I kind of like my parents. I think they are cool. Not so much because they try to be up on the youth culture of the time (which I am not sure how much I am familiar with anyway), but because they take genuine interest in people and things around them.
My mom tells me the things about my dad that charmed her when they were still dating.
One episode is when she asked him to tutor her in her Japanese, and he refused to be paid since it was not his area of specialty. She thought, “wow! The samurai spirit!! How cool!!” and I am sure that her eyes twinkled.
Another one is when she took him to a dinner with my uncle and grandfather and he was served bleu cheese. He had never seen the stuff before and you know how strong smelling bleu cheese is. But instead of turning his face away in disgust, he looked at it and said, 頂いてみましょうか。 To my mother, a student of Japanese, this must have sounded really cool. (The utterance of a foreign language you are learning in earnest by a native speaker always arouses some tingly emotion—especially if it is by a man you already like) At the same time, she was impressed by his laid back and adventurous attitude of trying something entirely new to him without reservations.
A digression: My mom grew up in a home where new and different things were always worth trying out. She tells me about this Chinese restaurant in Chinatown that her father used to take her to when she was young. How he was friendly with the Chinese owner of the restaurant and how they used to try all the different and completely foreign foods to them. Yes, she grew up in a typical cosmopolitan home with cosmopolitan values.
So, she thought “wow!! What a cool guy!!”
My father has not changed. He is always eager to try new things with this nice laid back attitude and faces those new challenges or objects with a nice sincerity. He is also quite serious about learning where my mother comes from.
(My mother has made knowing about Japan her profession, which was why my parents met in the first place, so she also doesn’t fall short in that area.)
He once confided in me something I never knew: Whenever he goes to a foreign country, the first thing he does is to look for the Jewish museum or the Synagogue, or something Jewish in the area. I never knew that.
My parents are full of surprises. That is why I think that they are so cool.