Walking in on Your Folks

The Butcher and I were reminiscing about the times we’ve walked in on our parents having sex, which has got to be one of those formative, mortifying moments of any teenager’s life.

The Butcher’s was traumatic, I’ll admit. He’d gotten home in the middle of the night and went upstairs to tell my folks he was home and when he opened the bedroom door to address them, there they were, spotlit by a reading light my mom had clipped to the headboard.

But I don’t think that’s as bad as mine, which happened one Christmas when we were up at my grandparents’. Now, sleeping at my grandparents’ house was traumatic enough because my grandpa would regularly fall asleep while shitting*. And so, if you waited until you really had to go before getting up to go pee, you’d go sprinting down the hall, spring into the bathroom, and be greeted by a mountain of a man wearing only a thin v-neck t-shirt with his underpants around his ankles, snoring with his head resting on his chest. Every time, it’d scare me so bad, because I wasn’t expecting it and I’d have to stifle a scream, because I sure as hell didn’t want to wake him up.

So, getting up in the middle of the night is already fraught with peril and then you get to be a certain age and nature takes its course. But as nature does, it takes its course in fits and unpredictable starts. So, there I am, having cleared the first hurdle, in actually getting in the bathroom and finding it empty, only to discover that, to my mortification, I really needed a pad, right that second, for perhaps, only the third or fourth week of my life.

Now, gentlemen, if you’re still reading, I know you can’t really imagine what this is like, but let’s say, it takes some time to get used to, and for the first little bit (okay, ten years) you’re convinced that it would be awesome if there were some female-only village filled with large tubs of constantly circulating warm water that you could sit in and get filled full of Pamprin and chocolate while older women told you uplifting stories for the whole week while you navigate emotions somewhere between mildly grossed out and supremely annoyed.

But instead, you’re supposed to remain a part of the real world.

And so I had to go into the bedroom where my parents were supposed to be sleeping and retrieve the needed item. I knocked lightly. No one said anything. I opened the door.

And there they were–knowing each other in the biblical sense.

Already on edge from the stress of the possibility of having to confront an angry old sleep-shitting German and then discovering that I was menstruating, I couldn’t help but scream. Which, of course, brought everyone else in the house running into the room before my parents even had a chance to figure out what was going on.

So, it’s hard to say who was more traumatized, me or my parents.

*Yes, perhaps we should have suspected earlier than we did that he had a brain tumor. As I recall, it was only after he started being nice to my dad that folks figured out that something was wrong.

14 thoughts on “Walking in on Your Folks

  1. My parents, luckily, always locked the door. You could tell because dad’s heavy footsteps would pound out around midnight, the door lock would go snap, and dad’s footprints would pound back to bed.

    Never had anything close to your experience.

  2. Ha, no. They don’t read Tiny Cat Pants. I don’t walk in on them having sex anymore. We have an understanding.

    Lee, your parents are wise. I think my parents thought we kids were much louder than we actually were and that they’d hear us long before we could interrupt.

  3. Geeze. I’m traumatized just by the story. Closest I ever came was hearing it from across the hall.


  4. My parents spared me the trauma of the primal scene by merely ceasing to have sex when I was 6 or 7. Gee, a guy goes out and gets a little on the side with the miniskirt-wearing spouse of his favorite brother and then his wife “overreacts” and before you know it, a whole marriage is shot to hell until death they parted. Just sad piled on sad. Out of a respect for the secrecy that was the malignant parody of privacy, I’m going to post this anonymously.

  5. Oh, anonymous. That’s so sad. If it makes you feel better, so you won’t feel like you missed out, go to the store and buy a package of peanut M&Ms and a package of marshmallows. Take out one peanut M&M and one marshmallow. Rub them together. Now, imagine people shaped like those food items and Voila! You come close to the trauma I felt.

  6. You are the only daughter of Rocky Road? My god, woman, I knew you were mighty, but I had no idea…

  7. We used to have an intercom system in my house.
    My sister ran into when we were kids and we heard the sounds of coyotes dying ringing through the entire house.
    Unfortunately, it was the parentals being carnal.
    I never saw them do it, but the audio rings in my head today.
    At 40 years old, I still have nightmares.

  8. Aunt B,

    I feel your pain here. I once walked in on my parents when I was about 13 and got home early from football practice. I will never lose the sight of my mom and dad, doggie style on the bed, and my dad jumping up with a bright blue condom on…not sure what the condom thing was about, I thought one of them were fixed by that point…anyway…too much thinking about this now, must go floss my brain!!!!!!

  9. This is nothing. We would go on vacation and the whole family would stay in 1 hotel room. 2 double beds. Yeah. They’d have sex. Right there. My sister and I would lie awake all night staring unblinking at the ceiling repressing. Repressing. Repressing those long long long nights of horror.

    I mean, who DOES that?

  10. Oh, good lord, Plimco. I’d heard that story, but blocked it from my memory. I feel like I should send your sisters an email and warn them not to read this post. You win, though. Clearly, most traumatic.

  11. Yeah, that F’d up.

    You trumped mine. My bedroom was directly above the folks’ bedroom, so I could cleaarly hear everything through the heating vent. Thankfully, I never had to endure the visual.

    I figure I’m screwed up by it in some way.

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