14 August, 2011

What is my problem?

I am either exceeding hilarious and distracting, or extremely bad luck. And maybe, as it occurs to me with a certain very familiar sinking sensation, both. Since even before I was born!

My mom, an exceedingly cautious and careful driver, has received two speeding tickets in her life. Once while she was pregnant with me and driving alone, and once last week, when I was again in the car with her, this time with a more conscious desire to crack her up. Heck, once you can't sleep, what else have you got?

Now I am not saying she was careless, just extremely relaxed and unexpectedly high-spirited. (I'd say confident except I don't want to imply that she is not usually a confident driver, because she is.) There were three changes in the speed limit in a two or three mile stretch, as is common when you pass from country-land to town-land, but it was still pretty rural and the change from rural to urban was not particularly distinct, and she missed a sign.

She does not really mind the ticket, because it is important that safety is protected and a horrible warning may provide some deterrent to the population at large. My mom is totally lawful/good. But it is totally out of character for her to deserve a speeding ticket. Trust me. She's been practicing little old lady driving since way, WAY back.

I have given up urging her to merge when I think it's clear and now just sit patiently saying 'it's clear' as often and as frequently as she needs to satisfy her hyper-vigilance. Or as long as I can stand to. She argues that it's a perception thing, that she does not have the, I don't know, kinetic perception skills or quick reflexes to take advantage of small gaps. But personally (and I'm sorry mom, if you're reading) I don't buy it. She just prefers large gaps because they look safer.

And who can blame her? I've been picking safe bets all along too, possibly because she has given me such a shining example. And I mean that with both sincerity and gratefulness, because I am both happy to please, and a big chicken.

But something broke within me that night a few weeks back when I couldn't sleep and just lay there thrumming. Or maybe something I've been missing grew back. It's hard to describe, except grateful is definitely the result.

I feel relieved of a great many fears, and I feel like a self-imposed obligation to play nice is severely damaged. (Though I am still extremely nice!) Like maybe it's ok for me to be a jackass sometimes too.

Which is good, because the funny? Not always nice. And I love the funny.

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