Two Left Shoes

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English is a complicated language. Yet most people who learn it as their second language seem to be far more fluent than the rest of us who study, say, Spanish or French for a few years in high school. Why is that? Maybe it has something to do with all those double entendres, colloquialisms and oxymorons we spout both for comedic purposes and, let’s be honest, because we misuse them… Often.

Here are a few new expressions that have popped up since I’ve started living with my parents again:

Passenger-seat driver. That one’s pretty self explanatory… When I’m chauffeuring my Dad around town on various errands, he’s always pointing out every car that he thinks is in my way or every sign that he thinks he’s reading correctly or every imminently dangerous situation that’s about to occur (in his opinion) while sitting in the passenger seat instead of the back seat – where people usually sit when they want to annoy drivers.

Upside-down knife. Imagine cutting into a nice piece of steak… and cutting and cutting and you’re about to send it back because it’s like a piece of rubber. Then you’re told it’s not the meat, it’s the knife. Meaning, the knife is upside down. You’ve been painstakingly trying to cut something with the serrated edges up instead of down. My Dad, sadly, suffers from this anomaly. But, on the bright side, think how many calories he burns in the effort. 

Two-left shoes. We’ve all heard the expression ‘two left feet’ when referring to someone (hopefully not you) who couldn’t dance. But what about someone who can’t see or feel the difference when putting his shoes on the wrong feet… It seems like they’d notice that right away, doesn’t it? Only, my Dad keeps walking up to me with his shoes on the wrong feet and asking me if they’re right. It would be beyond cruel to not correct him or, worse, to wait and see if he eventually noticed (I’m no prankster but I know there are people who find great joy in tying someone’s shoe laces together under the table in hopes that, once they get up, they’ll immediately trip).

It’s a far better idea to just laugh it off and tell him, “you must have two left shoes!” 

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Driving Me Crazy

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I’m not sure which is harder… having your driver’s license taken away or having to tell your parents (the very ones who taught you how to drive in the first place) that it’s just not safe anymore for them to be behind the wheel. I’d say it’s a pretty good indicator after their second or third fender bender. You know, the ‘accidents’ that were caused because they couldn’t see just how close the car was in front of them and their reflexes were just a bit too slow. Or when they start making up silly excuses for why they don’t want to drive to the store (that’s at the end of the block):

1) I just got undressed OR
2) I’d have to get dressed OR
3) I just sat down OR
4) It looks like rain/snow 

Any way you look at it, it’s got to feel like your independence is at stake – just one more thing making you feel old and useless – and that, from then on, you’ll be dependent on someone else for yet another thing. As for that ‘someone else’ (let’s call her, Ellen), she’ll now be relegated to the status of permanent chauffeur. That means for everytime your parents need to:

  • Grocery shop
  • See the doctor
  • Pick up their meds
  • Get the newspaper (because whose parents read The Times online?)
  • Go to the library (because whose parents use a Kindle?)
  • Go to the bank (because whose parents bank online?)
  • Have lunch with friends
  • Visit their grandkids
  • Go to a funeral

So you stop and think: “whose idea was this again?” And then you realize… oh, yeah, it was mine!