My friend had one of those horrific moments where you accidentally call someone and don’t realize your phone is on. While it’s on, you talk about said person and you don’t know if you’ve said something bad or good.
I can not tell you how many times I’ve done that. There was the one time where I thought I was texting Wifesy while my friend was on stage performing. I texted something like, “Mike is really stinking up the stage.” I hit send and then I instantly had that horror feeling. That feeling where you know something is wrong, but you don’t know what yet. I look down at my phone and I had sent the text TO MIKE. I was mortified. Mike was one of my closest buds. So, I did what any self respecting person would do and I hunted through his things for his phone. I found his phone ran out into the hallway and stabbed and punched at buttons hoping to delete it. Finally, I did. I returned to my seat and returned Mike’s phone back to his bag. He never knew. Sometimes it works out like that, sometimes it doesn’t.
A few years ago, my brother was having a hard time with my dad. It was over the gay issue and my dad wrote him a letter. The letter really talked about my brother being too “coddled” as a child and my dad blamed this for his gayness. My dad blamed a lot of things, including my mom. There was a lot that was offensive about the letter. There was a lot of, “women are like this and men are like this” and “men are not supposed to be sensitive and emotional in any way.” Looking back, it was my very, old dad trying to suss out his feelings around the issue. He was trying to make sense of it all. However, my dad sometimes can’t balance the distance between how he THINKS things should be and how they really are. He’s not the best at bridging that gap and seeing reality. For example, I was the one who always helped my dad out with every building project, every heavy lifting project, half the house re-build, etc. I always helped out with these chores over my brother. Who knows why. Maybe I was more suited to it. I don’t know. Yet, my dad had this skewed view of women. It was sort of – we should be baking cakes and talking about our feelings while the men are out mining coal. Meanwhile, I was always the one he sought out to mine coal with him. So strange. (And no, we didn’t actually mine coal. But, we did do a lot of building and re-building projects, etc.) The letter bothered me. It bothered me that he had this strange gender idea when in our house that was never really what happened in actuality. I was annoyed. I penned off an email to my brother telling him what I thought of dad, what my therapist said about him, and how I thought he should deal with it. I hit send. I sat back for half a second feeling good about myself and then it happened. Utter and complete horror washed over me. At the time, my mom and dad shared an email account. An email had come in from my mother wishing us a “Happy Easter” and then the email from my brother about my dad’s letter. They both have the same last name. The emails were one after the other in my inbox and I was annoyed, bordering on angry. This is a bad combination. I penned off the email about my dad and accidentally SENT IT TO MY DAD!!!
Horror. Pandemonium. I called my brother 67 times in succession. He was at a baseball game and not picking up his phone. I inhaled deeply and called my mother.
My mother – bless her – took my side. Her response to the letter was hilarious. I told her about parts of it and her immediate reaction was, “HE’S NOT EMOTIONAL??! YOUR FATHER IS TOTALLY EMOTIONAL. HE’S OUT OF HIS MIND.”
I love my dad. I don’t agree with him most of the time. However, I didn’t want him to read everything that I wanted to say to my brother about him. It just wasn’t right. It just would’ve been hurtful. So, I enlisted my mother’s help. My mother – by the way – loves to be enlisted in any kind of devious project. She jumps at such opportunities. Mom said to me, “I’ll handle it.”
I said, “How are you going to handle it?”
She said, “I’m going to delete the email.”
I said, “Where is dad?”
She said, “On the computer.”
“Whhhaaat?? All is lost,” I said.
“Oh no,” Mom said. “I’ll get it.”
“How in the hell are you going to do that?” I asked.
“I’m going to drug him,” Mom said.
WHAAAAATTTT? That’s exactly what my mom said, “I’m going to drug him.” Turns out, she meant put a little scotch in his hot chocolate so he’d fall asleep earlier, but to her this was drugging.
Mom went on her reconnaissance mission. I drank a bottle of wine and went to bed. In the morning, it turns out dad had read the email. He was upset. I understood why. We had some words. Ultimately, though, I think it was for the best. What I felt was the truth was all out in the open.
I always think of these moments with a mix of fascination and horror. It’s so interesting how we try to shield each other from what we really think, but often, it just ends up getting out anyway.
Has this ever happened to you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.
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