Bizarre Habits of My Parents
I am an only child and, growing up, my parents' world was all I knew for a while. It took quite some time to realize that they do not behave the way most people do.
- •Have Light Bulb, Will TravelMy parents bring higher watt bulbs with them if they are staying in hotels/motels in case the bulbs there are too dim. They also bring night lights, (which I find somewhat sensible).
- •Wiping Down GroceriesOne of my childhood chores was wiping the newly bought groceries with a damp rag so that their store grime wouldn't contaminate the refrigerator or pantry.
- •Scheduling ArgumentsMy mother needs both the proper amount of time and enough energy to have an argument. So she schedules them. The convenient thing about this one is never blindsided by an argument of significance and therefore one can prepare and have every counterpoint at the ready. My mother does not win these arguments.
- •Misuse of the Washing MachineMy parents wouldn't fill the washing machine in my childhood home more than a third of the way for fear of breaking it. I'm not sure if this is because the machine was nearly broken or because they're nuts. I wasn't allowed to do laundry.
- •Misuse/Mispronunciations of WordsI'm going to make a separate list of these.
- •Obsessive Door LockingThe moment car-jacking became a thing my parents refused to leave the driveway of our house in our sleepy hamlet without making sure everyone's car door was locked first.
- •Accosting Drivers on the RoadOnce, aftet making us lock said doors, my father drove into Harlem, then honked furiously at a car in the next lane while stopped at a light. When the passenger finally relented and rolled down her window, my father yelled, "Turn your lights on! I can't see ya." Then the light turned green and he sped off down Amsterdam Ave. My now-husband was sure we would be hunted down and killed. And he grew up in the City of Detroit. He's not freaked out by black neighborhoods.
- •Accosting Anyone EthnicMy father wants to know where everyone is from and the ethnic origins of every last name. This is not rooted in any sort of racism, merely insatiable curiously and a lack of social grace. If you have a German last name, he'll tell you what it means.
- •Cane WavingAnnoyed that university students crowd the sidewalks, my father now waves his cane threateningly before him to clear a path. I fully expect to get a call from campus police one day.
- •Itemizing Everything in the FreezerMy mother had a list of everything that's in the freezer, the date it was frozen, and how many portions it is. Sometimes when I look in my freezer I wish I had this kind of system, but mostly not.
- •Tub WashingMy mother is a neat freak. When they lived in NY, she started insisting that we wash the tub after every use (I said "sure!" And proceeded to not do it.) my aunt has a squeegee in her shower and asks guests to squeegee the shower walls after every use so.... OCD runs in my family. It's amazing that I display so little of it.
- •Forgetting that Children Can Provide Free LaborEvery night at the end of dinner my parents would argue over which of them was going to clear the table and clean up. I patiently waited for them to notice that I existed, had arms that worked, and could help. Never happened. (Honestly, I think the OCD kept them from trusting me to do most chores properly. The only chores I was asked/allowed to do were wiping down groceries, dusting, unloading the dishwasher, and eventually vacuuming. I never once even ran the dishwasher in my parents' house.)
- •There are more, but I'll have to add them as I think of them. If your parents do any of these things, please tell me so I feel less alone.