When our daughters were in high school, my husband (who really is awesome in all ways) and I had the bright idea to buy a scooter. I can’t even remember our motivation – high gas prices? Fun? Midlife crises? – but in any event, we did. I will say that it got absolutely awesome gas mileage (something ridiculous like 80 miles per gallon). Its gas tank only held two or three gallons, so we could smugly fill it up for less than a latte. It was fabulous. I began driving it to work each day and leaving the car in the garage.
It was also fabulously fun, for a couple of reasons:
- We felt like teenagers. Riding on the back of the scooter, hugging my husband tight, might have been the only time we got between the house and the jobs and the kids to actually, you know, cuddle. It was great.
- Our daughters, who were actual teenagers, were beyond mortified.
- My work commute became the best part of my day. I took side roads that wound through lovely waterfront neighborhoods; it was like a mini-sightseeing vacation every morning and evening. But best of all, when you’re driving a scooter, you absolutely cannot talk or text. (Maybe you can, physically, but that would be beyond dumb.) So, phone safely tucked in my backpack, I got a glorious 40 minutes each day of being completely unreachable*.
*This “unreachable” thing – how many of us are desperate to just unplug, but can’t bring ourselves to? I highly recommend “forced unreachability.” My daughter didn’t like it, however, particularly when she texted me one day while I was en route to work and then forgot to check my phone for hours. I finally looked and saw her text: “Call me now; the school is on fire.” Now, you might be horrified, but think about this: What, exactly, could I have done? Diverted to the fire station, suited up, and grabbed a fire truck? No. It turned out to be a small cooking fire of some sort; no one was hurt.
Another advantage to the scooter was that we really couldn’t drive the kids and their absurd amount of sporting/extracurricular gear anywhere. They were forced to take the school bus or walk as, really, they should have been all along. And I was very tired of taking our oldest daughter to school, because she was rarely ready on time; we’d go flying into the parking lot (I know, sorry) nearly every morning. The only lucky one was our son, who was old enough to hang onto my husband or me and young enough to transport by scooter. He was also young enough to think it was cool. We picked him up by scooter every day; it was fabulous fun for him and us.
It was all fun and games until the morning my daughter forgot her art project. She caught me in a weak moment; I hadn’t yet left for work and this was a critical assignment. I agreed to bring it to school on my way to the office and warned her that I’d be on the scooter. Luckily, the project was small enough to fit in my backpack.
As her bad luck would have it, I arrived at the school during change of classes. This provided an audience of roughly 2,000 teenagers for what came next.
I pulled up, stopped the scooter, and got off. My daughter ran over and grabbed her art project hoping, no doubt, that no one had seen this exchange.
Warning: Do Not Try This at Home, or Really Anywhere
I got back on the scooter and made what is, for a novice scooterer (is that a word? It should be), a tricky maneuver: pulling back out onto the drive at an angle, while accelerating. This did not go well; I leaned over too far, lost my balance, and the scooter and I fell to the ground. The scooter landed on top of me in front of the entire student body, including my horrified offspring. I’m sure she was worried about my safety (hahahaha!) while simultaneously wondering how quickly she could transfer to a new school.
One of the school personnel, who unfortunately monitored the gate each morning, ran over, got the bike off me, and helped me stand up. As he was picking up pieces of the bike (nonimportant pieces like the brake light covers), he admonished, “I bet you were driving too fast! You probably drive that thing like you drive that car – too fast!”
“No, sir,” I apologized. “I just didn’t have good enough balance.” At that moment, I really did feel like a foolish teenager, and was instantly transported back to my own high school days, when I avoided doing anything that would displease the school administration at all costs.
I caught my breath, realized that I felt fine, and prepared to get back on the bike. “You ok?” the administrator asked, “Yes!” I said, desperate to escape his gaze and my daughter. “Thank you!”
“Your Mom’s Tough”
He looked around, at my daughter and the entire student body, looked back at my daughter, and said, “Daaaammnnn… Your mom’s tough.”
I have no idea what the look on my daughter’s face was, because I was too busy concentrating on getting out of that parking lot without further embarrassment for any of us. As for my daughter, she survived the social disaster, and in a show of bravery, continued asking me to drop off forgotten assignments.⧉
What about you? What’s the most embarrassing thing you ever did to your kids, or what’s the most embarrassing thing your parents ever did to you? Leave a comment and let me know!