In Preparation

(Scene opens in dinning room, ridiculous piles of school supplies everywhere, fast sort begins)

Grade School Pile: ALL THE THINGS! YOU MUST STOCK UP FOR THE APOCALYPSE! THERE IS NO HOPE OF EVER FINDING ANOTHER PENCIL PAST THE START OF SCHOOL! IF YOU ARE NOT TRIPLE STOCKED NOW YOU WILL NEVER GRADUATE AND IT WILL GO ON YOUR PERMANENT RECORD! YOU WILL BE JUDGED ON THE TYPE OF CRAYONS YOU GET AND YOUR FOLDERS NEED TO BE SPECIFIC COLORS THAT NO ONE CARRIES! ALSO ANTI-BIOTIC EVERYTHING BECAUSE OF REASONS!

Middle School Pile: Overly organized and oversized binders that you will never use. Start to flirt with college ruled. Adult calculator but your scissors are still safety. More pencils than grade school, half the markers. Do kids not use pens any more?

High School Pile: Got a folder? A pencil? Cool. Here’s your locker combo. Good luck.

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O+

(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.

Doc, can you help me?

(scene opens in ophthalmology exam room)

Doc: (clicks on the eye chart) Can you read those letters?
Gamma: Nope. I need glasses

(repeat through four different lines of various sizes)

Doc: (studies clipboard) Has she been complaining of not being able to see the chalkboard?
Me: Not really. She came home about two weeks ago and claimed to have failed both vision and hearing test, but the school never sent home anything or called me for a retest.
Gamma: I need glasses.
Doc: (winks at mother) Well, let me try something. (pulls out a pair of ophthalmology glasses, removes lenses, settles them on Gamma’s face) Is that better?
Gamma: It is! (reads four lines perfectly at 20/20)
Doc: That’s what I thought. See you guys in a year.
Me: Thank you, Doctor.

The jig, as they say

(scene opens, one line in montage flashback)

Alpha: I wish I was an only child!

(scene cuts to sunny driveway)

Me: (waves goodbye to Grandma P and an excited Beta in shotgun)
Alpha: (gloomy alongside)
Me: You okay, Alpha?
Alpha: Beta will be gone all week?
Me: Yep.
Alpha: (kicks rocks) I don’t know how I’m going to sleep tonight without Beta to talk to. (turns, goes back into house)
Husband: (watches him go) Huh.
Me: Shocker.

Don’t Be That Guy

(scene opens in sewing room sweatshop, violin practice off screen)

Alpha: How was that? Am I all done?
Me: (puts down bodice) I think you could play a little bit longer, but it sounds good. I have to talk to you about something.
Alpha: (approaches hesitantly)
Me: Have you talked to Girlfriend recently?
Alpha: (wary brave face) Yeah. A couple of times.
Me: (tactfully lets it pass) We need to discuss the “Care and Feeding of the Girlfriend”. They’re not like houseplants where you talk to them once a month and everything is fine. Put your violin away then go upstairs and call her. You don’t have to plan anything, we’re probably busy this weekend, maybe you can meet at the park on Monday, but just tell her “Hey, thinking of you, wanted to see how things were going over your summer.”
Alpha: (tension ratchets down) You think so? Okay! (volin snaps into place, pounding upstairs offscreen)
Me: (licks finger, hash marks the air for a win)

It’s just her attitude

(scene opens in a sound dampening cubical, the atmosphere weirdly and institutionally oppressive)

Gamma: (delightedly sits in her own soundproof booth, grinning through the viewing window)
Doc: (puts on her own headphones) Okay, Gamma, when you hear a beep, you raise your hand, okay?
Gamma: (nod behind the thick glass, gives a thumbs up)
Doc: (fiddles with buttons, dials, and levers, frown deepening) Gamma? Can you repeat my words? Airplane.
Gamma: (tinny voice over the speaker) No.
Doc: Cupcake.
Gamma: No.
Doc: Birthday. Book. Dog.
Gamma: No. No. No. I have a hearing problem, don’t you get it? It’s why I didn’t raise my hand when it beeped!
Doc: (turns off microphone, holds clipboard before face, starts to laugh) “Its why I didn’t raise my hand when it beeped!” What a card!
Me: (hides face in shame) I have two more at home just like her.
Doc: (looks at a confused Delta in the stroller, starts laughing harder) Her hearing is fine, just in case you were worried.

Parenting Safety Paradox

I can’t drop the 5 yr old off at the door to preschool, she might get kidnapped before she gets to classroom. I can’t leave the 7 month old in the car, he might get carjacked in the ten minutes it takes to escort the 5 yr old to her classroom. I can, however, take both children across an icy treacherous windswept parking lot in sub-zero temperatures risking frostbite, cracked skulls, and getting run over. People have no reasonable levels of threat assessment.