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Designated Driver

December 2, 2012

Designated Driver Poster cut_Page_1

I’m just going to come right out and say it.

I was my parents’ DD last night.

Yup, you read that right, DD as in Designated Driver (Sober Soldier, Chaste Chauffeur, Timid Transporter, Glum Guide, Boring Betsy… did I just get carried away?) I, a 24-year-old single female, was tasked with soberly delivering my parents to a Saturday night party with their college friends and subsequently returning them safely home at the end of the evening(in this case early morning). I even took on passengers, picking up a few of their friends on the way and taking them for a quick pre-party cocktail at a nearby restaurant.

Their party was a reunion, the 40th anniversary of a pub most of them had worked at in college. My dad brought his chef’s t-shirt which displayed a graphic of two naked women sitting back to back and my mother wore skinny jeans. When I asked when about they’d be calling for a pickup, my dad told me if I didn’t hear from them by midnight I could probably start thinking about heading over. Since when did my parents become so cool?

No, I wasn’t a total recluse that night, although I seriously considered finding a nice quiet coffee shop to read my book in while I waited. Instead I headed over to a karaoke bar for a friend of a friend of a friend’s birthday and danced along to the covers of Green Day and Madonna (who knew American Idiot would be such a great karaoke song?). It was nice to be at a bar again, and I even had fun, but when no one came close to Snow Whore’s rendition of Total Eclipse of the heart from her bachelorette party and the bar began to fill with guys I secretly wished I was drunk enough to hook up with, I started to long for home. I counted down the minutes until I could be at my parents’ house getting ready for bed.

They called at 11:40 and I was there by midnight. I had to go in to the bar to get them because they couldn’t hear my call over the noise of the crowd. I held my mother’s hand as we navigated down the stairs to the parking garage. Taking them home was easy, they gossiped about which friends had changed and even rehashed a few stories. I learned that my mother can’t drink vodka now because her high school boyfriend gave her a bottle and said drink enough of this so we can add some orange juice. I learned that my dad was deemed the responsible one of the group because he made sure the sand they trucked in for one of their beach parties wouldn’t fall in any of the floor vents. They especially liked to remember the time they accidently showed a naked picture of their friend to all the folks at her wedding.


But still, it happened. I took care of my parents, and I honestly didn’t mind. So have the roles shifted? Have I officially become the caretaker? Was I ever the rebellious teen? I was angsty for sure, but did I ever take action?

On the way to work with my dad the other day (yes I work, live and carpool with him) I joked that maybe moving home was part of my sinister plan to gain their trust and then rebel for real this time. Maybe I’d throw a killer party wrecking the house and get so drunk I’d black out. Instead of caution he gave me encouragement, saying he probably wouldn’t even be upset because he’d think I deserved to have a little fun. Later that night my mom told me she’d prefer I didn’t wreck the house but she could find me a place nearby to rent out. Did my parents just encourage me to party?

And it didn’t stop there; at work one of the guys my dad spends lunches with told me he knows much more about my brother than he does me. He said my dad talks about my brother because he’s caused a bit of trouble, but since I’ve always been on the “straight and narrow” he doesn’t have much to share about me. He meant it as a compliment but part of me was confused. Does doing things right make me less worthy of interest? What have I done so far that is worthy of talking about?


Even this last year, which I had convinced myself wasn’t part of the plan, is actually completely expected. The whole country is struggling to find jobs, so since I’ve made decent money on odd jobs with few expenses I’m actually above the curve. That doesn’t constitute a rebellion? Where is my sense of adventure that I think so highly of?

Maybe I’m still waiting for the perfect moment to take that chance, or maybe I’ve already made it and it just hasn’t quite gained momentum, but there isn’t much getting around the fact that as of yet, I haven’t done anything truly adventurous.

So, shouldn’t moving out be the first step? You’d think living at home wouldn’t be the best place for a 20-something adventurous woman to start. But instead of wishing I was off on my own, I’ve found myself loving every minute of the home-cooked meals and stay-at home Saturdays working on crafts.

So I’m choosing to live at home. Not because I have no money or no friends or no job or no sense of adventure, but because for now, I love it. And I love them, drunken partying and all. On Thanksgiving one of the dads of the families I’ve grown up with gave the toast. He raised his (full) glass to us, the now grown kids, saying that out of all the years they’ve had us in their lives he is loving these most. And I’m glad I believe him.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2012 4:42 am

    Your parents are lucky to have such a rad daughter/designated driver! And I’m sure adventure is just around the corner…don’t let yourself be lulled into a false sense of security!

  2. hownottokillyourparents permalink
    December 5, 2012 1:59 pm

    Drunken parents are the funniest/best. And yes. If you do it right, living with them can be pretty awesome. 🙂

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