One of my favorite parts about growing up is my increasing ability to not give a fuck. Sometimes when I drive to work with a towel on my head or go to the store without a bra, I wonder if I should be embarrassed. But the more I do it, the less it matters to me, and the stronger my craving to keep pushing the envelope–I’ll start tasting candy right out of the bulk bins or arguing in Chinese in public. And maybe it’s the neighborhoods I live in, but no one ever cares.
Most kids are really sensitive about appearances when they’re young, as was I. My father reserved his wisecracks and gross bodily functions for home, but my mom couldn’t have been more embarrassing. She spat in the street, made surprise visits to my class and spied through the window, yelled “I love you!” out of the car window when she dropped me off, and never owned a bra. This video is pretty much her biography:
The thought of becoming her doesn’t really scare me anymore, which is perhaps cause for intervention. However, this video reminds me of one of my most mortifying moments with her–one which I know I’ll never afflict on my own child.
I was in eighth grade. After school one day, two nice (Asian) guys who rode my bus asked if I wanted to hang out and watch a movie. It was the last day before spring break, my friends were all busy, and I was restless, so I accepted. I called my mom to tell her I would be at a friend’s. When the bus dropped us off, we walked to the grocery store to get soda and chips.
As soon as I entered the store, I spotted my mother. As if guided by a sixth sense, she just happened to be there. She screamed my Chinese name, shot a debilitating stare at the two guys and yanked me out the store. As we walked four blocks back home, I struggled to keep up with her as she barreled through the streets. She couldn’t believe how stupid I was, going alone with two guys to their house where they could rape or hurt me. And on top of all that, they were buying soda. Was I planning on drinking soda? She demanded.
There are tons of other instances I’d gotten caught eating junk food or telling little lies, so by this time, I wasn’t alarmed. We just didn’t talk for a few days, and it was never brought up again. When I think about these instances, I can’t stand her. But it did build up an early tolerance for disappointing my parents, which has more than paid off over the years. To my mother, junk food leads to drugs and streetwalking. Turns out it just led to an apathy for underwear and vengeful blogging.
ETA: I was decent friends with the more social boy of the two and don’t know if he remembers the incident. But I’m sure this is why I never had more than a couple good male friends in high school. And ever.