By Kristan Braziel of Bring Mommy A Martini
Downtown Austin traffic was brought to a punishing halt during rush hour late last week when a woman stopped her car in the middle of the highway, causing delays in excess of two hours, in some cases.
Sharon Madrigal, a suburban mother of two, drives her son into Austin — a sometimes grueling traffic commute upwards of an hour, each way — three days each week for hockey practice.
“I usually hand my son his device and earbuds the second he gets into the car so he doesn’t distract me from driving,” she said. “I’ve always been able to tune him out completely. But this ‘Would You Rather?’ game? I can’t escape it. He won’t let me escape it. He forces me to decide.”
Madrigal, who had been in the stop-and-go of early traffic build-up, became so consumed with the “Would You Rather” options given by her son, she admits she became paralyzed and simply could not move her foot off the brake pedal.
“It was more than that, though,” Madrigal continued, “I had tunnel vision. I didn’t even remember I was behind the wheel, and certainly didn’t notice the traffic piling up behind me and honking. For the life of me, I just could not decide which of my son’s options I would rather experience.”
This isn’t the first time this has happened. Last month in Santa Monica, a woman held up the checkout line in her neighborhood market. She was unable to move forward because of the sheer consequences offered for each of the hypothetical situations offered by her 10-year-old son.
“It’s a growing phenomenon we’re seeing among parents — not just moms, but dads, too — of pre-teens demanding their parents choose between seemingly innocuous hypothetical scenarios, like, “Would you rather be boiled like a goose, or used as a human slingshot?” explained Dr. Eli Whittingly, Professor of Social Interventions at Stanford University.
“The choices these children are giving their parents are so complex, so distressing, a decision can’t possibly be made,” Whittingly continued. “And they lose sight of what they’re doing; they go into a type of trance and then, ultimately, lose their executive functions, causing them to stop dead in their tracks.”
Madrigal is expected in court later this week, alongside her son, who was cited and will be tried as an adult for forcing his mother to participate in the game of “Would You Rather” against her will, and while she was operating heavy machinery.
About the Author
Kristan Braziel is the blogger behind Bring Mommy A Martini: a funny blog about family, travel, home decor, and DIYs for people OK with loose instructions and a few F-bombs. Not afraid to make a fool out of herself for a laugh, Braziel shares her counter-intuitive approach at dealing with life’s messy moments. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes troubling, but always honest, her posts will have you laughing and crying and nodding as you think, “Oh sweet fancy Moses, it’s not just me.” You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @kristanbraziel.