Thursday, August 29, 2013

This Or That?

I'm a notoriously bad sleeper. If there is any iota of stress in my life (and, believe me, there always is and it's always significantly more than an iota, whatever an iota is), I wake up and worry. 

2:00 am, 3:00 am, 4:00 am.

"Go back to sleep ..." my husband has been known to chant. "Worrying won't help."

As if recognizing that oh-so-obvious fact makes an iota of difference. As if.

At any rate, this morning I rose before dawn and went up to my office to get some work done. Pretty much business as usual, except that I had a good reason that even my well-meaning (if annoyingly sound-sleeping) spouse couldn't argue with. I had to get things done because at 8:45, I'd be putting on yet another of the many hats moms everywhere wear.

Wife. Mother. Advertising Executive. Writer ...


Somehow or other, I had once again been volunteered (convinced? coerced? drafted?) into driving my teenage daughter and her friends to Canobie Lake, an amusement park in southern New Hampshire. (Uh-oh. Does this mean I was transporting minors across state lines? Maybe I need permission slips or something. I should probably check next time.)

The kids were looking at the day as summer's final fling. I was looking at it as yet another task on my already filled-to-the-brim calendar. I also, nearly sixteen years into this mom thing, always imagine that these acts of selflessness will win me favor with my child. And they do. For like an hour. Or until the next time she "needs, wants, can't live without" something that I have to say "No" to.

But, I digress.

Right on time, we trawled around town, picking up her sleepy friends: another girl and two boys (but "Ohmigod, Mom. They're not boyfriends!"). Then, we were on our way. They were all very polite and actually expressed some appreciation. And I thought, "I love these kids."

Soon they seemed to forget I was even in the car. This gave me an excellent opportunity to eavesdrop and collect anecdotes for you, dear reader.

Early on, we saw a bicyclist struggling ahead of us. The poor man was a bit overweight (and a bit big for the bike). As we got closer, we realized that he was a police officer. This was just too much for my passengers.

"Oh, dude! Poor guy."

"Being a bike cop would suck."

"How would he ever catch anyone?"

"What if he does? Like, 'Hey, you're under arrest. Get in the basket, please.'"

Needless to say, the bike cop humor cracked everyone up and continued for at least a few more miles after we passed the unfortunate fellow.

On the highway, my daughter's friend read from a page of teen posts on Tumblr. Some were silly. Some were clever. Most of them were a blend of silly and clever:

"Forever 21 clothes are cute! Too bad you can only wear them twice before they get ruined in the washer."

"It's ridiculous that celebrities can spend a year of my college tuition on like, a necklace like it's nothing and I can't afford a taco."

"Legend has it the "M" in MTV once stood for music."

"Yeah, dating is cool, but have you ever had stuffed crust pizza."

Some bright young bulb had even Tumblred (or is that "tumbled?"):

"Here's to the kids who know the difference between they're, there and their."

I certainly appreciated that one. My own group not only got it and laughed, but immediately began to debate that it's and its are misleading because the possessive of it should actually have an apostrophe. And I thought, "I love these kids."

Next up was the "either/or" game. Someone offered a choice and the others responded. There wasn't much of a pattern, but here's what I remember:

"Concrete or Brick?"

"Walrus or Penguin?"

"Monkey or Penguin?"

"Bieber or One Direction?"

"Peanut Butter or Nutella?"

Then, the either/or got a little more complicated and — shall we say — adult:

"Would you rather wake up naked next to Burger King who says, 'You had it your way,' or wake up naked next to Ronald McDonald who says, 'You were lovin' it.'"

As they snickered and prepared to answer, I interrupted ...

"People, you seem to have forgotten that there's an old person in the car."

"Where?" asked my daughter's friends.

And I thought, "I love these kids."

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