On the day I scheduled my driver’s test, I vowed I would not tell a single soul.
I mean, I totally imagined myself slinking into the DMV, rocking that exam, and exiting with a driver’s license and permission to drive my mother’s light blue Aerostar minivan, stocked with AM/FM radio, air conditioning, and a kick-ass tape deck.
But in the event that a grumpy woman with a moustache and yellowed nails decided to jeopardize my negligible social standing by scrawling “FAIL” across my application after noticing my clumsy K-turn or tendency to parallel park in front of fire hydrants, I’d be saved from a lifetime of embarrassment.
It was a genius plan, perfected after years of self-doubt and chronic avoidance behavior.
In reality, however, I told about 36 of my closest friends in about 17 minutes.
Frazzled nerves make me verbose, I guess.
On the day of the test, I was burdened with the perceived expectations of my peers and cursed my impulsivity, especially after learning that one of the smartest boys in my class had failed his exam. Apparently he had turned right on red when the sign clearly said, “No right on red.” However, because all of us took the driver’s test within the same four square blocks in our little city, I learned vicariously through him and noticed the same sign a mere second before I veered into traffic. It was close, y’all.
I still contend that I shouldn’t have spilled the beans.
Until two nights ago, I hadn’t been placed in that particular predicament again. You know, where I had something intimidating to do that would remain considerably less stressful had I just kept my mouth shut and remained under the radar.
But on Tuesday evening, the producer from Charlotte Talks, a local program aired on NPR’s 90.7 WFAE, called. The kids were all up in my grill and arguing about who was going to use Raz-Kids on the computer first and I was like, “Shhh! The phone is ringing and it’s a number I don’t recognize. It could be a new client or the Easter Bunny!” Sydney, a little naïve, was all, “Really? Can I talk to the Easter Bunny? Wait, can bunnies talk?” and groaned in disappointment when she heard me say, “Yes, this is Dr. Egan from Charlotte Parent Coaching.”
The producer, Tim Ross, was super nice and didn’t seem to notice my kids chattering in the background, ”We’d like you to be a guest on our show on Monday to talk about parenting. There are these two dudes who wrote a book and we need an expert to round out the discussion.” I totally played it cool, “Um…I guess I can fit it in my schedule. I’ll shift a few things around and try to make it.” I hung up the phone and told the kids that their mother was going to be on the radio on Monday. Sydney was all, “Oh, Mommy, I’m SO proud of you!” and Dylan was like, “What’s for dinner, Mom? I’m hungry.” Then they both asked if they could stay home from school on Monday to listen to me, but I said, “Um, no. You can listen to it later on the internet.”
I vowed not to tell anyone. Except maybe my parents. And Mer. And Jack.
But about two hours later I got all excited and Facebook-giddy and was all, “GUESS WHO’S GOING TO BE ON NPR ON MONDAY, YOU GUYS? ME! I AM! I AM!”
Yeah. It was a repeat of 1993 all over again.
So now it’s out, by my hand. Everyone has been all encouraging and “You probably won’t say the word ‘ass’ on public radio, Tara.” I’m like, “Don’t be so sure. You’d be surprised how much that word comes up when you’re talking about parenting.”
At this point, Jack’s told everyone he knows, including all the guys at work who like to tease him for hanging out with a nerd like me. The kids have told their teachers, all the neighbors, and that lady who always walks her dog near the mailboxes and doesn’t clean up its poop. And my parents have called all the relatives and their coworkers and possibly the Democrat & Chronicle. Others folks were like, “Can I call in and ask you questions? Do they have to be about parenting? Are you going to mention your book? Can I hear it live in another state?”
So, no pressure.
Well, I’ve decided to embrace the support. I’m going to put on my horned-rimmed glasses, spit out my gum, take a deep breath, and remember that I totally know what I’m talking about. I’m good at my job. I hardly ever stutter. And most importantly, folks can only hear me, not see me.
So tune in on Monday, March 25 at 9:00am for Charlotte Talks, a show hosted by Mike Collins that features ”discussions of politics, growth, the arts, culture, social issues, literature, human interest, the environment and more.”
NPR’s member station, WFAE. 90.7FM.
And let’s all hope I don’t say the word “ass”.
Unless it’s on purpose.