Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sorta Senior Moments

Image courtesy of digitalart

My car battery died. I went from running late to not running at all. I deduced dead battery when I repeatedly pressed the car alarm remote and nothing happened. I didn’t hear the familiar and reassuring “churp-churp” signaling the alarm had been disengaged. I pressed all the buttons: lock, unlock, panic.  I pressed them quickly. I pressed and held them. Nothing. The good news? The car was stuck in my own garage. The bad news? With the remote not working, how was I supposed to get into my car?

         The slogan, “I could have had a V8” can easily be “I should have gotten AAA.” But when your car is new it seems like an unnecessary expense. As the car ages it just gets away from you. It’s like flood insurance. You don’t think about buying it until you see your couch floating by. So no, I don’t have AAA.  I did what any other youngest and only girl in the family would do.  I called my Dad.

            He ambled out to the garage and I explained the problem.  And by explained I mean pouted and whined. For emphasis, I vigorously pressed the remote buttons right in front of him so that he could see I’d done my due diligence before calling him out to the scene.  I looked at him expectantly with an imperious, “Well? What are ‘WE’ gonna do now?” expression. See how I did that? I made my problem “our” problem. Smooth right?

            My Dad – with the infinite patience that only men with daughters can have – looked at me, looked at the car. He took the remote and did something I never expected. He walked over to the car and, with the key that was dangling right next to the remote, opened the door.

I shit you not.

            I’d like to say I was dumbfounded, but no. I was just dumb.

Yes, I am openly admitting that it never occurred to me – a college-educated, magna cum laude degree-holding, world-travelled grown woman – to open the car door with its key. But in my defense, when was the last time I’d ever had to do that? Like, never ever. Scratch that. There’s no defense. I’m an idiot. And worse, there’s precedence.

            Growing up, all I ever heard my Dad listen to in the morning was 1010 Wins radio. He wanted to get the news, traffic, and weather before going to work. Occasionally he listened to News 88, but we were first and foremost a 1010 WINS family. We gave them 22 minutes and they gave us the world. But that world didn't include music. Although my Dad loves jazz in general and Charlie Parker in particular I never heard him listen to music on his radio; just information, sports scores, and car commercials.

            One day when I was about 15 years old I saw my Dad changing the batteries in his radio. I was fascinated.

            “What are you doing?” I asked.

He was surprised, not at my question per se, but at the fact that I was talking to him at all. At 15 we had reached that predictable stage of our relationship where his very existence embarrassed me and I truly believed his goal in life was to ruin mine. He seemed genuinely caught off guard.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Changing the batteries in my radio.” 


            “Because they’re dead.”

            “Wow. You’re radio takes batteries?”

“Yes,” he said. “Of course my radio takes batteries. What did you think it ran on?”


            My flabbergasted Father froze in place, radio and batteries in hand. And I was so serious that I didn’t even have the good grace to pretend that I’d been joking. You can’t call it a senior moment when you’re not yet even a senior in high school can you? My genuine wonder didn’t make things better. I could almost hear my Dad thinking, “Oh, dear god. My straight A, prep school-educated, college-bound, book-smart daughter is an idiot. Thank god she’s pretty.”

            But instead, in both instances, my Dad said nothing. And somehow that was worse. His silence was judgment writ large. I think he was quietly tallying all the money he and mother have wasted ... I mean ... spent on my education. They probably deserve a refund.

            The good news is these brain fails don’t happen often. The bad news is maybe they do and I just don’t know it.

Thanks for reading The Urban Erma. You can subscribe to the blogcast (yes, I made up this word) FREE on iTunes. And, in case you were wondering, in addition to blogging I am also an amazing stand-up comedian. I do "Thinking Cap Comedy." Basically, if comedy were music, I'd be Jazz. Want to see a show? Check out my schedule at @


Diane said...

So funny.

I had a problem with my bathtub once. It wasn't draining, so I called the plumber. He clomped in, took one look at the tub, and pulled up the lever that lifted the plug.

We're not helping fight the stereotype of the stupid female, eh?

Leighann Lord said...

HA! Thanks for sharing. I think we've all be guilty of missing the obvious from time to time. :-)