The Price of Obedience

Two weeks ago while looking for the house we were supposed to stop at, the car hit “Half a tank” on the fuel gauge before she decided to call for directions. To my mother, the half way mark is synonymous in her tiny mind with what happens in real life when you reach the empty mark.

Somewhere between three to five demands to “Go no further”, I reminded my mother that in America it is illegal to just stop the car in the middle of the road because you damn well please. In fact, as the driver: legally it would’ve been dependent upon my judgement whether or not there was any sudden obstacles ahead to warrant such action, not hers as passenger and owner of the car. It pays to read the fine print, right? Well, she wouldn’t stop demanding the car to be stopped. The way English works, her choice of words in fact ordering me to stop on the spot.

Since my mother apparently thought herself smarter than the law, the driver (me), FORD hardware, and GOD (who created physics); and after all, it is her car not mine. So I decided promptly to give my mother exactly what she was demanding of me `ad nauseam`. Checking to make sure there was no one behind, in between her orders to “Go no further”, I said “Fine”, and slammed the brakes—bringing the car from approximately 43 to 0 miles per hour in the machines absolute minimal stopping time. The kind of extreme breaking that normally, I would only use if the alternative was to hit a brick fucking wall.

Well, the car stopped so fast that you could smell the rubber burning and there was a lovely cloud of smoke to accompany the screeching sound of trying to stop a moving car so near instantaneously. If seat belts weren’t buckled or there was any cars behind, I wouldn’t have satisfied my mothers orders to the letter. I’m more responsible then that. As there was no threat, I obeyed to the letter: and went no further ;).

A week later (-2 days), just before the weekend the car started to make a metal on metal sound whenever using the breaks. I expected when I chose to obey, that the action of going no further would total the break pads: which were old. Quick thinking methodical bastard, yes I am. Maybe some people should just learn to think rationally before I have to teach them a lesson. In my experience, my family only understands two things: violence and money. Since I’m not willing to beat my mothers brains in, following her orders to the point of burning through old break pads sounds like a good idea.

It took about a day’s fearful stewing over it, for my mother to go from remarking that it was nobodies fault because the break pads are old and worn; she’s bitched about them getting worn out over the past couple years, and also absolved me of any blame for the breaks; damn I wish I had a hidden tape recorder. To instead, loudly cursing me the next day and wishing me to my face that I would “Drop dead and rot in hell”, among much worse things! I expected that would take an hour or two at most. Guess I was wrong.

Now after twenty two years of my mother, I know that being told to drop dead and rot in hell is about as close to a term of endearment as this family gets. It’s ceased to phase me a long time ago. Of course, if I ever showed any sign of being phased by it would be like putting blood in shark infested water. So I’ve learned to take her exponentially increasing hatred with a straight face, rather than risking her doubling her efforts. There’s a subtle joke in that for the math savy layman.

At first, I was actually tempted to tell her to “Be careful, I might aim to please” when I was told to die, but decided against it almost as fast as thinking of it. Reasons being that because of family history, that could be a potentiality painful remark to use on her, and obviously if I ever passed on before she did, liable to be remembered; which could also trigger her remembering the last time she was told “I aim to please” in the context of telling someone to up and die. I’m not as hurtful as my family. Sure, sometimes I’m an ass but before I open my mouth, I try to wager how much harm it will do. My mother by comparison skips thinking and lets her rage do the picking of words indiscriminately. I still remember some years ago, my mother mock-threatening to stick me with a fork, within earshot of someone who grew up with that. She just doesn’t THINK.

End result? Just over a we bit oer $100 spent on the lesson. The real question is, has she learned anything from it?

A/ Half a tank is not synonymous with out of gas.
B/ You’re not supposed to stop in the middle of the road for no reason.
C/ It’s the driver’s decision not the passengers.
D/ Being an irrational disrespectful bugger gets you no where with a geek.
E/ Be careful what you wish for, English is a very precise language.

Doubt ma has figured any of those out, but alas it does give her something to hate (me) with more focus than normal. Which will at least keep her mind off more serious ailments part of the time. An added benefit of deciding to obey that order to go no further: I’m hated worse than normal for a while, but it distracts her from worse.

I might also note that she almost never allows the car to go further than 20 miles from home, and on roads averaging a speed limit of 35mph to 45mph. That car can go up to 60 miles down the Interstate at an average speed of 70 miles per hour, and not even use up a third of a fuel tank.  When the “Go no further” incident occurred on Sunday, we were just outside walking distance of home and a few miles (or less) from a gas station. That means the chances of running out of gas would have been 0, unless she decided to take a trip to Alabama while we were out. I also bought gas that day, filling up to the mark below full, for $10.01. A full tank of gas for that car would cost about $40 going by the cars manual and average gas prices here.

I have no respect for displays of irrational fear, especially not from someone in their sixties. I’m also used to being automatically despised and loathed by people who should know better.

That’s life.