Mama's Losin' It. She gives six prompts to choose from each week. I chose this one: "We're too old to be getting in trouble...aren't we? Write about a time you were scolded...as an adult."
Easy. This is a story I've told not just a few times in the past couple of years. It's a classic, especially in my family. Not only is it irreverently funny, but it captures so well the dynamics of mi familia loca.
It's no secret that my mother and I are about as opposing in our worldly views as... well... as a staunchly unyielding catholic and a free-range artist can be. We love each other dearly, but we will never see eye to eye on most subjects. Added to that, Mom is also the antithesis of me in the way she conducts herself. She is very proper and ladylike (yes, you may read 'uptight' into that, if you please), whereas I take a bull in the china shop approach to... damned near everything.
That being said, here's a story from two years ago - the story of how I got in deep shit with my mother. At Disney World, no less.
Here's how it all went down... Half of my family had met up at Disney World for the Disney marathon. My Mom, Aunt Irene, sister (Nancy), brother-in-law (Mikael), and my nephew (Jason) had traveled from Michigan and Ohio, and I traveled from Washington to meet up with my other nephew (Homer), his wife (Athena), and children. Nancy, Mikael, Homer, and Athena were all going to run in one (or more) of the Disney marathons. Me? I'm not a runner. I'm a watcher.
After the half marathon, we all went to lunch at one of Disney's fine dining establishments. The runners were discussing the marathon, their running abilities, how it felt to accomplish their feats. The subject came up about how intensely annoying it was for them to be two miles from the finish and have spectators yell, "You're almost there!" Totally understandable. They've still got two miles to go. Two miles isn't almost there! Sure, it seems lightweight up against 13 miles or 26, but having already run 11 or 24 miles, two more miles can be a bit daunting, the body being at a point of you-are-shitting-me-sit-down-already! Hell, I had merely walked at least two miles just trying to follow them from one check point to another, and I was more than ready for the pool and a beer.
Athena said she wanted to get a banner made with some statement on it like, "Do not tell me I'm almost there!" I said, "Heck, why bother hauling something like that around on your run? That's why God gave you middle fingers!" Cue uproarious laughter from the crew, quickly followed by dead silence as my mother cleared her throat. A simple throat clearing might not seem like much to you, but when my mother does it, it's like hearing someone lock n' load a gun in the dead of night. Inattention is not an option. I turned my head... Mom was giving me that bloody-dagger-about-to-puncture-both-lungs look as she said sternly, "Barbara Ann!" Ohgodohgodohgod... I got The Full Name Treatment. This was a sure sign that I was in big bad trouble.
You know those moments in movies when everything suddenly goes quiet and moves in slow motion? This was one of those moments.
I could hear chairs scrape across the floor as Homer and Jason, on either side of me, tried to scoot away and out of the range of fire. Athena suddenly had to wipe some recalcitrant sticky stuff off of one of the kids. Mikael paid inordinate attention to the food on his plate and discovered a renewed love for bread sticks. Nancy hid her face behind her hand, one eye peering out to watch the train wreck. I caught Aunt Irene's eye, and let me tell you, it was a saving grace to see the barely held in check smirk on her face.
Then it all came back in a rush of noise as Mom lit into me with a diatribe on vulgarity and obscenity and inappropriate behavior of all kinds and... *sigh* Everyone else at the table stayed quiet in a thank-the-gods-it's-not-me-this-time way. The jerks. They bailed on me! Left me under the bus without so much as a backward glance. I apologized to Mom for offending her sensibilities, which took a lot out of my stubborn ass, but I did, I apologized. It mattered not. I still got the red-headed step-child treatment for the rest of the day.
As we were leaving the restaurant, Aunt Irene leaned in close to me and said in a low voice, "Well... I thought it was funny."
Later that evening I sat at the pool with my sister, her husband, and my two nephews. The air was comfortably balmy. The drinks were tasty. One of my nephews bought me a drink, saying, "I thought for sure you were a dead woman." My brother-in-law said, "You were very brave." My sister said, "I was just glad it wasn't me for once!" The other nephew said, "It was pretty damned funny."
I felt vindicated. More than that, I felt masterful. They may have managed a marathon, but that's just running. I, on the other hand, had run headlong at the firing squad and lived to tell about it.