We are built from our parents’ DNA. Each of them is part of us, always and forever. Those of us who grew up with our biological parents learned to recognize the bits and pieces of our parents that have were recorded in their genes and passed along to us.
For example, when I step back to examine things, evaluate alternatives and offer measured responses to questions, that’s Dad. Indeed, I often seem to hear myself speaking in his voice at those times. One the other hand, when I think of equity, propriety, prudence, and avoiding unnecessary risks, that is when Mom speaks to me. But in her case, the part of her that lives in me speaks to me in my head, and in the voice I know better than any other.
Yesterday, I was leaving my apartment to walk to dinner, and I looked across the street to check on my car. My building doesn’t have a parking lot, so my car has to live on the street, and because of our city’s draconian parking laws, my vehicle has been towed away on more than one occasion. So I’ve developed the habit of checking to make sure it’s still there whenever I step out the door. When I returned home from where ever I was last Sunday, I was lucky enough to snag the spot right across the street from my door, so I could even check it from my window from time to time.
When I checked yesterday, I noticed that I had parked the car a little closer to the bus stop than I had thought – in fact, the back end of the car had penetrated the BUS ONLY zone by about three feet. I checked the windshield, and there were no tickets, so I figured it must be OK and started walking toward the restaurant.
Then the Mom Voice said, “You really should move the car.”
“Oh, it’s okay,” I replied. ”It’s not close to the actual bus stop sign. The bus has plenty of room. It’s okay.”
“But you never know. Maybe the ticket girl just hasn’t been by here yet. And look, there’s plenty of room in front of you.”
“Yeah, Mom, I know there’s room, but I’m in a hurry, and it’s cold out here, and the street is busy. Maybe I’ll do it tonight after I get back from dinner.”
“And maybe the ticket girl will drop by while you’re at dinner. Do you think she cares about the weather or the traffic?”
“Why does the ticket person have to be a girl, Mom?”
“Don’t change the subject,” she scolded. ”Are you going to tell me you’re so loaded with cash right now that you can shrug off a $25 parking ticket?”
I said nothing. She knew I wasn’t.
“Come on. It’ll take you two minutes.”
It would take considerably less than that, I thought, but for Mom everything took two minutes.
I thought about it. The Mom Voice made a good case. And there were other reasons to move the car. I hadn’t driven it since Sunday, and it was good to start up the old Buick every few days just to let her know I was thinking about her. Also, there was no guarantee that there would be an empty spot in front of me when I got back from dinner.
I took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. It was always tough admitting that she was right. ”Okay, Mom,” I said, and started doing my Frogger thing across the street.
“It’s better this way, because you don’t risk getting a ticket,” she continued. That’s something she does, trying to convince me to do something after I’ve already agreed.
I reached the car, fumbled for the keys, then made the lock turn and slid into the front seat. I put on my seat belt (before Mom could say anything), fired the old Buick up, and pulled forward about four feet.
“Thank you, dear,” said the Mom Voice.
“No problem, Mom,” I answered.
I cut off the engine, unbuckled my seat belt, and deployed back onto the street. As I walked away, I felt an odd sense of accomplishment, of fulfillment, almost. No matter how old you get, it still feels good to make your Mom happy.
And then, the Mom Voice spoke again.
“Dear, did you remember to lock the doors?”
Copyright 2012 by Mud Toe Sasquatch – all right reserved