April 17, 2018

being 'that person'

I retrieved my son from driver's ed last night.  We've been rewarding him with frequent fast food in exchange for having to go to school three extra hours each day for two weeks.  This is not in his best interest, but it's damned convenient and short-lived and keeps him from whining (mostly).

Maybe it was all that waiting, or maybe it was the semi-rancid coffee, but yesterday evening, I was in an odd mood, a house blend of bold and indifferent to others' opinions and sanctimonious and irritable, tinged with upright citizenship.  Fits my hypomania.

Is there anything more fun than making your teenager squirm?

As we were leaving his school, we read the sign out front:  "Congradulations [Random Academic] Team - 1st Place State Championship!"  The "d" screamed at me.

Me:  "You have got to be fucking joking.  This is out by the road.  It's, like, everybody driving by knows the best high school in the county can't be arsed to proofread its own marquee.  I'm e-mailing the principal as soon as we get home."

Him:  "Oh my god, no.  Don't.  Seriously.  Don't."

Me:  "It's not like our last names are the same.  He won't know."

Him:  "He will.  He knows.  You always write him about stuff.  We're associated.  He knows me because of you.  Do you know how mortifying it is when you're walking down the hall and the principal walks by and singles you out and says hey?"

Me:  "So what?  He cares.  He'll come out here tonight in his truck, you just wait."

Him:  "Jesus Christ.  Please don't."


(The principal wrote me back almost immediately and was on his way to fix the sign last night.  I let the kid think I forgot to e-mail.)


We hit the McDonald's drive-thru and he asked for a Big Mac meal.  The voice coming through the speaker was extremely loud and distorted and if they hadn't had the display screen showing the order, I would have had to proceed on faith alone.  I pulled forward.

There was a large sign placed at the corner of the building showing the current Happy Meal toy offerings.  They're endangered animals, I think, and they all look slightly demon-possessed.  A wolf.  A tiger.  A tree frog.  If I were four years old and got one, I would not be able to fall asleep in my own room while it was there with me.

Him:  "Those are spooky as fuck."

Me:  "Agree."

Him:  "Next time I'm getting a Happy Meal and giving you the toy."

We reached the first window.

Me:  "I'm going to be an asshole."

Him:  "Please don't!  Stop!  Don't be an asshole.  Just pay, okay?"

Me:  "If I don't tell her, nobody will."

(The employee was using her hand to press her headset mic right to her mouth whenever she spoke to someone in the drive-thru line.)

(Window opens.)

Her:  "$5.42."

Me:  "Here you go.  Hey, can I tell you something?  I wear a headset all the time so I totally get it, but back there, it's really distorted, so try not pushing the mic all the way to your mouth.  Just trust it.  It'll free up a hand, too.  Just letting you know.  Thanks!  Have a good one!"

I pulled to the second window.

Him:  "You really did just do that, didn't you?"

Me:  "Well, how else would she know?  I just fixed her life.  She has a free hand now and people won't keep saying, 'What?  Hunh?'  See?"

Him:  "I wanted to disappear."

Me:  "Here, take your drink.  And here's your Big Mac.  You're welcome."

Him:  "Are we going straight home now?"


I don't want to become "that person" ... you know, the one who makes it her business to go around setting the world to rights.  And I'd like to blame it all on the hypomania, but that would leave out the part where I was at his elementary school spring carnival years ago and saw signs in all the door frames that said "PLEASE KEEP CENTER ISLES MOVING" and I didn't see any sand or palm trees, so I took a pen and wrote in the missing "A" on all the signs.

This was not by any stretch the first time I'd done that sort of thing.  I can't tell you why correctness in the world is so important to me.  It isn't necessarily OCD; it's more an aversion to apathy, that of others and the temptation of my own.  Not OCD.

Um ... there is a difference, isn't there?


Scariest.  Creepiest.  Fucking.
Thing.  Ever.  See?
Now you're awake.

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