Here’s my morning …
7:00 am: Get dressed. Take the dogs out. Drink coffee. Check email. Walk the badly behaved dog around the block so he can pee on everything.
7:30 am: Wake Maj … defend myself against accusations that I have not fulfilled promises to do a variety of things I do not remember promising to do. Empty the dishwasher. Take the garbage out. Fold laundry.
7:45 am: Wake Kallan … every three minutes until 8:00 am, at which point, I roll her out of bed as she grabs frantically at blankets and feigns unconsciousness.
8:02 am: Announce the schedule for the morning, which goes like this: “OK, ladies … Maj has to be at work at 8:45 and Kallan has to be at her babysitting job at 9:00, so we’re leaving here at 8:30. I’m making a big loop around town … I’ll drop Maj off first and then I’ll drop Kallan off, and then I’ll take Hazel to the dog park for an hour, which gets me back to the house a little after 10:00. I’ll try to write something, and then I need to head out to pick up Maj at 11:30 and make the same loop across town to pick up Kallan just before noon. Everybody got it?”
Maj glares at me. “Mother, we’re not leaving here at 8:30. It takes eight minutes to get to my job, and that means your plan is to get me there seven minutes early, and that is completely unacceptable.”
Kallan starts to protest, but I wave her into silence. I turn to Maj. “Maj, your ride is leaving at 8:30. While it’s true I could probably leave at 8:35 and get you both where you are supposed to be on time, I’m adding in a bit of cushion in case of traffic.”
“Mother, I’m not leaving at 8:30 and that’s final.”
“Fine by me.”
She is confused. “Do you mean we can leave at 8:35?”
“No, I absolutely do not.”
“So you mean you’ll leave me here?” Maj is incredulous.
“We’re leaving at 8:30. If you’re not in the car, your morning gets more complicated, but it has nothing to do with me.”
“Mother, you are being unreasonable. I HAVE TO BE AT WORK AT 8:45. I HAVE AN ACTUAL OBLIGATION AND I ACTUALLY HAVE TO BE THERE AT 8:45. GIVE ME THE RIDE AS I DEMAND IT, BECAUSE THAT’S HOW THIS WORKS.”
I stare at her for a second. “Remind me … are you paying for gas?”
“And do you have your own car?”
“And do you need a ride?”
“Yes. YOU KNOW I NEED A RIDE WHY ARE YOU WASTING MY TIME?”
“OK, be careful now, because this next one is not a yes-or-no question. Ready?” I lean in across the kitchen counter and speak slowly. “This is for all the money, Maj. Someone in this room is being an ungrateful asshole … who might that be, you think?”
She refuses to answer, but she does not stop complaining.
At 8:30, the three of us (plus Hazel the Weimaraner) are in the car, and I turn to speak to Maj as I back out of the driveway. “Here’s the deal. I don’t want to hear one word of complaint from you during this drive. Not one word. You are being insane. INSANE. Not one more word about how this ride does not suit your needs. Got it?”
Maj says nothing, but she seethes.
It is, as Maj pointed out, an eight-minute drive to her workplace, and as we pull up to the intersection about a half-mile from where she needs to be, she breaks her silence in angry fashion. She leans forward in the car to stab at the dashboard’s clock display. “OH MY GOD I AM GOING TO BE EXACTLY SEVEN MINUTES EARLY JUST LIKE I TOLD YOU I WOULD BE NO ONE HAS TO PUT UP WITH STUFF LIKE THIS BUT ME OTHER PEOPLE’S MOTHERS SCHEDULE THEIR MORNINGS SO THAT THIS SORT OF THING DOESN’T HAPPEN ALL I NEEDED WAS A RIDE THAT GOT ME TO WORK LIKE A SENSIBLE EMPLOYEE BUT NO NOW I AM THE CRAZY PERSON WHO SHOWS UP EARLY WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO FOR SEVEN MINUTES YOU ARE A LUNATIC.”
As the light turns green, I pull straight through the intersection instead of making the right I normally would. Another turn and then another … into the grocery-store parking lot … where I park. I turn to Maj. “Get out.”
“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?”
“Luckily, I have gotten you here early enough that you have time to walk the last bit of your journey. Get out.”
“I AM NOT GETTING OUT OF THIS CAR, MOTHER.”
I feign mental calculations. “If I have this figured correctly, you will arrive at work exactly on time. I know how important that is to you. You’re welcome.”
“I’M NOT GETTING OUT OF THIS CAR AND THAT’S FINAL. DRIVE ME TO WORK, WOMAN. I’M NOT GETTING OUT OF THIS CAR UNTIL WE ARRIVE AT MY DESTINATION.”
“Think carefully, because if you do not get out of this car right now, the next stop is Kallan’s job and the stop after that is the dog park. If you plan to go to work this morning, this is where you get out.”
“YOU ARE A CRAZY PERSON! HOW DARE YOU REFUSE TO FULFILL YOUR OBLIGATIONS TO ME? THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE DRIVE! THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE DELIVERY! I AM SUPPOSED TO BE AT WORK BUT AM I AT WORK NO I AM NOT I AM ABOUT TO BE STRANDED IN A PARKING LOT WAITING TO GET MURDERED BY STRANGERS IN VANS.”
She gets out of the car and stomps away.
I open the window to call out after her, “Have a good day at work, Maj! As for the murderers in vans … even murderers have common sense … no way they are tangling with you as you stalk across the parking lot alight with fury and malice … no way.”
As I back out of the parking space, Kallan reaches to adjust the radio volume. “Maj really needs to get her own car.”