Sunday, April 10, 2011

Shirley Sunday: The Driver's License Fiasco

This Shirley Sunday is another blast from the past. Way back about 10 years ago, when I was trying to get my driver's license. After a devastating car accident took the life of a friend when we were 14, I was in no hurry to get my license. I was driving the car to school every day anyway, without a license. (Welcome to Central Kansas.) I drove this micro-sized hotdog cart of a car also known as a Geo Metro.  When I turned 18, I decided I probably needed a license so I could drive at college. Mom decided this was the best time to give me a stress test (crash course) in driving. Mind you, I had been behind the wheel for quite some time at this point, and had my driving routine down. (Back in middle school, my brother tried his hardest to teach me to drive stick, and well, that went over like a lead balloon. I still cannot drive stick.) I was pretty handy at speeding just enough to stay under the radar, and all the other things we drivers do to keep from getting tickets.

Mom decided that wasn't enough training, and I needed her to ride with me until she was sure I would pass the test. It was like riding with a wounded screech owl. If I even thought of drifting a bit off center, she would screech "WATCH OUT! STAY IN YOUR LANE!!!" Which would cause me to startle, and drift more.  Imagine an almost grown woman being screamed at a stop sign and forced to turn around and do it again. I don't remember potty training, but I imagine it was similar. Shirley's way is her way or the highway...or in this case, her way or the driveway. Finally she deemed me ready to take my test. (This required several hours of my composing myself to keep from pushing her out the passenger's side.)

As she drove us to the town I was taking my test in, she relentlessly quizzed me over written test questions. (Reminiscent of our foray into child pageantry- but that's next Sunday.) By the time we arrived, I was so anxious and worked up that I made enough minor mistakes in my driving test to fail. One month later, we repeated this whole scenario and once again I failed. At this point I appealed to my father (Saint D) and asked what I should do, I explained why I got so anxious, and he realized that mom was the only thing keeping me from passing my test. He called into work and took the next day off so that he could take me to my test. We stopped at McDonalds on the way there, as is his usual routine when we are out together. He told me that pass or fail, the ball was in my court. He waited outside while I took my test. Yes, I did have some residual nervousness, as it is in itself a stressful thing, but I passed.

When I got home, my mom's only comment was, "Well, daddy didn't have to take a day off work. You should have passed when I took you." (Seriously, she calls my 58 year old father "Daddy." I thought it would wear off when we were grown, but nope. How embarrassing for him.) Dad looked at her with this completely serene look on his face and said calmly but obviously pissed "Shirley, she passed the test. We are going out for ice cream to celebrate. You can come or not, but she and I are going. That's enough of this nonsense."

So yeah, my mom is a complete ball of nutty goodness, but my dad is the exact right person to handle her. Or was at least. He's pretty much given up on her because she's certifiable. Did I tell you guys about the box of dirty clothing she brought by (in the wrong sizes) because she thought they might fit us? (She didn't care if we liked them or not. We're "obviously" poor, so "obviously" we will wear wrong sized dirty and ugly clothing.) Yeah, so we washed them and took them to a donation box. Polyester is like a cheese grater on my skin. I know she means well, but I'm pretty certain she is well on her way to Dementia-ville. And we are not THAT poor.
Nothing wrong with people who are, and God knows we have been there, but that was YEARS ago. I kinda feel sorry for her because she just tries so hard and fails so completely. It's like learning to live with a grownup with a five year old's mentality. But like I always say, she raised me, and I lived through it, so I do love some sick, twisted, and probably unhealthy codependent  way. But that's a problem for the therapist...See you soon, Alice!

To therapy, and learning to be in the driver's seat.

Love and Laughter,
-Kat Lady