Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The open road

On Sunday morning, my son Xerxes and I loaded up the mommyvan and struck out in the direction of Atlanta. We had tickets to see Elvis Costello Sunday night. Actually, we had three tickets, and JC was supposed to come too. This was my Christmas present and his birthday present rolled into one. But because he teaches children, and becuase those children were scheduled to endure a statewide standardized test on Monday morning, he wasn't allowed to go. No child left behind, and all that. So 16-year-old Xerxes and I went on our own and met with JC's sister K who lives in Atlanta. The show was amazing. EC rocked the Tabernacle for 2.5 hours, proving that some people must be genetically programmed for performance. We got tired just standing up that long. For Xerxes, this was not a chance-of-a-lifetime experience. It was a matter of keeping Mom company on a trip to see the old guy whose music we play too much of. Before the show started, there were several balding, grey-haired ropadies rushing about the stage, and Xerxes pointed to each of them and said, "There he is." Of course, now that he has seen EC in action, he's a straight-up convert. He talked all the way home about how good the show was - how much he liked this or that song, how incredible Steve Nieve is, how funny the self-conscious 30-something crowd was. Did you hear that? He TALKED all the way home. And he talked all the way up there. And he did a lot of talking while we were there. Sure, his conversation was somewhat lubricated by the act of shopping for things of his interest. We went to the Junkman's Daughter and bought him some special soap for washing dreadlocks. (Who knew?) We had such a good time together. We talked about his dream life. We talked about crazy families. We talked about music and his friends and his hilarious wood shop teacher. "You know what I like to see? Boxes and birdhouses." My tip of the day for parents of sometimes-surly teens: Load up the mommyvan and take a road trip. Just one parent at a time. Buy your kid some dreadlock soap, or a new nosering, or whatever it is your sometimes-surly teen values. Let him see you dance like Edie Brickell. Get a slice of pizza in Little 5 Points. Let him talk about a bunch of stuff you ordinarily wouldn't care about - like the way Colin likes to drive Libby crazy by crossing his eyes or the technical nuances of longboarding down certain slopes at the neighborhood park. Get to know the person he is, and forget for a couple days that he's the person who ignores homework, nipped into the Funeral Whiskey and needs four increasingly irate reminders to feed the hamsters he BEGGED for. You won't be sorry.


Blogger PPB said...

so cool.

7:48 AM  

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