Friday, January 3, 2014

#1 Question: Your Parents Don't Know?!?

Wow - talk about a response. I expected SOME interest to my blog when I announced it to my friends, but I was pretty surprised by the amount of people that sent me personal messages and reached out to me. What's more, I was excited by all of the questions people started asking. A good friend from high school basically interviewed me on Facebook the night I sent my mass-message, and the questions he posed made me think a lot about what I could discuss on here. Several other people have done the same, and I'm considering doing an AMA once things get moving a little more. All that to say . . . keep the questions coming, comments are appreciated, and I sure wouldn't mind if you liked/followed/shared my various social media profiles ;) ;)

Hands-down the first and most frequent question has been why I haven't told my parents and why I don't want them to know. Even my girlfriend's mother (who already knew what I've been up to) didn't know THAT detail. It's a pretty glaring oversight of mine to not explain this, and on the surface, I suppose it does make me look like a bit of a schlub. What kind of a crappy son am I, anyway? I kinda feel like I've been Sergeant Schultz to my parents . . .

My family is pretty fiercely independent, in all honesty. I remember that when my parents dropped me off at college, my father rolled down the window to say, "Call every two weeks or so unless it's an emergency." With that, he drove off.  That was that - no "I love you" or anything like that. No hugs or tears - not even from mom. That's pretty normal for my family. It's not that we don't love each other - we're just our own people. My parents are at least 1000 miles away from their respective parents, and it's not that they don't love one another.

So, is that the reason I didn't tell them? Not completely. Like I said, we DO love each other. However, I'm the youngest and the only son, so even though we're super-independent and non-emotional, I know my parents would have a fit if they knew what I'm doing. My dad would argue from a logical side that it doesn't make sense and give me numerous reasons why I should just get a place (and probably offer me money to do so, which I don't want). My mother would keep quiet, but she'd probably lose sleep worrying about my safety. I understand that - I'm their child, after all. I just know that in no way would I be able to convince them that I'm safe (even though I'm in a very low-crime area) or otherwise ease their minds about what I'm up to. Knowing my parents, I suppose the adage, "what you don't know can't hurt you," is the best approach that I could take.

Even though this post is getting a bet lengthy, I've got a related story. Last year in the fall of 2012, my parents came to visit for a weekend. We went to a few local attractions and spent time together, but they seem to be constantly inquisitive of where my new apartment was. I tried to be vague about it, but they kept pressing for details and asking to come over. I gave numerous excuses about it being too dirty or too small to host guests, but they insisted that they're just my parents, so dirty or small, they wouldn't mind. One evening, my father even tried to follow me from a distance after we met for dinner. I pulled over and asked if he needed directions back to their hotel, and he quickly made up some excuse about being turned around.

Finally, mom just decided to drill me. She asked me if I was living in some drug den, shacking up with some skanky girl, or otherwise living somewhere that I was ashamed of telling them about. I knew there was no way around it, so I had to be blunt: "Mom, in no way am I living somewhere that is immoral, illegal, or unsafe. It's just not ideal, and I don't think your or dad would approve. You don't need to worry, but I don't want to talk about it." Yeah - that was pretty rough, but when you've got your dad tailing you as you drive home, there aren't many good ways to approach the topic, I suppose. After that, they haven't brought the subject up, so I guess they've gotten over it. Why worry them, really?

So, that's that. My parent's don't know, and I don't really plan on telling them. Well, I suppose I'll tell them once I finally decide I'm done with my crazy experiment, but until then, mum's the word on that topic. Do I like keeping secrets from my parents? Of course not. However, I think I'd enjoy worrying them even less. Besides, they sacrificed so much to raise my sister and me and put us through school, and one reasons I'm doing this is to provide them with something resembling a retirement. I think they'll manage to forgive me.