Monday, July 21, 2008

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (or visit from the parents, part one)

My parents, sister and nephew all arrived for a visit a few days ago. They live quite a ways away so it’s always a big event when they come. This year they were all squeezed into my dad’s convertible. Now that my dad is in his mid-sixties, he has developed the idea that he is a major chick magnet, driving around with the top down while sporting a pair of gas station Ray-Ban knock-offs.

The first night they were here he insisted that I go for a ride with him. Lynne, being the good sport that she is, came along for the ride. She told my dad that she needed to run in to the grocery store to get juice. What she REALLY wanted was beer. My dad does not drink and frowns upon others drinking. This presented a bit of a problem with sneaking a 12-pack of beer into his car. Lynne asked the checkout girl to cover the box with another sack hoping to disguise her purchase. We were discussing the potential risk as we made our way back to the car.

Me- “What will he say if he sees the beer?”
Lynne changes her voice in a funny imitation of his- “You don’t need to be drinking that. And I’ll say, “Oh yes, I do. It’s either that or pills.”

My dad has a tendency to be overbearing and opinionated to put it mildly. It is bad enough that my mom has to be on Xanax to travel with him. My sister keeps a bottle of Ativan handy but my dad is the one that really needs to be medicated. I would be lying if I said that it never occurred to anyone that drugs in his Dr. Pepper just might be a good thing…

After hiding the beer in the back seat by my feet, we resumed our cruise around town. It had been a while since I had ridden in a car with my dad and I had forgotten that he has really turned into a bad driver over the years. He hits the gas then takes his foot off. Hits it again enough to cause you to fly forward and then lets off quickly and throws you back in the seat. He repeats this process maybe 8-10 times per city block. My mom says that he does this all the time. She has taken to exaggerating the motion of being thrown forward and backwards when she rides with him. I think it’s pretty funny but it would seem that he doesn’t.

Frankly, it’s beyond me that my mom even gets in a car with him after all she’s been through riding with him. He is very aggressive while driving and will engage in really dangerous behavior. He has been known to flip people off, slam on his brakes to punish tailgaters, etc. He’s also a bad tailgater as well.

He once pissed of a semi driver on a two-lane highway while my mom was in the car. The semi driver had some of the same personality traits as my dad and attempted to run them into a ditch to get even. This angered my dad so much that he had to catch up with the guy to try and get his license number. My mom was so scared that she was crying and begging him to let her out of the car.

There was also the time he was dropping my mom off in front of a casino and she got caught in her seatbelt. Her door was open and she was hanging by the belt and he started driving off, dragging her right along. She was screaming and at some point started calling him a ‘stupid son-of-bitch’. That made him really mad and he called me that night. All I can remember for sure is that his version of the events didn’t include any wrong-doing (or attempted murder) on his part but he was really pissed about my mom swearing at him.

Back to more current events, imagine if you will, riding in the little sports car with my dad driving. I think you now understand that he is NOT a good driver. We are driving down the street veering towards the curb as he messes with the radio. He then asks if I know of any good radio stations in the area while I desperately wish I could name one that he could be happy with. Since I didn’t know the right answer, we continued bouncing between oncoming traffic and the curb until he found an oldie’s station.

Once he had the music he liked, he proceeded to see just how loud he could play it. It turns out that he can play ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’ much louder than anyone in their right mind could tolerate. We then lurched along to the music despite Lynne’s attempts to reason with him.

Lynne- “I hope you know that there is NOTHING cool about playing “The Yellow Rose of Texas” really loud in a convertible with the top down.”
Dad- “Why not? I like it.”
Me- “Good Lord. Lynne, I’m getting into your groceries.”


Mia said...

That was funny :) I could totally picture it... I'd be hittin' the "groceries" too!!

J. said...

I have to say that old men driving around in convertibles trying to look cool and ogling anything in a skirt are CREEPY! And ridiculous. And there are SO many of them in L.A.

Joey said...

Can't wait for part two!

Rebecca is fabulous said...

lol...very nice! i am so glad my dad hasn't hit crisis mode yet...knwing him in his infintie geekiness, though, he would most likely channel it into a computer...