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Entries in driving (2)


Parking Nazi

On Valentine’s Day the wife and I laughed as we sat next to each other saying, “we should totally pack the kids up, go to a mainstream Mexican restaurant and try to dine with all the other throngs of Valentine’s Day celebrators.

Ten minutes later we were in the car, in the thick of heavy, hungry, Valentine’s-celebrating traffic trying desperately to find our spot in parking hell just so we could dine in over-priced deliciousness on a Hallmark Day.

We had become pawns in the game we laughed about just minutes ago.

But that’s beside the point.

The point in hand was that the entire time this nightmare unfolded before our eyes, our 8-year-old was back-seat-driving like it was his job.

Some of my favorite quotes from the night:

“Daddy!! Right there!!! It’s right there…two lines!! Park between them…jeeze!!!”

“Ok…Ok..OK OK Ok, back-up now!!! Awe daddy you blew it, come on!!!”

“Over there daddy I see a line! Park on the other side of it and let’s eat!!”

What you didn’t hear in-between those jarring phrases were things like:

“Dude…that’s a handicap parking space!”

“I can’t back-up, there are human-beings behind us!”

“There’s a sign in that awesome space that says ‘Residential Parking Only.’”

I was so used to the wife front-seat-driving, clutching things as I drove down the Interstate, yelling at me with phrases like “there are children in the car!!” and “oh, you should totally take a right here because there’s this cute little antique store we should visit.”

It was as if the wife had completed some satanic ritual when I wasn’t looking and dubbed the boy “Parking Nazi” so that she would have more time to play Angry Birds on her phone in the car.

And the boy owned it like it was his job.

Me: “Dude! You know I’ve been driving for almost two decades right?”

Son: “What’s a decade? Oh…and right there daddy!!! Park there…turn, turn, turn!!”

Me: “OK, first – there’s a fire hydrant there. Second, a decade is 10 years. Third, shouldn’t you be picking on your sister or flicking boogers at her or something?”

We never found a space to park that night. We ended up going home defeated, dejected, and hungry.

The boy didn’t learn his lesson. He helped me drive the entire way back home.

The only difference was now he was back-seat-driving while flicking boogers at his sister as the wife played Angry Birds while mumbling, “you told him it was OK to do it.”



I'm the Meanest Father Alive!

How is it that we can drive from Chicago to North Carolina (14 hours) in one day with the kids and have it be somewhat sane, but from our house to the grocery store – maddening?

It seems to be the case these days. We can’t go anywhere without:

“Stoooooppp Macy.”

“Mooomm….she’s crossing the line”

“Daaaddd, Grayson just said I’m not his friend anymore.”

“Mooommm….Macy unbuckled from her seatbelt.”

…..and it goes on and on. I spared you the blood-curdling screams, the crying, and the death threats the wife and I impose on them.

This past weekend I hit my limit. We’d spent the entire day going fishing, getting ice cream, looking at replacement fish, playing with friends, roasting marshmallows, and riding bikes. We were on our way home and the screaming, yelling, kicking, telling on each other started and I lost it.

I finally reached the point where I would actually order, and use, a My Therapy Buddy while swaddling myself in a fucking Snuggie, sucking my thumb, rocking back and forth naked in a closet.

I’m all: “you know what – I should start treating you like my father treated me. No more bike rides, no more ice cream, no more fishing, no more playgrounds, no more anything. You mow grass, wash my car, wash windows, rake the yard – you earn your fun time.”

The daughter totally didn’t give a shit. She was all, “whatever jagoff, you know you’re not gonna do shit to us. Now fetch my sippy cup bitch!”

The son – whole different story. He started uncontrollably bawling. The whole way home this went on. Finally I pulled him aside. “Dude, why are you so upset?”

“That’s the meanest thing anyone has ever said to me.”

And it hit me – the kid thinks I’m gonna instantly turn his life of bliss into a replicated childhood like mine.

Now don’t get me wrong – I got to go swimming, ride bikes with my brother, do some playing, etc… But, that was usually when my father was “traveling” and rarely, if ever, involved the guy. When he was around, fun times were few and far between.

“Grayson, I said I ‘should’ do those things. I didn’t say I ‘would’ do those things. When I was growing up my daddy didn’t go on bike rides with me. He didn’t take me to parks for hours at a time. He didn’t do a lot of things. I would never do that to you. I just want you to appreciate what we do do for you.”

You could see his little sponge brain soaking in words flowing from my undersized mouth. He quickly cheered up, quit the crying, gave me a hug and took off.

Ten minutes later he was kicking the shit out of his sister on the couch.

I didn’t ever expect to be telling my son about things from my childhood this early in his life. But it seemed to make sense to me. It seemed to be the right time to teach him a lesson he could relate to. It seemed the right time to strengthen our relationship a bit by letting him know how lucky he is to have a dad who loves him to pieces and makes sure their time spent together is kick-ass and not getting your ass-kicked.

Regardless, I still can’t wait till the little bastard can push a lawnmower.