Today I passed 200,000 page views here on Red Room. FedEx showed up with balloons and a gift basket of apples and one of the first iPhone 5's, compliments from Red Room Management. A marching band came up the street. I gave a speech to a gathering crowd how Red Room is the place to be.
Okay, none of that really happened, but my cat nipped me awake. She’s darn hungry.
And 200,000 is a big number, and I’m happy to have it. After all, I’m in a mood where anything good counts. When I go shopping at Vons with my club card, and it says I saved 31% that day, I celebrate. I might break into the carrot juice in the car.
This is all in order to contrast a tsumani of teenage angst. Our daughter Ellen is about to turn fourteen, and, as we saw when our son was this age, we’re suddenly personae non gratae. We’re the Morlocks down below, the people who radiate such horror that even in the car when I drive her somewhere that she asked to go, she turns her whole body away and stares out the window.
For you who haven’t had a teenager in the house yet or have forgotten, a conversation goes something like this just before dinner:
“What would you like on your burger?” I ask.
“I said a cheeseburger,” she intones.
“What would you like on your cheeseburger?”
She tilts her head back irritated, as if I’m interrupting important thoughts such as calculating Pi to the tenth decimal, or, more likely, analyzing the subtleties of Miranda Cosgrove on iCarly having to fight another slim teenager, a character named Shelby Marx, a martial arts specialist. It’s an episode Ellen has seen at least three times. Ellen finally says, “Cheese.”
Her chin hits her chest as if this is the stupidest question she’s ever heard. She grits her teeth, “Did I say anything else?”
“I don’t appreciate the tone,” I say. “I’m just asking what you want because when it’s wrong your face scrunches up like you’ve tasted rats.”
“Just cheese, please.”
Those of you who find this as alien as talking dogs and wondered what happened to obedience and authoritarian parenting, it went the way of getting spanked by teachers in school. Starting with my generation, we wanted to have better relationships with our kids more than our parents had with us. After all, we feared our parents as they had theirs. Of course, biology still gets in the way. Teenagers have hormones flooding their system, and brain neurons fire in new and unexpected ways. Teenagers DO get overloaded.
We have to count our blessings. Ellen has wonderful friends, great grades in school, and is a fabulous player on a volleyball team, so my wife and I accept as best we can that we’re the ogres for the next half dozen years.
Thus I’m focused on enjoying the small things. For instance, my cousin was just visiting from Denver, and we drove up through Malibu, past the green lawns of Pepperdine, past the young people playing in the surf of Zuma Beach, past the pools and mansions on the shore. We ate lunch at Neptune’s Net where one can grab great fish tacos. We met some literary friends, parking ourselves at a picnic table, laughing deep into the afternoon.
I also look for good numbers in my life: 200,000!
Love this iPhone 5.
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