First Person

‘What’s avocado toast?’ A timeline of my father’s recent visit

'What’s avocado toast? Is that painful?' A time log of my father's recent visit to Brooklyn
Yeah, that’s my dad. Paige Goodloe / Brokelyn


8:04 am: I wake up, frantic and hungover. I begin to clean my apartment, which no living human other than me has stepped foot in for at least a month. After a few hours, every available drawer is stuffed to bursting with the random shit I’ve accumulated over the past few weeks/months/years, but it smells better. This looks good, I think to myself as I shove 12-15 cardboard boxes behind my headboard.

8:45 pm: I’m at work in midtown, waiting for my dad’s train to come in. I get a text: “The Eagle has landed.” I guess that means he’s here, though it might mean a literal eagle has landed on his bus. You never know with my dad.

9:15 pm:  He’s not at my office yet.

9:25 pm: Okay, where the fuck is he.

9:27 pm: He got mugged, he got kidnapped, he joined a gang.

9:31 pm: He’s here. He explains that he took so long because he stopped for a piece of pizza. “It was only a dollar!” he exclaims, mystified, though he admits his slice was a little more because he “got all the fixin’s.”

10:13 pm: We take the J back to my apartment. At every stop he does a boisterous impression of the Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors guy, complete with wild swinging arm movements. “He’s like a cheerleader! I love him!”

10:27 pm: He begins a pattern of letting every single other person waiting get off the train disembark in front of him, which would be polite and kind of sweet if it weren’t totally unnecessary and took for-fucking-ever.

11:11 pm: Planet Earth and beer from the bodega. We make lots of inappropriate jokes about schist (the metamorphic bedrock that helps New York be so tall) and, once we exhaust all the geological puns we can think of, soon fall asleep.


9:02 am: My fairly standard coffee maker baffles him, only because I got up to turn it on while he was in the bathroom before going back to sleep. “I came out and your coffee maker was on and I was so confused, like does it have a motion sensor?? What’s happening???” He waves his hands in front of the coffee maker a few times to demonstrate.

10:17 am: He wants to go for a run. “So I go this way to get down to the cemetery, right?” No, you go this way. “No I don’t, that’s the front of the building,” Dad, I live here. “Because the subway is that way so I want to go that way,” Dad, I live here. “Oh I see, so I have to go this way,” Right, that’s what I said. “Oh yeah, I guess you live here, don’t you.”



Dad. Paige Goodloe / Brokelyn
Dad wants to let Mom know something. Paige Goodloe / Brokelyn

1:55 pm: We both go to therapy— I go to the therapist, he goes to the guitar store. Except the guitar store doesn’t exist anymore, so he sits in Bryant Park and watches a man with a coat on his head read the paper.

3:01 pm: Central Park— more schist jokes. “Check that schist out!” etc.

4:30 pm: We go on the rowboats in the park. I say it’s probably going to be stupid but actually it’s really fun. We see a lot of turtles.

4:55 pm: “No I don’t think it’s going to rain,” he says, looking at the radar on his phone while I’m looking at the cloud looming over us.

4:57 pm: It’s raining.

7:30 pm: We go to a comedy show hosted by some of my friends from college. He gets hit on at the bar by an older woman who is apparently on her third husband. She says he’s a good man but he’s not good for her. I tell her my mother is a nice woman and she pretends not to hear me. Then she says she’s going to buy us some shots, which, yknow, I  wouldn’t turn down. That promise went unfulfilled, however, which was probably for the better.

10:45 pm: We discuss the merits of going home in a pedicab, trying to imagine it on the BQE.

11:24 pm: It’s a long ride home. Dad’s resolve starts to fail. “Why are there so many freakin’ people in this city?” he asks. “Where did they all come from? I don’t get it.”


9:35 am: We get breakfast at the cafe on my corner. It’s a little strange for him. “What’s avocado toast? Is that painful?”

9:47 am: “Where can I buy some artisanal mayonnaise, like in that sketch? Is that real??”

10:16 am: We stop at the hardware store. He fixes up my bathtub, I think we both get a little high from the fumes. “Do you know there’s a hole in your ceiling??” Yes. This confuses him.

11:45 am: We set out for the Transportation museum. My dad must be some kind of amulet, because we keep having absurdly good train luck. As in, the train is always pulling into the station right as we walk onto the platform; it’s almost offensive. But he is fixated on the lack of cross-Brooklyn transportation options. “Wait, so we have to go back into Manhattan? There isn’t a train that goes right there? Somebody should get on that.”

12:06 pm: Dad loves the city again. “Oh hi puppy! Hi baby! Hi customer service person! Hi stranger! Look at that lady, she’s dressed so cool!” His bright yellow raincoat makes him easy to keep track of, at least.

12:14 pm: “Wait, so we go down into the subway for the museum?”

1:08 pm: He gets a little nostalgic as we’re walking through the old subway cars. “Did you know you could suck quarters out of the old parking meters? My students taught me that when I drove the bus for the juvenile correctional school.”

2:35 pm: We leave the museum and go to this guitar store in Gowanus, Retrofret, so he can take a look at some vintage guitars. He appoints me his “sponsor,” as I am not allowed to let him buy anything. But honestly it’s not my money so I’m not that invested in my promise.

2:45 pm: “Wow, so much rosewood,”

2:46 pm: “Oh I can’t touch this, it’s too much money,”

2:47 pm: He’s touching it.

3:10 pm: He plays for a little while, and then we leave. As we get to the sidewalk he nearly explodes with delight. “THAT WAS A $50,000 GUITAR! UNBELIEVABLE! I didn’t play it, but I strummed it.” He pauses, thoughtfully. “Frankly, I don’t get it.”


Me and my dad. Paige Goodloe / Brokelyn
Me and my dad. Paige Goodloe / Brokelyn

4:30 pm: We take the G up to Bushwick for pizza and beer at Roberta’s, and it seems every other person in the world has had the same idea as the back room slowly fills with sheepish twenty-somethings and their Baby Boomer parents.“Speck? What’s speck? Is it weird? Will I like it?” It’s like ham. “Oh I like ham. I like ham a LOT.”

4:32 pm: “You should do that for a skit.”

6:47 pm: We sit on my couch and drink beer and watch Bob’s Burgers until it’s time for bed.


8:34 am: We get up and have breakfast and make our way into Manhattan. We listen to a jazz band in Washington Square Park, then head up to the Union Square farmers market to eat lunch.

11:19 am: I take his picture in front of the All You Need store so he can send it to my mom.

12:13 pm: We get some bread and cheese from a stand, but nothing to cut either with. “It’s fine!” he says. “We’ll rip it with our hands!”

12:14 pm: We are covered in bread and cheese crumbs.

12:24 pm: We sit in Union Square eating hunks of bread and cheese torn off with our fingers, and we talk about definitions of success and goals and life. It’s perfect, if such a thing exists.

1:30 pm: I take him to the train. We sit on the floor of Penn Station and try to think of all the songs we know that mention Boston. His gate comes up and we hug, and I watch him go down the escalator and I cry but just a little bit because he’s my dad and I love him and I’ve never been good at goodbye. I’m very aware that these days are precious, that living so far away means I don’t get to see my parents as much as I want to.

1:43 pm: On my way to work I stop for a slice of dollar pizza. I get all the fixins.

Like this article? Check out more meditations by Paige Goodloe on Brokelyn here.

This post has been updated, originally published in 2016.


  1. Erin L

    I reflexively almost sent this to my Dad, but then remembered he would not get it and would tell me again that he’s never setting foot in Brooklyn. You & your Dad rule.

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