10 defining moments... part two: the car in the puddle.
Another seemingly insignificant moment in my life was this incident I experienced again when I was about 9.
When I was a kid, I worked a lot. My parents, but mostly my dad felt that my brother and I should work hard for what we got. I guess, it probably had to do with the fact that he had a very, very hard life growing up. From what I understand, his family lived way below the north American standards. Anyway, he reasoned that we had it pretty good, which was a fact! But that we should pay hard for what we got. So we worked. During the week, around the house, for hours, sometimes until or after nightfall, while our friends looked at us working in disbelief. And then my parents had the wonderful idea to build an investment property up north, solely for the purpose of renting it. So we started working on the weekends as well when I was about 8.
At one point, my mom seeing us so unhappy suggested to my dad that we should at least get some sort of reward at the end of the weekend... An activity that would be enjoyable... So once in a while, my dad would go with us to this cheap horse riding stable near the property. We would drive there on this bad dirt road in his old Malibu Classic... Anyway, this one time, the roads were especially bad. It had rained hard the previous nights and during the day, and the road was muddy and full of big puddles.
At one point, we saw this huge puddle in the middle of the road. My dad, as the cowboy driver that he was said "hold on" and started accelerating a bit to try and make it true the big puddle, but it was too deep and the car got stuck or he stopped the car because he didn't want to go further, thinking the water might be too deep.
So there we were, in the middle of nowhere, in this road lake. I could feel my dad getting all distressed and anxious as he tried to assess if we should go further. I remember him even asking us, the kids, if he should... I remember thinking, here we go again, more grief.
So all in his dramatic style, my dad concludes and yell at the top of his lungs: "We're finished! We're never getting out of here! And then added stringed-up harsh swearwords, bagging on the stirringwheel like a complete lunatic to make sure his emotional state was completely disproportionate and out of hands, and that we, kids understood the seriousness of this event. No fun for you kids! You wanted to come here, not I! I only did this for you, so you could have your little fun. It's alllll your fault.
At that point, my heart sank. I looked at my little brother on the verge of tears, and grabbed him, telling him it was going to be ok. But I just felt fear. Not really at the situation, not really at the fact that we might have to sleep here, but at the fact that we might have to endure many long hours with my lunatic, tortured and childish dad, listening to his disaster-like paranoiac ramblings.
I remember trying to feel numb, not wanting to hear him go on and on. I remember thinking that I had lost my respect for my dad. I remember wanting not to be there so badly, not be with him. I remember thinking that even activities that were supposed to be fun always turned to disaster with him and that it was impossibel to enjoy myself, that I always had to worried that things, somehow, would always end up in grief and pain with him.
Most importantly, I remember vividly thinking that my dad was irresponsible, not even being able to find solution to the simplest of problems in life. I was so disappointed and ashamed of him from then on.