Yep, Mothers can be damned embarrassing.
That’s what I was thinking one day, sitting in the back seat as my father drove us about town. I think I was 13 or 14. A couple of teenage girls had cut us off. Apparently, they couldn’t forgive us for being the butt-end of their own butt-hole moment. So, naturally we got a middle finger.
It was shortly after that that I wished I had been raised by someone on the other side of the world.
See, Mom decided to respond in kind. I don’t know if she just didn’t know how it was done or if she just couldn’t bring herself to do it right. Either way, mother proceeded to flip her index finger right at these two.
I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. Better yet, I wanted to have never been born in the first place. Oh my God! How on earth can I be expected to endure this?
I could only hope these girls didn’t recognize me. Did we know each other? That would be worse still. I ruled out crawling under the seat as a bit too conspicuous, and anyway, I was still mad at the girls for nearly causing an accident. My anger didn’t outweigh my embarrassment, but the two feelings together were doing battle for control of my soul, leaving me temporarily paralyzed. I could only stare in horror at the scene unfolding in front of me.
…as my mother decided to raise her other index finger at them too.
I think I actually did try to die at that moment. I tried to will myself into oblivion, not that it worked. I just went right on living (dammit anyhow!) and so I had to watch my mother flipping two non-birds at these two teenage girls.
Dad just laughed.
I thought about jumping out of the car.
And that’s when things got really weird!
Somewhere in here Mom became aware of the fact that she was doing something silly. So did she stop? Of course not. Instead she decided to add her feet to the performance. She stuck both of them right up on the dashboard and pushed her fists up over them, each with her index finger still raised at the two impudent little girls. I really didn’t think she was that limber, but she managed!
Dad was beside himself with glee.
Mom began laughing too.
…and somewhere in that moment, I gave up on trying to will myself to die and decided instead to laugh along with them. We kept laughing long after the girls turned off on another road and traveled out of our lives forever. We laughed all the way to my sister’s home, and for some time after explaining it to her.
…and so many times ever since.
So, yeah, Moms can be mortifying.
And sometimes that can be pretty cool.