Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Embarrassing Story #2
(See my last post for the first story. You don't have to read these in order.)
This story would be best entitled: The Only Time I Ever Hated My Father.
Setting: 1993, I'm in Middle School, we had just moved to Indiana, so I was "The New Girl". This town was like Beverly Hills. Mercedes and Rolls Royces abound. I kid you not. Ritzy titzy city.
It was a Saturday, and all the kids in my grade were at school for a standardized test. When we are done around noon, all 400 (or so) of us are standing outside near the parking lot, waiting for our parents to pick us up.
Keep in mind that this is 8th grade, probably the most insecure of ages for kids across the nation. We are all SO incredibly self-conscious at this time, are we not? I mean, all I wanted to do was to fit in. Or better yet, be accepted by the "Cool" crowd. But, since I was new, I hadn't even determined exactly who was cool. I was still trying to get used to the freezing weather and fashion differences. (There were no Abercrombie & Fitches or Bebes in my teeny tiny rural Virginia hometown. Actually, there still aren't.)
So I am standing alone, which is ok. I was used to being the new girl by this point in my life. To be honest, my brain was fried from filling in bubbles with a #2 pencil for 4 hours straight. I just wanted to go home.
But where is Mom??? She's taking forever! I mean, most of the kids are already gone, which makes me look like a total loser! So I wait and wait and wait.
Out of nowhere, the hottest guy in our class, Joel, comes up to me and starts talking to me. I think I did one of those double takes, where you are sure the guy is talkingto someone standing behind you, so you turn around, only to realize no one is there. Once I realized he was actually talking to me, I almost fell over. I was so flabbergasted, I couldn't even listen to anything he was saying. I think he said something about going to McDonald's. Just as I was starting to shake myself out of it and say something, my ride showed up.
It was my Dad, not my Mom, picking me up.
He was driving his truck. His big, beat up, dirty, old Ford truck. Which smells like a combination of wet dog and cigars. (Keep in mind, this is back in the day before cigars were cool.) This vehicle is in stark contrast against all the pristine Lexuses already in the parking lot.
He comes in the exit, and was the only parent to do so. Everyone was looking, wondering who this guy is and why he can't read signs. "Oh. That's my ride," I mumbled.
"Is that your dad?" Hot Joel asked.
"Yeah," I replied. (I could be wrong, but this may have been the last conversation I ever had with Hot Joel.)
Did I mention that Dad's windows are down? And it's about 40 degrees outside? It is important that his windows are down so that he can not only smoke his stogie, but also so that our big, stinky dog can stick her slobbery head out the window and so that Dad can blare his bluegrass music at an adequate volume.
Other parents have lap dogs and Top 40 stations in their cars. With the windows up, since they are both non-smokers and cold.
It looks like Pa Clampett is here to pick me up.
Now, I love my big stinky, slobbery dog. I even like bluegrass music. But not when I'm 13. At that age, I don't admit to liking any of this. I cannot believe this is happening. And in front of about 150 of my school mates. One of whom is standing right next to me, looking quite yummy. The same one who will never speak to me again.
Instead of taking the time to look for me and pull up discreetly by the curb, Pa parks his truck in the smack dab middle of this huge parking lot. He gets out of the truck. He hasn't showered or shaved yet. He is wearing the same clothes he wore the two previous days. And probably the same underwear. He is holding a big, fat stogie in one hand and a beer in the other. Then, he starts yelling.
"Yeah..." I reply, forced to yell my response.
"Hey! Get in! You're gonna have to sit in the middle, though, so the dog can stick her head out!"
I walked out into the dead center of the parking lot, in front of everyone. If I'm not mistaken, there were some stares and snickering going on. I think you could have heard a pin drop amongst the Gap and Limited-clad audience. I didn't wave or look at anyone. I just wanted to disappear. The fastest way to do that was to get in the truck so he would get in and shut up.
"Hurry up! It's time for lunch!" he yelled, still standing in the middle of the parking lot.
I climbed into the center of the bench seat, with stinky Mingo on one side and Jed Clampett on the other. He asked if I wanted to listen to his music or mine. I told him I didn't care, because my social life was over anyway. He shrugged, took a sip of his beer and turned his bluegrass back up. Mingo kept stepping on my lap and wagging her tail in my face. Mingo weighed about 50 pounds. And there was no place for her to go. I reeked of cigars and dog by the time I got home.
Once I got there, I told Czarina everything. She chewed him a new one and he was never allowed to pick any of us up again.
For those 30 or so minutes, I hated my father. But that is the only time. Ever. And who cares what stupid Hot Joel thought anyway? He got busted for pot or underage drinking before graduation. I can't remember which. I bet he was embarrassed.