Monday, May 23, 2005

Just Another @#$%$# Monday...

I'm at the day job today--the real job, the one that I get the "big bucks" for instead of the intangible "rewards" offered by motherhood--and a customer asks how much a particular item is. "They're $3.50 each." It's barely out of my mouth when I realize they're actually $2.50 each so I correct myself, "They're actually $2.50." Then by way of explanation I say, "Sorry. It's Monday." So the customer is completely baffled: "You mean they cost less on Monday?" I answer, "No, I mean I'm stupid on Monday..."

Clearly this guy has never had a real Monday. In high school, I wrote an essay in my freshman writing class arguing for the abolition of Mondays--I realized the futility of that even then. Get rid of Monday and Tuesday becomes the new Monday....but still, there's got to be something we can do to soften the blow of the beginning of a new work/school week...

Perhaps that was what Son-One was thinking when he activated the emergency shower in the science lab at school today--perhaps it was just his way of providing a little amusement, a break from the humdrum regular routine. When the kids do completely incomphrehensible things, isn't it nice to delude ourselves into thinking they might have had altruistic (or at least somewhat logical) motives? Son-One shows up at the shop today, twenty minutes after school is dismissed, with a deer-in-the-headlights expression, "Did they call you?"

A conversation that starts out "did they call you?" is not going anyplace you want to visit. Then out spills the story. The horrible part is that when he said, "Mom, I turned on the emergency shower in the science room today..." my absolute first reaction was to burst out laughing. I know that's not responsible parenting, and I pulled it together (almost) immediately to give him a stern, "What could possibly have motivated you to do something so asinine?" Turns out they'd asked him that in the office, too. And, really, he has no idea at all why he did it. The best he could offer was, "Because they told me to." He knows this is no excuse, no explanation--that five guys in the class were daring one another to pull the shower lever and then in a "let's get Mikie" Life Cereal moment said, "Let's get HIM--HE'LL do it."

The fact that even he seems completely baffled that he did it, as though his hand in that moment had a mind of its own, will probably save him from truly dire consequences--like grounding until graduation. He will be responsible for the damages--limited as far as we know at this point to a few spattered books on a nearby shelf--and, as he said, "I got, like, an instant two-hour detention."

This is a child who has made it to his sophomore year without a single behavior-related complaint in school, ever. This is also a child who, until a few months ago, avoided all forms of social contact. He was computer-obsessed, shy (though he resented that word) to a fault, and turned down every invitation that came his way. Something clicked at the beginning of this year, and now the phone rings and it's for him--better yet, he actually calls people. It's probably indicative of a real mental illness on my part, but I kind of see this as a good thing--not that I want him to repeat it anytime soon--his initiation into normal adolescence. Adolescence is the time for acts of great stupidity--it's part of the maturation process, right?--and since this particular act of stupidity caused no one or thing any permanent damage, I'm mostly relieved.

Not bad for a @#$%$# Monday...

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