Saturday, June 19, 2010

Watch the Car!

It all started when I reversed my car out the front porch. My Mum's beloved Mercedes Benz was parked beside me, so you can visualize the tension hanging in the air as I put my car into reverse. Cold sweat glistening on my forehead, I let go of the hand brake.
"Just reverse straight," said my dad.
"Watch the car!" yelled my mum (which of course meant her car)
"Ok, you're doing good," said my dad.
"Watch the car!"
"When the rear end of the car has passed the gate, cut in to the left," continued my dad,"and remember to watch out for cars on the road"
"Watch the car!"

It was smooth sailing after that until we reached the highway. At that point, I have fetched my sis and bro from their tuition centre, and the car was pretty crowded. While my bro annoyed me relentlessly with his requests ("Bang, can we play PS2 after we go back???"), I gripped the steering wheel with the iron grip of a crab hanging on for its life over a red-hot wok. Occasionally a car would stray into my lane without signalling and draw my mum's typical response to such an incident: "Stupid car...!"

I was tempted to point out to my mum that it was not the CAR that was stupid, but rather it was the DRIVER who was an idiot. I kept such thoughts to myself, though, fearing that my right to eat dinner in my house would be revoked that night.

After the eventful but thankfully accident-free trip, we arrived at IOI mall. We were there to shop for supplies for my upcoming studies at Banting - or at least we were supposed to. My mum and sis, though, entered "shopping mode" - meaning every item in every shop we passed was put under microscope-like scrutiny ("just in case there are discounts"). It was not their fault, of course. The very environment of a shopping mall unleashes in them an almost animal instinct to shop till you (or your husband and/or son) drop - kinda like sharks in a feeding frenzy.

Finally, though, we looked for the stuff I needed. A bedsheet here, a comforter there and before long we were in Jusco for the clothes I will be needing. My mum showed her immense organisational skills here. Without a shopping list, she looked for items coolly, effectively and systematically. Not unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator series.

Shopping took longer than I thought it would. It was way past lunchtime by then and to make things worse, I had skipped breakfast (and most of the morning) by waking up late. I found myself admiring my mum. While the only thing I could think of was food, my mum was still going down her mental shopping list with steady determination. How could she even remember of the stationery I would need when all I could think of was how good a stomach full of chicken rice would feel? (I like the Hainanese variety, FYI)

All "good" things, though, must come to an end - and sure enough, the shopping was eventually over. We had a late lunch at the food court where my parents showed their love subtly by making sure the children get to eat before them. I realized that over the years, I have taken this act of love for granted, as I'm sure I have taken for granted a million other acts of their parental love.

We hit the road again after that. My dad told me to be careful in the basement as cars sometimes rush out of parking spots without warning. My mum proceeded to repeat my dad's statement. Again and again. And again. But I guess that's another act of love usually taken for granted.

A safe (and if I may say so myself, extremely smooth) ride later and we were at the front gate of my house in one piece. The gates slowly opened and my heart started beating oh-so-rapidly.
"Do you think you can park without any guidance from me?" asked my dad.
The Mercedes was taunting me, so I nodded my head.
"Lets have faith in Abang," my sis chimed in from the back (I wasn't sure if she was being sarcastic.
"Fine," said my mum.
"But watch the car!!"