Mommy talks about fog a lot  

As I was driving along this morning on a busy street, I saw that a parked car was ahead in my lane. There was enough room, so I decided to merge into the next lane.

The lady at the wheel decided she was going to have none of that and sped up. To which I said, “Why are you fuh- …”

Oops, stop there. I didn’t actually say it, but I was close. And who did I have in the back seat but an eager 8-year-old, who wanted to know more. “Did you just say the F-word?”

“No, I was [straining to think really fast], of course, you know, asking here, like … why are you fully … running me off the road?” (Yeah! Nailed it!)

“No, you didn’t. It sounded like you were saying the F-word.”

F#%$! He’s not buying it. And I’m lying to my kid. But at least I’m not actively endorsing his descent into being a full-on, foul-mouthed street urchin.

Once upon a time, I could freely talk like a sailor in traffic and no one would be the wiser.

When he was a mere one year old, and not even that chatty yet, he got his first memorable introduction to a bad word while I was driving on Seattle’s very irritating Route 99. He gleefully repeated, “F#%$!”

But I was younger and better at thinking on my feet back then.

“No, no, no. It’s pronounced “fog.” FOG. But I don’t think it’s fog at all. It’s not foggy. It’s just cloudy. I was wrong. Do you want to know another word for fog? Condensation. I love weather talk. Condensation is when you get water droplets and they  …”

He pretty much went right to sleep during that inaccurate and overly wordy meteorological lecture, as he did the next three times I slipped up and had to bring out that low-lying cloud dissertation again.

For many years after that, I learned to keep my mouth shut in traffic, especially since there was another young’un, and the stakes were high, since I could be facing an unmistakable chorus full of f#%$s — and had a second witness, too.

Less than two years ago, the older boy and I had a little talk.

“Mom, is the S-word ‘shut up’? Or ‘stupid’?”

“Um … yeah, I think so.”

“How about the F-word? What’s the F-word?”

“Oh … huh. I don’t think I know what that one is.”

But that era is no more. I’ve crossed that bridge, cursed about it and now sent two kids off to school with extensive vocabularies. (You’re welcome.)

Now we stand at the precipice of him actually understanding the words. He has demonstrated that he knows the word, and has been sworn to secrecy as if we were warning him not to tell the other kids about Santa.

“What does the F-word mean?”

“Um, it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s, uh, an expression of anger. Or something.”

My vanity has not prevented me from letting my kid think I am a blithering idiot with regard to defining naughty words.

And since I’m not a blithering idiot, I do not want to go into detail on that one and all its twisted connotations and cultural baggage. He’s 8.

When he’s ready, we can talk about that fog again.

Are you a foul-mouthed driver, too? Has a kid caught you? Share your story in the reply box.



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