Talking Back To Your Parents

, , , , , , , | Healthy | August 6, 2018

At some point when I was a kid, my father got the bright idea of using me for weight-bearing massage “treatments” by having me walk about on his back barefoot while he was lying on the floor. Mom usually gave me a hand to keep me stable. I have no clue if it ever worked to actually help with anything, but he kept periodically having me do it. When I was little I still thought it was fun.

His back seemed to gradually get worse as I grew older: lower spine problems. He mostly stopped having me do the walking massages as I aged into my teens.

Then one day when I was 17, when I hadn’t done it in several years, he seemed to be having some particularly bad back pains, and decided to have me stand on his back again. For some reason he was just absolutely convinced it would magically cure him, and somehow managed to rope Mom into agreeing with this. The problem is that at this point I weighed about 115 pounds — only about 15 pounds less than him — and could tell this was a terrible idea.

I refused. He insisted. I refused again and protested, pointing it out as being foolish and dangerous at my weight relative to his — he is a man of very slight and narrow build. He called me ridiculous. He and Mom both kept insisting, urging, and nagging me, and telling me I was being ridiculous. “Nothing will happen!” “Come on, it’s just a few minutes!” “Just stand on his back for a bit!” “Come on! Just help out your dad!” “It has to be you; there’s no one else, and you still weigh a lot less than Mom!”

After much protesting from me and nonstop insistence and urging — from Mom in particular, who’s always been very good at managing to bully me into doing just about anything against my will — I gave in, despite my better judgment. I very shakily stepped up on Dad’s bare back. His skin was sliding around sickeningly on his back under my feet. I nearly fell off right away, despite Mom doing her best to hold me up there, barely managing to stabilize me with her own entire weight. Meanwhile, he was very impatiently urging me to quit hesitating and being a coward, and get on with it already.

When I finally managed to stand on him properly, putting my entire weight on his back, he grunted alarmingly. Very alarmingly. And then he went abruptly very quiet. After maybe a couple of steps on him, Mom helped me get back off. Then, there were some very pointed, meaningful and alarmed looks between the two of them, but they didn’t actually say anything. I took this to mean I could finally escape the living room. Frankly, I just didn’t much care what was going on as long as I was no longer forced to participate.

There was a quiet commotion behind my back and for the rest of the day, I kind of made a point not to ask any questions for fear of being made to take part in some other poorly-thought-out treatment.

Though they’d never included me in important family concerns or given me any details about dad’s health problems, the general state of things became obvious to me in the next couple of days. What they’d made me do was indeed — Surprise! Surprise! — an incredibly terrible idea. Clearly I was too heavy, and it damaged his back even further. It was pretty severe, as far as I could tell, based the fact that he’d been forced to stay home from work for the next full week while spending pretty much all his time lying flat on the floor, except for occasional doctor’s appointments that Mom somehow had to find a way to cart him to.

Despite knowing it was stupid, I still felt guilty about what happened.

They didn’t say anything to me beyond a vague statement that Dad’s back had gotten worse — as if it was actually even possible to pretend that this had no relation with what they’d made me do. But there was never any hint of admitting that they’d done something foolish or that I’d been right. Unsurprisingly, in the following years, it became clear that Dad’s back was significantly damaged forever after this incident.

Lesson to be learned here: once in a while a teenager really does turn out to be smarter and have more basic common sense than both parents put together.

Parents Don’t Provide Insurance Assurance

, , , , , , | Related | June 21, 2018

(My father is doing the mandatory driving practice with me when I’m 16 when I only have my learner’s permit. He isn’t the most attentive or patient. We’re at an intersection on a low-traffic street, turning left with no dedicated arrow. I’m looking around first to make sure the road is free to turn.)

Dad: *insistently* “Oh, come on, [My Name]! Go! Go already!”

(I obey. He’s my supervising “experienced” driver; that’s what I’m supposed to do. Immediately, a car shows up from the opposite direction, going straight at high speed. It crashes head on into us. Luckily, no one is actually hurt, but both cars are nearly totaled. At least no one is in legal trouble over it. Nevertheless, both my parents seem extremely unhappy and troubled over the accident, speaking alternatively in very subdued and alarmed tones on the topic of the insurance coverage. They also keep giving me accusing looks for days on end and being extremely curt with me, almost as if I’ve deliberately killed someone. Finally, I plainly ask them what is going on.)

Mom: “Oh, well, you’re not covered on our car insurance.”

Me: “What?!”

Mom: “Yes, well… When we moved to the states two years ago, we had no US credit score or any other records, so when your dad bought the car no one wanted to give him an insurance policy. Finally, the car dealership called up some agent who came over and took a bribe of $300 cash to write up a policy for Dad. He asked him if he had a wife, but never bothered to ask if he had any children, so you were never recorded with the insurance as existing. We thought we might need to notify them when you turned 16 and got your learner’s permit, but we just weren’t sure.”

(I’ve been driving around with both of them, on my learner’s permit, for five months at this point.)

Mom: “Yes, you see, we just weren’t completely and totally sure. So, we just never called them at all. Now they’re giving us trouble over you having been driving the car, and may very well completely refuse to cover the accident.”

Me: *speechless doesn’t quite seem to cover it*

(The kicker is she still somehow managed to make this explanation sound like the entire business was largely my fault, despite having been told the exact circumstances of the accident. I just tuned out of the entire business after that. I was traumatized enough by the accident and couldn’t deal with any more details about my parents’ stupidity. The insurance eventually paid, I think, but it took us a full six weeks to get our car back from the shop, which is three times the typical timeframe for these repairs, so I’m sure my parents had to deal with a lot of trouble over it. I made it a point to keep out of their financial affairs as much as I could after that, so I’m not sure if they ever learned their lesson. There are a LOT of lessons I’ve learned from them throughout my childhood about all the things an adult shouldn’t EVER do.)

Should Be A Better Uniform Response

, , , , , , | | Learning | May 24, 2018

(I’m new in the country; my first day in high school as a freshman is literally my fourth day after arriving in the US. However, it’s February, the middle of the school year.)

Gym Teacher: “You must pay us [amount] to have us issue you a gym uniform.”

(It’s something between $10-19; I don’t remember. No one told my parents anything about this when they enrolled me at school, and it’s the first I’m hearing about it.)

Me: “I don’t have money on me.”

Gym Teacher: “Well, you can’t participate until you have a uniform. Sit over there on the floor, meanwhile.”

(I do. It’s very uncomfortable sitting on the floor, and makes me feel even more ostracized as a new foreign student. The next school day I bring money my parents gave me. It’s either a $50 or $100 bill; I don’t remember for sure. Being new in the US, I know squat about the local currency and its usage — and I have no idea what’s considered high bills.)

Gym Teacher: “We can’t accept this. This bill is too high and we don’t have change for you. You’ll have to bring us different money. Meanwhile, we can’t issue you a uniform until you pay us for it.”

Me: *thinking* “Gee, thanks so much for not bothering to tell me earlier. It’s not like you had no idea I’m new in the country, or like this high school doesn’t have hundreds of students who are obviously very recent immigrants, and you should have enough experience with that by now to have known to tell us things like that.”

(It took my parents several days to get me smaller bills, as they were very busy with other, actually important, things. Meanwhile, the gym teacher randomly changed her mind about my not participating without a uniform. Running about and playing ball games in jeans was extremely uncomfortable. When I finally had the “right” kind of money to hand over to them, I was told, “Sorry, since it’s the middle of the school year we only have a few things left, only in certain sizes.” So, at 5’3” and 9 pounds, I ended up paying good money to wear an XL size t-shirt for the rest of all my gym classes for all of my high-school years. And yes, it turns out this “gym uniform” they made such a fuss over was nothing more than a t-shirt with the high-school’s logo. I had to provide my own sweatpants, anyway.)

Unfiltered Story #89058

, , , | Unfiltered | November 1, 2017

(Every Friday night, my family and I have gone a particular restaurant in town for dinner and a movie afterwards. This time, we have to get up at 4 am the next day and it’s already 7 pm, so we decide to get takeout instead. This restaurant only has the one location in our area code, which is important. The way the restaurant identifies orders is by taking your car model and license plate over the phone so you don’t even have to get out of the car. My dad and I go to pick it up and have been waiting in the takeout spot for a few minutes when this happens.)

Waiter: *gives us confused look* “Are you here for takeout?”

Dad: “Yes.”

Waiter: *runs inside and then comes back out with the receipts* “I don’t have your car. Is this the one you gave us?”

Dad: “Yes.”

Waiter: *runs back in and comes back out* “We don’t have your order. Did you call here?”

Dad: *shows her his phone log* “Yep.”

Waiter: “What did you order?”

Dad: *gives order*

Waiter: “Okay, I remember taking that order over the phone. I even put in the computer. I’ll go look again. I must have missed it.”

(She comes back with the manager.)

Manager: “So we still can’t find your order but I got the full story from [Waiter]. Can you give your order to me again?”

(Dad recites order.)

Waiter: “Do you want me to re-enter it?”

Manager: “No, this has gone on far beyond our usual five minute goal from when a customer arrives and it’s the third time tonight this has happened. I’ll go run it through kitchen personally and then give these folks the order on the house. You go take your break.”

(The waiter leaves and the manager comes back with our food shortly after, free as he promised. When we went back the next week, we learned that waiter was no longer working takeout. We’re still not sure what happened.)