"My good childhood friend, her mother, and sisters were moving to Colorado, and her dad was staying a year behind to save up some money.
I took a road trip up there a week after her mom and sisters were settled in so that I could help my friend move in. The plan was her father would follow us behind her car with some more of her stuff, and a couple days later, I'd road trip back with him when it was time to go home.
The trip up there was fine, and we had a good time before it was time to go home. Right before her dad and I were supposed to head home, her mom told him that she wanted a divorce. The next 12 hours give or take was torture for me because he was crying and asking me if she would take him back the whole time. The worst part was that he had just gotten diagnosed with some type of prostate cancer a year before.
Flash forward 6 years later he's remarried and happy and after my friend found out what her mom did she moved back home to live with him for 2 years."
"When I was around 10 years old, I was sleeping over at my best friend Juan's house. We usually stayed up late playing and would sleep in until like noon, which I loved because I rarely got to do that at my house.
At about 8 am, his dad came into the room and told me to get dressed because he needed my help. His dad was a big drinker, so either his breath reeked from last night or he had one for breakfast, either way, he was a bit buzzed. He told me he needed my help in picking out a toy for Juan as a surprise, and we were going to drive to Walmart.
So, we got in the car and drove down to the Walmart. It was a pretty awkward ride and he started asking me questions to make small talk, like how I was liking school and if I had a girlfriend yet.
We got to the Walmart and he took me to the toy section and asked me what toy I thought Juan would like. I walked around and saw Darth Vader's Tie Fighter. Juan and I were huge Star Wars fans and even went to go see Empire Strikes Back in theaters when it was re-released, so I knew he would like it. He bought the toy and then we had another awkward car ride back.
He thanked me for helping and asked me to keep it a secret. I changed into my pajamas again and tried to go back to sleep, but about 10 minutes later his dad came in and surprised him with the toy and gave me a wink.
I found out a few years later that the reason he had me go on this mission to get the toy was because he had been wasted a couple of nights prior and hit Juan and he wanted to make it up to him.
As far as I know, that was the only time that ever happened, but I don't really know since we lost touch after junior high.
It was all just really strange."
"I love saving money as much as the next guy, but there's a fine line between being frugal and being cheap. I like to think that line is drawn right before you're complaining to the Applebee's manager to get your meal for free after the waiter brought out the extra honey mustard you asked for but failed to inform you that it cost 30 cents more.
When I was a sophomore, I went on vacation with a friend's family to some beach hotel. Downstairs, there was a super upscale seafood restaurant where we went for dinner one night, dressed up in suits and everything. Unbeknownst to me, this family was really cheap. Not 'frugal' like they claimed, but cheap. First off, the hotel we stayed at was already paid for because his mom was a teacher and the school board gave them this as a 'teacher's weekend.' Second, because we stayed at the hotel that the restaurant was attached to, we got 50% off our whole bill. Third, my mom handed his dad money for my food for the week that I can spend on any meal I'd like.
The meal started and the waiter started taking drink orders. I said: 'Coke, please!' And his dad, from the other side of the table, leaned over to me and said: 'You sure?' Everyone was staring at me while I ordered my drink. I said: 'Yeah, I'd just like a Coke please.' He piped up again: 'Alright, well, if you're going to be spending your parents' money, then might as well go big!'
It was a $2 soda, but okay, so I just let it pass and broke the awkwardness by changing the topic.
The drinks were served and now came the time to order. His family decided for the table, for five adults, that the best plan of action was to split two small appetizers and eat free bread instead of getting meals individually. I had my own money, and when I went to order a steak, he said again in front of everyone: 'Hopefully, you have enough money for breakfast!'
So at this point, I was basically engulfed in this soup of passive-aggressive comments and cheapskate mindsets that I slowly lost my appetite and just sat there while picking at the appetizer we got.
The appetizer was fried calamari served on a bed of spinach. The calamari was gone and the plate of greens had been sitting there for about five minutes. The waiter, who had just started and was being trained that day, came by and picked up the plates. All of a sudden, his dad said out loud for the restaurant to hear: 'Where's the spinach?' The waiter rushed over and asked what the problem was, trying to diffuse the situation. He might as well had walked up and kicked him right in the balls because his dad erupted in rage. He had taken the waiter cleaning the plates off the table as some personal threat and had gone off the rails. My friend stepped in and tried to calm him and he said, and I quote to his own son, 'I'm not going to calm down. You're the kid, I'm the dad. Remember that.' He eventually calmed to a point of where the manager not only comped him his half-priced order of waters and calamari for free, but a second free meal to ease this magnificent burden in this man's mind.
I remember being dumbfounded with how weak I saw him for the rest of our friendship. To completely embarrass yourself and your family over calamari, Jesus man."
"I had a friend growing up who had saints for parents. They had to have known my home was a terrible place to be because they never sent me back there even after their child and I did the dumbest stuff ever. I don't even know why they put up with it, to be honest. They would just send us both to her room. Sometimes, I think we just pushed it on purpose to see how much her parents would tolerate. The answer? Pretty much anything.
One time, when we were older, her mother took us to a concert. My friend and I loved the same music and even had our own 'band' complete with electric guitars and amplifiers and a microphone her parents let us use inside the house. Her mother agreed to chaperone us to see a concert.
The concert was inside a pretty small club and everyone was smoking pot. As rebellious as my friend and I tried to be, we were innocent in the ways of getting high at that time. Her mother hung out towards the back of the venue and we went right up front. It was an amazing experience for a young teenager at their first concert, but we started feeling incredibly loopy. People near us were blowing smoke into the air, into our faces - a layer of mist hung around the ceiling.
After the concert, we made our way to where her mother was standing the entire time. We got into the car and her mother said: 'Girls, I think we might have gotten a little high.' Then she took us to Burger King and we ate a ton of whopper juniors, and my friend and I were annoying the entire way home.
I still send my friend's parents a Christmas card every year. They tolerated me out of love for their daughter but they also gave me a safe place to experience life and be a kid. I still think of that night and chuckle to myself because the image of her straight-laced mother bringing us to Burger King just cracks me up and is one of the happiest memories I have of being a teenager and not being made to feel inherently bad, but it also is a bit strange and unbelievable sounding especially when I realize it was probably not her moms first experience with the munchies and maybe they were as entertained by some of our hijinks as we were."
"I'm about 7 or 8 years old, and there was this kid in my class who lived a few blocks away. This kid was weird. His family was weird. His dad was this scary fat guy who always wore dirty t-shirts and sweatpants.
One day, the kid invited me over to play some Nintendo, but I didn't really want to go to this house.
My mom was overprotective, so I'd usually just look at her and she could tell from my look whether it was a 'Please, mom, can I go?' or a 'Please, mom, tell them I can't go?'
My dad, however, was oblivious to the world around him. My mom wasn't there, but my dad was. I looked at my dad and he was probably like: 'Afternoon to myself,' so he said: 'Go, have fun, can his dad drive him home when you're all done? Sweet.'
The kid's dad drove one of those ancient vans. The kid sat in the passenger seat. There were no back seats, so I had to sit on the center console. The floor was covered in fast food wrappers and bags and just generally smelled terrible.
When we got back to his house, I couldn't help but notice how filthy it was. His parents were smoking like chimneys. The kid's mom kept calling me 'Adam' (my name isn't Adam). I asked the kid who Adam was as we went to his room and booted up the Nintendo, but he kept pushing off the question.
We played for a while, but after about two hours of my guard being fully on, I asked if I could go home. The kid's dad drove me home in the van while smoking and cursing profusely over traffic, missed turns, and what not. I was never so happy to get home.
By this point, my mother was home and she was furious that my dad sent me off with this family and is thrilled that I'm back. Among her concerns:
My father had no idea where these people lived, so my mother couldn't just come and get me. He didn't feel like this was a big deal, she felt otherwise.
The family was, apparently, known in the neighborhood. The mother had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals since her oldest son, Adam, died. As this was a long time ago, I keep getting different versions of the story from different family members. The gist is that she was, in some manner, responsible for Adam's death. My mother told me that she straight up murdered him but was found not guilty by reason of insanity, spent a few years in the state hospital and then managed to get released. I've also heard that it was a criminal negligence thing (i.e. she left him in the bathtub unattended and he drowned and she went away for that, but it wasn't murder, per se).
The father of this kid was allegedly someone who, today, would be on a registry. He gave off a creepy vibe, but it's possible that this one was neighborhood hype.
Years later, the kid did some time because he would creep on women at a nearby college campus. Apparently, he got busted after he broke into some woman's apartment to watch her sleep. The mom offed herself while he was in high school."
"A friend's dad agreed to pick us up from a local church concert, one of the ones they have outdoors after dark in tiny little towns, all lit up with Christmas lights around the parking lot, and the band was going for cool hard rock with a Christian message. As a sheltered 16-year-old who didn't have access to MTV, I was digging whatever they were putting down.
My friend's super religious dad picked us up, and I was still excited by the hardest rocking I've ever heard in public. I verbally compared them to sounding like Godsmack, and my friend's ultra-religious dad actually pulled over and made me get out of his car (which had a plank of wood with a piece of glass in it for a back hatch), and he made me walk home.
I had to walk four miles in the northern Michigan backwoods where I didn't see a single car, but I did see 12 deer, one loose cow, and two coyotes.
And he had to drive past my house to get to his. My mom was not happy about that one."
"I grew up in a big tourist town with a lake with a number of summer homes, and all of the hotels had little water parks attached.
The winter of my eighth-grade year, my friend had a birthday party at one of these water parks. It was cheap to get into in the winter and they had slides and a lazy river, and a big hot tub.
I remember there was a girls hockey team in town for a regional tournament, so a couple girls teams were in the water park and we started hanging out with them. A girl was flirting with me, so we hung around in a group.
It was a good party with plenty of food and girls in bathing suits flirting with us. This was right when cell phones were becoming affordable and popular with teens, but I never had one, so I never got the girl's number or anything. Well, the plan was after the party, about 10 of us were staying at the birthday boy's house for the night, so we all were dropped off and his mom (divorced) was going to drive us all back to the house. I never really knew what drinking a lot looked like - my mom never drank - but this kid's mom had been drinking all night by the pool.
Well, it got late and was time to go home so the group of us piled into her minivan. We all had to squish together and some even sat in the floor between seats and next to the big sliding door vans have. That was the first red flag. So we started to leave and had to cut across this divided four-lane highway. Well, the mom started going the WRONG way down the two lanes, her son, my friend, started yelling at her: 'Mom, you're going the wrong way!'
It took her a minute of driving until she realized he was right and started to make a wide U-turn. Then we get on the other side of the highway and she turned the wrong way again! We all started nervously yelling and pointing this out until after another minute or so she corrected herself and got on the right track.
I never thought much of it, as it was a good night before, and after that, but being an adult now, it scares me that she had an over-packed car (some of us not wearing seatbelts) and she still drove wasted down a highway twice!
I never told my mom because I didn't get that she was wasted, but it makes me cringe thinking she could have killed herself and eight other people because she had too many drinks."
"I went camping with a couple of buddies and my friend's mom, who was the driver.
My girlfriend and I were setting up our tent and she walked away to go grab something, and I could see my friend's mom in her tent. She looked at me, smiled, turned around, pulled her pants and underwear down, and pushed her butt against the screen window and just laughed.
I saw everything, and I still feel weirded out. I've known her for years, and see her like a second mom."
"We were white water rafting in Maine. I was in a truck with my friend, a different friend's dad, and two 10-year-old boys going to the pickup spot at the end of the rafting route.
I was in the passenger seat and the dad was driving. I was about 17 at the time, and the topic of 'being a man' came up. He talked about how sometimes you just need to follow your dreams. We were all listening at this point. He then told us this wasn't his first life and that he moved to the West Coast when he was young and started a family.
He said he liked his wife and kids decently enough but he wanted to get more out of life.
One day, he went out to pick up some milk and never went back. I don't know how the kids in the truck took the story, but my friend and I were pretty freaked out the rest of the trip."
"My friend's mom would pick him up at the bus stop every day. One day, she asked if I wanted a ride home. I said sure and got in. She said she had to do something at home quick and took us to their house. We each lived two blocks from the bus stop in opposite directions. It didn't make sense, but whatever. I didn't say anything.
We got to their house and she sat me down at the kitchen table and yelled at me for being mean to her son for about two hours. I walked home afterward, was late for dinner, and told my parents what happened. I feel like she essentially kidnapped me and yelled at me, and I still have no idea what I did to him; we were good friends and still are. His mom is pretty crazy, though."
"I needed to get from my college to my hometown for my boyfriend's surprise birthday party and my boyfriend was usually my main ride, so I had to ask all my other friends. My friend Hal was having the party at his house and offered for his dad to take me on the way home from work.
I hadn't met Hal's dad more than once because his job kept him traveling all the time, but he was always very stiff and professional. In fact, while we called Hal's mom by a very informal nickname, we had to call his dad by Mr. Lastname. Well, I figured worst case it would be a half hour of awkward silence. We got in the car and Hal's dad started asking me about my college and when he found out I was into airplanes, told me that he piloted for celebrities.
The next 20 minutes were full of insane stories he had about his flying and celebrities he'd met, telling me how Leonard Nimoy was one of the most fantastic people he'd met, going on to tell me how he flew through the northern lights one time and how amazingly romantic it was and how it made him think of his wife. Here's the kicker, after that car ride he went back to the two-word conversations any time I saw him, maybe throwing in how my school was going.
Hal couldn't believe anything, they gathered the family and when I recounted the stories, they realized that they each knew a bunch of stories that the others didn't. It was a strange situation, but honestly, it was such a good memory. It taught me you can find something to share with everyone and definitely don't judge a book by its cover."
"My friend's mom picked us up from middle school and drove to the bank a block away to get some cash. Her driving was a little erratic, but nothing too crazy; just some fast lane changes. She locked us in the car while she went inside. My friend picked up a water cup from the cup holder near the driver's seat and sniffed it. She said: 'Oh, that's something fierce, I'm glad I smelled it first.' She then put what appeared to be 16 oz of Smirnoff back in the cup holder.
When my friend's mom came back out, she was not in the best of moods. She took a large swig of 'water' and then proceed to floor it out of the parking lot, swerve around cars, and nearly drifted around corners until we got to their house.
Needless to say, I thought it was the best thing ever and proceeded to spend lots more time at their place."
"I was probably about 16 or 17 and was out partying with my friend and some classmates. My friend challenged me to a chugging contest, so I did, making me even more wasted.
About 30 minutes later, our ride showed up, which was his dad. Now, his dad was a pretty fun guy and liked to have a laugh, and he noticed that I was super wasted, so he started 'interrogating' me about our evening. I answered to the best of my ability in the state I was in. He kept this 'interrogation' going for the entire 40-minute drive.
I thought I was in trouble, but in reality, he was just messing around.
Another party about a year later, he did the same routine. Only this time it was early morning after a party, meaning I was hungover instead, and my friend wasn't in the car, but the rest of his family sure was!'"
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