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Back-Seat Mothers

| Vancouver, BC, Canada | Parents & Guardians

(My mother is an incredibly nervous backseat driver who insists on sitting in the passenger seat when somebody else is driving. My parents have asked me to drive them downtown to get on their cruise ship. It’s an incredibly busy time of day, so I’m nervous enough as it is. It’s a warm, sunny summer day and the roads are perfect.)

Mom: *gasp of horror*

Me: “What happened?” *looking around to see if I almost hit something*

Mom: “Sorry, that guy in the next lane was pulling up next to you.”

(A few minutes later:)

Mom: *gasps again, starts slamming an imaginary brake*

Me: “What is it?” *looking around again nervously*

Mom: “Sorry! I didn’t know if that car was stopping at that red light.” *she points way ahead*

Me: “Mom, please calm down. I’m nervous enough as it is.”

Mom: “Sorry, I’ll try.”

(A few minutes after that I’m cautiously driving through a major intersection. I pull into the middle of the intersection.)

Mom: *screaming frantically* “[My Name], WATCH OUT!”

(In an absolute panic, I slam on the brakes hard enough to slightly skid. My father and a friend in the backseat get coffee all over themselves, horns start blaring behind me from the abrupt stop, and we’re all thrown forward into our seatbelts.)

Dad: “Oh, my god, what happened?”

Me: *looking around frantically* “I don’t know. Mom just started screaming. Mom, what was it?”

Mom: “…”

(The car behind us honks again; the people in the next lane are passing us and staring in confusion. Luckily the light is still green.)

Me: “Mom, what?”

Mom: “…that guy up ahead turned his signal light on. I thought he was going to change lanes.”

(The embarrassment seemed to fix her though; after realizing how psychotic she was getting, she’s been much better ever since!)

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Pizza Waits For No Man

| Sweden | Parents & Guardians

(My dad and I are driving down to the south of the country for Christmas. We’re both low and silent due to my mum having passed away recently. The mood is somber until the following conversation takes place. As we pass a tiny hamlet…)

Dad: “Here’s a busy place. It’s got both a gas station AND a pizzeria.”

Me: “Is there even a village in this country that doesn’t have a pizzeria?”

Dad: “Probably not. It’s the unmanned type.”

Me: *not thinking* “What, the pizzeria?”

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I’m Guessing That’s Not A Pile Of Diesel In The Driveway

| MB, Canada | Holidays, Parents & Guardians, Siblings

(It’s Christmas Eve, and my family and I are driving around looking at people’s decorations. The conversation turns to Santa’s reindeer and their diet, and this happens:)

Brother: “[Sister #2], I heard you say reindeer eat gasoline!”

Sister #2: *laughing* “No, I said they eat GRASS and LEAVES!”

Dad: “Maybe that’s how they fly!”

Sister #1: “I want to know where their exhaust pipes are.”

Mom: “No, you don’t!”

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Star Wars: A Holiday Special

| Reading, MA, USA | Holidays, Parents & Guardians

(It’s approaching Christmas. My dad is giving me a ride home from an exercise class, and we are going through a residential area. I’m a geek and a writer. Because of this, my dad loves to catch me out on grammar mistakes.)

Dad: “Keep an eye open. I saw a decoration you’re going to like.”

(We pass by a house that has an inflatable Yoda dressed like Santa.)

Me: “A Yoda Santa!”

Dad: “A Yoda Santa? Why would you call it that? It’s a Santa Yoda. That’s really not the kind of grammar a writer should use.”

Me: “Well, considering the way he speaks…”

Dad: “I mean, you call Santa ‘Santa Claus,’ and… Oh. Yeah, I guess in this case you have a point.”

Me: “Grammar takes a back door to character tics, Dad. Learn this, you must.”

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Mothers Drive You Insane

| Melbourne, VIC, Australia | Parents & Guardians

(My mum can be very irrational at times, especially when she’s impatient or when something isn’t going her way. She also has a very bizarre concept of social graces; she thinks it is important to speak politely, such as saying please and thank you, but has no qualms acting in ways that most people would consider inconsiderate, selfish, or rude. This happens when we are going to the Chinese/Vietnamese Lunar New Year Festival. The festival is celebrated at many locations across the city; this year we are going to one we have never been to before. My mum wants to set up a stall on the street to help raise funds for the bilingual school she teaches at, and my brother and I (aged 16 and 20 respectively) have agreed to come and help. My mum is driving, and my brother and I are passengers. We are running 10-15 minutes late.)

Mum: *getting impatient* “This traffic is awful. We’re never going to make it in time.”

Me: “We’ll be there soon. We’re already in [Suburb]. I’m sure everything will be fine.”

(We continue to drive in this manner for several blocks, her complaining about the cars not moving fast enough, and me trying to assure her everything will be fine, but she only gets more and more antsy and impatient. We reach another red light, and out of nowhere, she loses it and turns off the car.)

Me: “Mum… what are you doing?!”

(My mum then GETS OUT OF THE CAR, goes and opens the boot, and starts taking bags/equipment/materials out.)

Me: “MUM! WHAT THE H***? You can’t just—”

(The light then turns GREEN, and our car is the first in our lane. My mum is STILL BEHIND THE CAR, taking things out of the boot, oblivious to the cars behind her angrily honking, and my brother and I yelling at her. She then goes around to my door and opens it.)

Mum: “Get out of the car! Both of you! Take this stuff to the festival and set up the stall for me!”

Me: “What? I don’t even know exactly how to get there from here!”

Mum: “Just HURRY UP and get out! It’s near my school. You’ll find it! You’ll get there before me with this traffic! GET OUT!”

(Not knowing what to do and desperate to stop the situation from spiraling further out of control, my brother and I hurried out of the car and stood there gaping on the street as our mother finally got back in the car, turned it back on and drove away. Everyone was staring at us. The kicker? It was a ten-fifteen minute walk, and by the time we arrived, carrying all the stuff, confused and frustrated, we’d already gotten lost once and we arrived there AFTER her. She greeted us normally and acted like nothing happened.)

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