Cheering Down The Freeway

, , , , | Related | June 21, 2018

(When I am around seven years old, there is a string of drunk-driving incidents in my hometown, mostly related to underage drivers. It is all over the local news for several weeks, and it really upsets my mom. Because I often carpool with a friend to school, with her older sibling driving us, she sits me down and has a long talk with me about not riding in cars with people who have been drinking, to call her or my dad if I don’t feel safe riding with someone, etc. Unfortunately, she neglects to clarify for seven-year-old me exactly what beverages constitute “drinking and driving,” because we have this gem of a conversation about a week later:)

Me: *running into her room* “Mommy!”

Mom: “Yes, sweetie?”

Me: “You know how Daddy drove me to gymnastics today?”

Mom: “Yes?”

Me: “Well… um… Is wine a ‘drink’?”

Mom: *stunned silence* “[My Name], are you saying your father was drinking wine in the car?”

Me: “Yeah! It said it on the can!”

Mom: *jumping up and grabbing the phone off the hook* “I can’t believe he… Wait, what can?”

Me: “It said it in big letters, ‘CHEERWINE’!” *a form of cherry soda*

Mom: *slams the phone down* “Oh! Oh, thank God!”

(We then had different talk about drinks that are okay to have in the car. My dad thought it was hilarious and still likes to tell people that story nearly 30 years later.)

It Rums In The Family

, , , , | Related | June 21, 2018

(I am about nine and our family is on vacation in the Caribbean. I have spent most of the day down at the beach, and with the heat and the salt water I am very thirsty. There is only one stand that sells soda, and it is down on the other end of the beach. My Mom and I start walking toward it. Along the way, we run into my grandparents walking the opposite way.)

Grandma: “Where are you two going?”

Mom: “[My Name] is really thirsty, so we’re going to get her a soda.”

Grandma: “Well, I have a coke here she can have. It’s diet, though.”

Me: “I don’t care.”

(I’m just eager to drink anything. My grandma hands me her cup and I take a huge drink, and a second later I start spitting it out on the ground.)

Grandma: “It’s just diet; it’s not that bad.”

(My mom takes the cup out of my hand and takes a small sip.)

Mom: “There’s rum in this.”

Grandma: “Oh! I forgot about that.”

Parents Don’t Provide Insurance Assurance

, , , , , , | Related | June 21, 2018

(My father is doing the mandatory driving practice with me when I’m 16 when I only have my learner’s permit. He isn’t the most attentive or patient. We’re at an intersection on a low-traffic street, turning left with no dedicated arrow. I’m looking around first to make sure the road is free to turn.)

Dad: *insistently* “Oh, come on, [My Name]! Go! Go already!”

(I obey. He’s my supervising “experienced” driver; that’s what I’m supposed to do. Immediately, a car shows up from the opposite direction, going straight at high speed. It crashes head on into us. Luckily, no one is actually hurt, but both cars are nearly totaled. At least no one is in legal trouble over it. Nevertheless, both my parents seem extremely unhappy and troubled over the accident, speaking alternatively in very subdued and alarmed tones on the topic of the insurance coverage. They also keep giving me accusing looks for days on end and being extremely curt with me, almost as if I’ve deliberately killed someone. Finally, I plainly ask them what is going on.)

Mom: “Oh, well, you’re not covered on our car insurance.”

Me: “What?!”

Mom: “Yes, well… When we moved to the states two years ago, we had no US credit score or any other records, so when your dad bought the car no one wanted to give him an insurance policy. Finally, the car dealership called up some agent who came over and took a bribe of $300 cash to write up a policy for Dad. He asked him if he had a wife, but never bothered to ask if he had any children, so you were never recorded with the insurance as existing. We thought we might need to notify them when you turned 16 and got your learner’s permit, but we just weren’t sure.”

(I’ve been driving around with both of them, on my learner’s permit, for five months at this point.)

Mom: “Yes, you see, we just weren’t completely and totally sure. So, we just never called them at all. Now they’re giving us trouble over you having been driving the car, and may very well completely refuse to cover the accident.”

Me: *speechless doesn’t quite seem to cover it*

(The kicker is she still somehow managed to make this explanation sound like the entire business was largely my fault, despite having been told the exact circumstances of the accident. I just tuned out of the entire business after that. I was traumatized enough by the accident and couldn’t deal with any more details about my parents’ stupidity. The insurance eventually paid, I think, but it took us a full six weeks to get our car back from the shop, which is three times the typical timeframe for these repairs, so I’m sure my parents had to deal with a lot of trouble over it. I made it a point to keep out of their financial affairs as much as I could after that, so I’m not sure if they ever learned their lesson. There are a LOT of lessons I’ve learned from them throughout my childhood about all the things an adult shouldn’t EVER do.)

Blood Drive

, , , , , , | Related | June 20, 2018

(This happened several years ago. My father, brother, and I are on a car trip to visit my dad’s family. It’s a long trip, and at thirteen, I’ve just started getting my period. I don’t know how to use tampons, nor have I figured out that pads come in varying thicknesses. Unfortunately, I get it the day before we are meant to leave, and have been doing my best to keep things subtle, but over the course of the twelve-hour drive, I have been asking to stop at least every two hours. This happens around hour ten.)

Dad: “Look, you’re cut off from fluids. We stopped two hours ago, and we’ve only got two hours left; you’re fine. You don’t need us to stop again.”

Brother: “Yeah, what’s the matter with you? You’ve barely had anything to drink all day, and you’ve added like an hour onto the trip.”

Me: “Guys, I know it’s annoying, but please, please, can we stop soon? There’s a gas station in a few miles, and I really need us to stop.”

Dad: “You’ve been saying that all day! You can manage at least another hour, all right?”

Me: “No, seriously. I really, really can’t, okay? Please, please, please stop at the gas station, Dad.”

Brother: “God, you’re so [expletive] annoying; you’re being such a brat.”

Me: “Guys, please!

Dad: “I’m not stopping.”

Me: “Do you want bloodstains in your new car, Dad? ‘Cause that’s what’s going to happen if you don’t stop.”

(There’s a moment of quiet, and then…)

Brother: “Are you trying to threaten us into stopping?”

Me: “I’m on my period, dumba**!”

(Another long pause. Dad pulls into the exit lane.)

Brother: “Can’t you just… Hold it in a little longer?”

Me: “That’s not how that works! I’m not willingly trying to ruin my shorts! It just comes out!”

(Neither of them spoke another word until we reached the gas station. When I came out of the bathroom, they’d bought a pile of different types of chocolate for me, and asked me if I needed to stop every time we passed a rest station the rest of the way there and back. They do their best, in their own way.)

What Came First: The Prank Or The Egg?

, , , , , , , | Related | June 20, 2018

(Growing up, I was the kid in my family who tended to have the worst sense of humour. I was certainly a stick in the mud at school, and even at home I wasn’t very good at taking a joke. Still, my family was very close, especially after my grandparents moved to the same town as us. One day, we are visiting a nearby village and pop into a tourist store. God knows why, but they have these little rubber eggs on sale; they’re not round enough to bounce properly, just rubber eggs used for… I’ve no clue. However, having a quid burning a hole in my pocket convinces 14-year-old me that this particular trinket is worth having. That afternoon we head to my grandparents’ house for lunch. I pop into the kitchen and open the fridge, and I spot that the egg tray is just one short of being full. Looking around to make sure nobody is watching me, I grab the rubber egg out of my pocket and put it in the tray. Afterward, I pretty much forget about the whole thing… until a week later, when I am back at home.)

Mum: “Hey, [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes?”

Mum: “Didn’t you buy a rubber egg at that shop in [Village]?”

Me: “Oh, umm, yeah. I did. Why?”

Mum: “What did you do with it?”

(I told her about what I’d done, and she burst out laughing. It turns out, my gran tried to crack the egg, only to find that she couldn’t. Rather than realising she’d been pranked with a rubber egg, she instead took it down to her local supermarket and asked for a refund!  The employees were staring at her like she had two heads, before two of them took the egg and started playing catch. My gran still had no idea what was going on, but the chuckling manager happily gave her a free box of new ones. The next time I saw her I let her know what had happened and she spent the day with a huge grin. Apparently, what had really shocked her and my mum is that I’d managed to not tell anybody about the prank until it paid off! My gran still mentions it whenever she goes to that supermarket.)

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