Follow Up

(scene opens in foyar)

Me: (handing Alpha his scarf) Try to have a good day at school. Remember, if anyone asks you if you have any wishes today, go for something mundane like “can fly” or “turn invisible”.
Alpha: That’s boring.
Me: I know. But it won’t freak your teachers out. Maybe say “I want to be the Silver Surfer and fly through space” or “I want a TARDIS so I can travel time and space.”
Alpha: (deep sigh) I don’t want to have to spend my life saving the world.
Me: It’d be worth having a TARDIS. Anything more esoteric and your teachers aren’t going to understand.
Alpha: No one understands me.
Me: I know honey. Being weird is hard.


Threat Assessment Level

(scene opens in kitchen, ringing phone)

Me: Please don’t be Alpha’s school. Please don’t be Alpha’s School.

(close up on caller ID, Alpha’s school)

Me: (resigned) Hello?
Case Worker: (prim judgemental voice) Hello, it’s Alpha’s case worker. His teacher sent him to me for inappropriateness. I have him on speaker phone. He was supposed write down his three wishes as part of a class project. Go ahead and read them, Alpha.
Alpha: Hi mom.
Me: (worried) Go ahead, Alpha.
Alpha: My three wishes: Control over all sentient life on the planet, Fallout 4, to be able to control Death.
Me: (starts laughing) Well, I understand what you were going for in context, but perhaps you didn’t explain yourself well enough for the teacher. You need to work on your literary expression.
Alpha: I tried to. I tried to explain that there’s so much bad in the world that wouldn’t it be good to be able to summon Death and just have the bad guys poof into ash?
Me: Probably, but until you can use more expressive language in explaining your thoughts and ideas, you’re going to get in trouble for them.
Case Worker: (much different tone) Well, okay Ms. Carrot, I just thought you should know what’s going on in class and I get what Alpha’s trying to say. Just so many crazy things going on in the world right now, I just thought you should be kept informed. I’ll send him back to class.
Me: Thank you.
Alpha: Bye mom!
Me: Behave yourself.

You don’t want my solution

(scene opens in dim basement, outraged howling)

Me: (stepping over laundry baskets) What’s going on?
Beta: (dramatic) I don’t want to watch this!
Me: (looks to Gamma’s smug grin to Mother Goose Rhymes singing from TV) You’re not supposed to be watching, you’re supposed to be folding laundry.
Beta: (drama intensifies) That’s it, I’m going upstairs to wait. (stands up)
Me: Sit back down. Here, I’ll make it easier for you. (takes arm chair, turns back to tv, puts unfolded laundry in front of it) Here. Sit. No longer watching tv shows you can’t stand, you can focus on your single basket of laundry that has taken the last half hour for you not to fold. If you were truly motivated, you’d have it done before the second verse of Mary Had a Little Lamb.
Beta: (throws self into chair, goes limp, sobs pathetically, picks up t-shirt with two limp fingers, holds to face to mask suffering)

Being Helpy

(scene opens at tossed dining room)

Me: (absently eating a bowl of diced chicken while reading)
Delta: Mommy, I want. (pulls on bowl)
Me: Okay. (holds bowl down for him to take a piece)
Delta: No mommy. I want. (pulls bowl)
Me: (considers last five pieces) Okay, you can have it.
Delta: Thank you. (wanders off)

(Off screen, the sound of the garbage lit)

Me: Delta! Did you just throw away my lunch?!
Delta: (proudly) I help! (puts dirty bowl back in the cabinet)

Don’t Cross the Streams

(scene opens in a narrow mud room)

Me: Alpha, I wanted to show you what I got and I hope I don’t embarrass you too much wearing it.
Alpha: (looks up from tying shoes to see mother in a Starfleet Letterman hoodie) Nice.
Me: Am I cool?
Alpha: Nerdy cool.
Gamma: What does that say?! (points to patch)
Me: Starfleet Academy. Ex Astris, Scientia. “From the stars, knowledge”.
Gamma: Can I go! I want to go too! I want to go to the Starfleet!
Me: (hugs her) I’m sorry sweetie, it doesn’t exist. Yet.
Gamma: (outraged look of betrayal) Why not!
Me: We haven’t met the Vulcans or developed the Warp Drive yet.
Gamma: What’s Warp Drive?
Me: A way to travel through space in less time.
Gamma: Time and space? Like Dr. Who? Or is that Dr. Strange?
Me: No. Starfleet travels through space, Dr. Who travels through time and space, and Dr. Strange is just magic.

Taken on faith

(scene opens up in tossed dining room, everyone on laptops)

Beta: (sounds of frustration) That doesn’t make sense!
Me: (getting up from chair) What’s the problem?
Beta: I’m doing powers and it keeps telling me I’m wrong! Six to the power of zero! It isn’t six or zero, so what is it?!? Khan Academy is broken!
Me: (stares at screen, recalls distant memory, types, computer makes victory noise)
Beta: (outraged) A one?!? How is six to the zero power a one?!
Me: I don’t remember why it is, it just is. (sits back down)
Alpha: Math is stupid.
Me: Math is the Universal Language, but sometimes language doesn’t make sense.


(scene opens in cluttered kitchen, Alpha struggling with the back door)

Me: (confused, looks over his shoulder) Oh, thanks for bringing in the garbage cans. Your sister was supposed to do that.
Alpha: (stands in doorway, exhausted) I don’t think I want to do my service hours tonight for Scouts.
Me: Are you getting sick?
Alpha: No. (pause) We watched a movie about Anne Frank and it showed what happened to her after she got sent to the camps.
Me: (compassionate smothering mom hug) People are evil. Our great goal in life is to not be evil. And to stop other people’s evil.
Delta: (awkward toddler run, hands Alpha a lollipop)
Alpha: (takes lolly, rubs Delta’s head)

Mom Joke

(scene opens in kitchen, packed with family doing a clean)

Alpha: (bags garbage)
Beta: (bags recycling)
Me: (wiping chairs)
Husband: (supervising)
Beta: Should I take this recycling out?
Me: Yes. Take it around town. Take it to a good movie. Maybe a nice dinner.
Beta: Wut?
Husband: I love you so much right now.

The Music Speaks to Them

(scene opens in chaotic mudroom)

Me: Ohmigod, its going to be 50 today (starts stripping Gamma of arctic layers)
Alpha: Maaaam!
Me: (sighs) What?
Alpha: Beta turned the song into a gothic rock song!
Me: What? What song?
Beta: No I didn’t!
Alpha: He did!
Me: (exasperated) Beta, what song?
Beta: (summoning a voice from the gravel pit) Mary had a little Lamb! She cooked it until it was no more!
Me: Oh, that’s not gothic rock. Might be a little more Viking Death Metal. And that’s okay.
Alpha: (disappointed)
Beta: (preens)


(scene opens in early morning kitchen, everyone in pjs)

Husband: Did you have fun on your trip yesterday?
Me: (fumbles tiredly with coffee cup) Oh yeah. We had a blast. Everyone was disappointed we weren’t spending the night, but I feel like I passed a test with all these road trips I’m suddenly being invited along on.
Husband: (sips tea) Oh yeah?
Me: Maybe I’m easy to travel with? I don’t have any feeding restrictions. I can sleep anywhere. I have no conversational filters and have limited hot button issues. I’m always up for an interesting side trip. I can tolerate a wide range of music.
Husband: (mildly) You are good at putting up with being annoyed.
Me: (ignoring implications) Oh, that reminds me. Pregnant Friend told me I’m #2 on her speed dial for when she needs back up on going into labor. Apparently husband faints at the sight of blood and not am I the only one she knows who’s done it a few times, but she’s betting I’m perfectly fine with casual random nudity.
Husband: You’re like the Universal Donor of Friendship.

Karma she is

(scene opens in dim dining room, argument in process)

Me: (exhausted) Now what’s going on?
Beta: (from behind a protective wall of cereal boxes) She never shuts up! She just talks all the time! Doesn’t she understand no one wants to listen to her non-stop talking?
Gamma: (looks heartbroken)
Me: (sips coffee, without inflection) You’re right. Its totally awful to have to put up with someone who won’t stop talking about something you have no interest in. Worse when you tell them to be quiet and they won’t. (sips coffee again)
Beta: (scowls above the cereal boxes)
Me: Beta, I’m pretty sure the Gods sent me Sera so that way you could better understand what you’re like and what the rest of us have to go through. She’s your mirror. In Girl Form.
Beta: (slinks into a pout)
Gamma: (raises arms) Yay Girl Form!

Someone reminded me what I once said

I wrote this January 2, 2016 – before I caught up with new-fangled things like blogs and Twitter – so I’m pushing it on in case someone finds something useful in it.

Dear Millennials and Younger,

I believe in you.

I know, I’m taking a different route than the endless “What’s Wrong With America/Kids These Days….” I didn’t/don’t much like it when Boomers say it to me, so I’m not going to say it to you. You are the product of the younger Boomers/older Gen-Xers and “kids my age” are already talking shit about you guys as if we were the ones storming beaches at Normandy and you’re pinko commies because you dare read FB while riding the bus. I used to read books on the bus and hated it when some stranger thought they could talk to me. Don’t believe the meme-y bullshit that not talking to your seat partner is bringing the decline of civilization. Utter and complete bullshit.

Yeah, ok, you have the internet and better video games than we did at any age you want to compare to, but I also had it better than my parents than I did at whatever age.

For example?

None of us ever lost a classmate to polio or measles. We had Mtv. Hell, we had tv. We had the start of mobile phones, so it didn’t matter if they weighed a ton and came in their own tote bag. You just have way better/cheaper versions.
You guys live in a future that I could only dream about. Nothing in the cut-rate science fiction I loved was ever going to come true. Not in my life time. It hurt knowing that. But now I can watch new Dr. Who episodes on my Star Trek-like communicator device. I can sit in my yard with a computer that weighs as much as my shoe and catch up with friends I’ve not physically seen in 20 years and talk to friends on the other side of the world. In real time. Without a long distance phone bill. Do we even have a long distance charges any more, or are they just now “roaming”?

I cried the day I saw a picture of a sunrise from the surface of Mars.

Of Mars.

Do you have any idea how fucking amazing that is to someone who thought we’d never see the surface in my lifetime?

I live in the fucking future and everyone who’s hit middle age who can’t see that over bitching about how awful you guys are are narrow minded old-before-their-time miserly scared-of-the-dark fearful curmudgeons that, quite simply, embarrass me. Go ahead and be embarrassed of them and dismiss them for giving up. For being afraid. After all the bitching we got from those that came before, you think we would have learned something. Learned how to be better, learned how new isn’t automatically the worst thing ever. Seriously, older generations have been bitching about the younger since the Roman Empire (documentable) and likely before. If we never had evolved and “did something new” then only unlettered barbarians would be wearing pants and “real men” would be rocking the office toga. Take that as a simple “Don’t learn history, doomed to repeat” example.

And go ahead and rock that office toga if you want.

I’m sure there’s some stuff that you do that mystifies me. I’m sure you’ll be doing something that I hate. Your music will supplant mine. Your culture will supplant mine. Your fashion will supplant mine. It is a reminder that all my generation will pass away. That once we were important and once we had power and once we had influence. The Greatests didn’t like it, the Boomers still don’t like it, we are now getting a taste of it, and one day you too will hate what the next wave will be. You can give up and insist that the “best music ever” just happened to be during those years you were in High School/College and you’ve never moved past it, or you can hear something new right now and like it and not only is it not selling out, but it’s not giving up on yourself.

Don’t hate them, those that are coming after you. Accept that seasons come and go and listen to new music and wear new clothes and embrace that new technology that your science fiction suggests could now be possible, understanding it’s probably already being attempted somewhere. There seems to be less of a gap between your world and your science-fiction and I envy you that. I envy you all the things that I might not live to see you experience because I am already in my 40s. It’s just not possible it’ll come fast enough.

You are the ones supplanting the Boomers, not us, and I gladly make way for you to see what you do with it. You have the numbers, you have the vision, you still have the youth and all that supposed optimism and potential that theoretically goes with it.

Give me something awesome, Millennials.

I know you can do it.