plaid jacket and slicked hair

23 Apr

My mom and I have an amusing relationship. Every one of my siblings does the perfect “mom voice”, because that is how she speaks to us all of the time. If you were a stranger, you would think it was rude. If you were her child, you would just want to strangle her and hope a stranger notices, so someone can stop you.

Three minutes into arriving at my mom’s house, and she was already annoying. And no, ladies and gents, that comes nowhere near the record.

The night’s excursion began with an agreement. I said, “There will be no tone, and there will be no yelling” She, of course, only got more upset. We were off to look at cars because my mom wanted my opinion and needed to review some pricing. It went surprisingly well, with my mom asking appropriate questions, and our banter providing ample entertainment for Rick, the lucky salesman for the evening.

I had all of these notions of what it would be like. We were going to sit there for 4 hours and haggle over tax and features. Instead we sat there and spoke with Rick, partly about cars, and partly about families. I am in sales, and we were expecting to be sold. In reality, there was no Matilda-esque gluing of bumpers, rolling back of odometers, or good ol’ bait and switch schemes.

Rather, we were offered a painful glimpse into another person’s life. Someone else just trying to make it day by day. Rick had photos of his son plastered around his office. It was probably intentional, but I’m not sure the discussion of his personal life was. I think that had something to do with my mom. She has that way about her. Like she can solve anyone’s problem, and if not, then she can at least make you feel better simply by listening.

He had hinted at not wanting to go home. Rick had a 7 year old son. He was never married to his son’s mother. Then talk about cars cars cars. Then he said that his girlfriend (should have been ex girlfriend?) lived with him, and she had a boyfriend. And they agreed she would move out in March because it was his house. But he wanted his son to live there, and know where he was, because she had an irresponsible streak. She went to bars occasionally. He corrected himself. He reworded, she goes to bars frequently.

More talk about cars cars cars.

He said she wanted to move to Connecticut. My mom told him about a California law that doesn’t allow a parent to move a child more than 150 miles away, under certain guidelines. He spoke about how he had already lost one son to a wife that moved away and now lives with her new husband.

Then we talked about custody and children.

And then we decided it was time to go, without buying the car because my mom needed some time to think it over. And Rick talked about the hours he spent at the dealership, and joked about how he was practically a virgin. (Seriously I almost fell out of my seat, and I am pretty sure I was bright red. Not to mention the fact that my mom doesn’t talk about sex. AT ALL.)

And that was the cue to go. And we were officially sold on the idea that Rick needed therapy. And we left knowing that our car buying excursion had a presented an unexpected twist: Our salesman was brutally honest. Maybe too honest.

So maybe we were sold on how sad Rick’s life was, but at least he didn’t have the hair to match. There sure was a lot of pain standing in those shiny shoes though.

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