Thursday, April 23, 2015

It's All My Mother's Fault

"I think being in charge of 112 hormonal humans each day at work has awoke a Dunnevant Family take-charge brazenness that's lain dormant within me for most of my life. I smiled and nodded understandingly through plenty of nonsense and inconvenience as a younger woman, but my tolerance for incompetence has worn thin. Today, after being told that my car would stay in the repair shop for yet another day, I heard myself declare in no uncertain terms and without missing a beat that the lag time on this repair was unacceptable, that my husband and I were very disappointed in the poor customer service, and that we expected better. My tone made ME nervous. I mean, I came close to issuing him a lunch detention. The man stuttered and stammered for a while and then miraculously found a way to finish the repair before closing time tonight.

Lately, when I hear myself speaking, I feel simultaneously impressed by my assertiveness and humbled by my lack of patience and grace. Whichever way the cookie crumbles, I blame/credit the shenanigans of my 112 middle schoolers...and the Dunnevants."

When I read my daughter's Facebook status from yesterday, I had my own "simultaneously impressed and humbled" moment. I had such high hopes for Kaitlin. I thought that maybe, just maybe she was going to turn out to be the nice one. I mean, Linda and Bill have Christina so it is possible. But no...two years of middle school has unleashed that old familiar family tradition in my sweet, beautiful Kaitlin. I blame my mother. It's all her fault. Let me explain.

Anyone who knew my Dad would tell you that there never lived a kinder, more gentle soul. He was a true gentleman, possessed of endless patience, and when not in the pulpit, he was the very definition of tact. He managed to pass on these admirable traits to zero of his children. Why? Because my mother's genes were dominant. We all inherited her opinionated, forceful, aggressive, argumentative,(notice the great literary lengths to which I am going in order to avoid the word, "RUDE") nature. As such, there are a long list of occupations to which Dunnevants are ill-suited. For example:


Ambassador From Kyrgyzstan: My country would like to object in the strongest way to the Imperialist Dogs of America who are attempting to plunder my country's natural resources in a capitalist conspiracy to...

Me: You smell.


Constituent: I've been out of work for two years and now they tell me my unemployment checks are going to be cut off! I want you to do something about this outrage.

Me: What do I look like, your mother?  Two years on the public doll is enough, you lazy slob.

A dear friend of mine said to me the other day, " Doug, some days I wish so much that I could be like you and just not care what anyone thought about me." This, I believe, is what is known as a back-handed compliment. And it's not entirely true. It's not that I don't care what people think of me, it's more like I don't care...very much. Whenever my buddies at work are at a restaurant together and there's a problem with service they all look at me and say, "Well? Aren't you gonna say something?" 

This is all my mother's fault. There's a reason why she was famous for the expression, "getting up in the pictures" although none of us is quite sure what it means exactly, we are quite sure it isn't a compliment. So when I read Kaitlin's status and imagined her getting all up in the pictures with that unfortunate mechanic, giving him the business, I was at once proud and disappointed. 

Maybe my grandchildren will be like Papa.