Teenagers and Circus Hoops

“Mom…MOM,” the RT rumbled yesterday morning, slinking around the corner to the kitchen in his new size 12 tennies. Do they even call them that anymore? And how can a 14-year-old have feet that big? His feel are suddenly the size of very large bricks.

“Huh? I responded, fumbling with the coffee grinder and looking at him cautiously, knowing he was going to ask for something that was going to be challenging for me with only three minutes left until carpool time. Something that may require I had to put clothes on to do. And I was already going to have to do that as the day wore on because I had a dentist appointment. Ugh. I am underwhelmed about ever going to the dentist, but they all know it and take very good care of me.

“When you get a chance today, can you go to Staples and get me a calculator?” he continued.

“What happened to the three we have? I asked patiently — well, it felt patient. Sort of.

“You mean this one?” he said, holding up an old Texas Instruments business calculator that the MoH used in college. Yes, it still works. “It doesn’t have tan, sine, or the other functions I need for math.”

“You have two of those already. Where are they? I saw you using one the other day, adding up stuff for your Warhammer game.”

“Imperial Guard,” he cut in.

“Huh? What guard?”

“You know, my game. Not Warhammer.”

“Uh…can we get back to the calculator, please? What’d you do with it?” He had that flat look he gets when his patience is being tried — like when I could never get Sun-jay’s name correct and he had to remind me every single time what the correct pronunciation of the former American Idolness‘ name was. “Sanjaya. Not Sun-jay.”

I could feel the beginnings of steam rising over this nonsense of the calculator, like it was something that really mattered — which it wasn’t. But it was an opportunity to make another point about his lovely bedroom. Dirty play by Mom sticking it to the RT again over one of his biggest challenges. “When do you need it? You don’t have a test today, do you? If your room was clean, you’d be able to find your stuff when you need it — like now. See what I mean?”

“Mom. I need it by Monday. Okay?” he said quietly before walking to get his backpack. It was time for the carpool and it was our day.

“You need to spend some time in your room today when you get home and find the calculator. It’s here. Are you going to need it in class today? Do you have a test?” I persisted because maybe it didn’t compute the first time I said it.

“Mom. No. I. Do. Not. Have. A. Test…Okay?” he said, looking right at me, and with the utmost control, as one might display when communicating with something which had little or no capacity for language. A boiled potato, maybe.

He’s such a good kid, but The Geometry Teacher’s class has been an up and down challenge all year, and this business of him being loosey-goosey about her drill sergeant tactics is getting old. He has conformed to some extent, and that actually makes me a bit sad because he has given in to someone who, in my opinion, should not be in a classroom with kids. She has sharp teeth and anti-productive hoops she’s installed for students to jump through like circus animals instead of actually teaching something. The fact that he was actually asking me to get something for him for the class was significant. It must be the excellent “B” he got on her last test that has perked him up. Her test, not his. It’s all about Her. In the past, we hadn’t found out he needed something until it was too late, and then we were forced to get out our “DORK PARENTS HERE” sign and stand under it for making it seem too challenging for the RT to ask us a simple question. Lecture avoidance technique strategy armed and ready.

Yesterday, when I was at the dentist’s office, a woman came in with her own teen-type. I think that’s what it was — a lanky sort of unhappy looking thing who had his attention glued to his cell phone. He must have been playing games on it or something, because at one point, the thing’s mom told him to turn it off, and he completely ignored her. Four times. Four. Then said, “What?” quite loudly in the small room, like she was some obnoxious creature who had slimed in from the swamp and had soiled his air space. I was dying to look at their expressions but was mortified for her and wanted to verbally wring his skinny neck myself with a terse, “Can you step outside for a minute, please?” just to see what he would do. But it was only a fleeting fantasy. To her credit, she persisted, and told him he had to turn off the cell phone because there were signs posted in the office. “Where? What sign?” he barked at her as he slid off his chair to glance over my shoulder at the sign. “That’s for when you’re back there, not here,” he finished, not looking at her. She sighed and picked up a magazine, and I carefully kept my attention on mine, even though I couldn’t see a damn thing because I’d left my glasses at home. All three pair.

The experience reminded me of just how pleasant our son is. By the time I got home from the dentist, he had found his calculator. He said it took him an hour to find it, wedged behind his bed, against the mattress and the wall. I got to hear all the colorful details of the closet and under the bed, too, where he said he spent ten whole minutes. Yes, I know. I’ve been there myself, far too many times, and for much longer.

So with the calculator tucked safely where he can find it himself next time (Yes! All children can learn!) we drove off to Friday morning at L-T-DHS, with no chance of sunshine, and a high chance of rain. But the car crew was bubbly this morning, with the princess grousing about an AP Euro exam like it was a badge of honor, and the two boys talking about the cold and a crash involving two semis being announced on the radio and hypothetically discussing what would happen if one was filled with fish and the other with chips. It’s not funny, but the RT is. His brain sees the world in comic strip form. At any moment, he breaks into dialog, or an announcement, or narration of some unseen event, reported in some accent that he’s picked up from Monty Python or somewhere. Half the time, I can’t understand him, but he clearly entertains himself. And he makes me smile every day.

So I’m off to my mom’s. You guys may have to live without me for a day because she lives in the serious sticks east of Paradise and has……Dial….Up. It should be illegal for anyone to have to suffer from a dial up connection. My sister is visiting from VA, and we have work to do on the house she hasn’t sold here yet. Anyone out there want to move to East Paradise? It has a swell pool, good schools, and a kitchen with a face lift.

On the home front, tax season is over, so the my husband is a human again. The Momolator or whatever the hell he’s calling our dog this week is happy to have him back, for obvious reasons. The Yack Star Fresh Face Prince Ass Fuzz Bag Flea Incu-Bus hasn’t graced us with a hairball in a week, and I finally completed one food blog obligation last night, with more to come this morning (or perhaps not).

A million thanks to a techie who, in response to a question I asked, put up a great post about transferring my blogs to my own domain, Thought Sparks. If you remember the laughing baby I linked in a previous post, that is courtesy of him, too. Such a nice guy!

Have a splendiferous weekend searching for something besides Sanjaya on Google. And then let me know so I can join in!





5 responses to “Teenagers and Circus Hoops”

  1. Thoroughly refreshing slice of writing!

  2. Hey Dave! Thanks. Everyone deserves a break on a Friday, right? Cheers! I’ll catch you after I return from Dial-Up Hell in East Paradise.

  3. kudos to your excellent writing that I read and enjoyed the whole thing! I’m ADD about reading blogs… usually more than 2 paragraphs is just more than I can handle. 🙂
    Have fun at your mom’s!

  4. Hi Jenny,
    Thanks — and I get the whole get through two paragraphs thing. It depends on whose blog it is and what they’re writing about. Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom! I feel famous now

    And I’m on the dial-up right now. It isn’t horrible, but would be enough to make me give up the blog thing — talk about ADD and time it takes to load pictures? Jeez Louise!

  5. […] Moss. But then you stumble upon pieces like “Complexity + Change = Simplicity,” and “Teenagers and Circus Hoops” you begin to understand that she’s a bit more complex than you may have […]

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