "then I'll call back."

I thought I'd be taking the Interstate, since I was downtown and she was somewhere on the northeast outskirts of the city. But she told me to take an arterial street 103 blocks. I wanted to make sure that these were directions she was relaying and not her own best reckoning.

I don't wish to imply that Older Daughter is directionally challenged; I wish to state so expressly. When we first moved to our current home, a decade or so ago, she got lost... going around the block.

But the directions were fine and the subsequent directions were equally good and I arrived at the office a lot faster than I thought I would going down an arterial street for so long a distance.

Older Daughter is a receptionist in a pediatric neurologist's office. I gather the doctor is a hospital employee, but this was not the hospital. It was just a professional building owned by the hospital. In the middle of the woods.

Aside from the bucolic setting, the office looked like any number of medical offices which I've visited over the years. Older Daughter was attired in the pajamas favored by most persons in the health care industry; the younger the patients being cared for, the more colorful the scrubs. Older Daughter's were colorful.

I was a little unsure of the protocol for such a visit. After all, I'm not yet accustomed to having adult children. I was entirely unprepared for the tour I received. No -- not the tour of the office -- I was prepared for that. I was a little taken aback by the "tour" of her apartment -- via images captured on her new cell phone.

I met most of Older Daughter's colleagues, but a procedure was underway so I did not meet everyone. Then the patient and her mother left. Another staff person, who'd been assisting in the procedure, came into the reception area, and I was introduced as "the father."

"Oh," said the new arrival, "well, we'll just have to see about that...." Her voice trailed off quickly and she beat a hasty retreat. I didn't turn back to look at her, but she apparently began gesticulating wildly at the office manager because that lady also excused herself.

A moment later, they both returned, the office manager laughing, the other lady apologetic. I didn't realize your were Older Daughter's father, she said, "I thought you were the patient's father." Apparently, the recent patient was not living in an intact nuclear family -- and the mother had made some choice remarks about the absent father.

I took the lady's proffered hand and shook it. "That's alright," I assured her. "The blood test came back negative."

But, other than that, I believe my visit was a success: Older Daughter didn't get fired. I think she was even glad to see me -- and show me a part of her developing world.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

Good story about your Older Daughter!

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

any bubbas there?? if not, i can send you some! bee

off line said...

in this story i find it touching how some things don't change.

As children they are proud to show you off to their teachers and as "grown-ups" they are proud to show you off to their work-mates & bosses.

You're a good dad, Curmudgeon.

cmhl said...


I was always proud when my dad came to see me @ my office--- I liked showing him off.