Yesterday in the car? A routinely benign mother/son conversation? Where I do most of the actual conversing in long rambling sentences that each end in higher registers? Thereby smacking of a maddening continual question stream simply because I'm hoping to actually engage my nine year old son...??
My nine year old son--- breaks protocol. Cuts short the usual intermittent piggy grunts that generally suffice as response. Dips his toe in the running question stream and responds:
"Yeah- I agree, Mom. Totally serious. Cereal and Silk."
He looks sideways at me.
I stop my stream mid- run-on sentence number seven and furrow my brow. Can't recall which question he's responding to. Not sure I heard him correctly.
"You agree...um... what, Truman? Can you repeat what you just said?"
He smiles knowingly. I've caught some sort of bait.
"Cereal and silk." No further explanation needed.
I sigh. "What does that mean, honey?"
"Mooo-oom. Cereal and silk? ---- Serious? --- It means serious! Duh!"
Duh. Yes. I have once again been unwittingly snared into the "Duh" trap.
"Don't you Duh me, young man. I TAUGHT you how to "Duh." -- You mean the words 'cereal and silk' which sound I suppose a little bit like the word 'serious' ...mean 'serious'?"
"It's 'Youth,' Mom. You wouldn't understand."
Translation: This is what the kids be sayin, mother dearest. You is old, old as the hills and cain't begin to be comprehendin this hee-ah younger generation.
Sigh number two. "That's not Youth, Truman. That's just kind of stupid sounding."
"My point exactly, Mom. "YOUTH" speak."
He is really self-satisfied here. In sort of a weirdly overly connected to this moment sort of way. My nine year old boy is many things, but he is not a cruel kid. He does not usually take delight in the discomfort of others, but in this tiny little moment in the car, he seems to be truly enjoying lording over me the fact that he is young, and I am not, and whether or not I groc this particular "youthful" expression, as he deems it such, isn't really the point. The point is, he has something over me -- and he knows it-- because he knows I am not such a huge fan of feeling increasingly older, out of touch, textbook middle aged melancholic ick. I like to pride myself in my (supposed) ability to still rather have a tiny finger on the pulse. Because I'm an artist - see. A writer and a musician. Not just some dumb ass middle aged white person mom. I know what the Harlem Shake is. I know Beyonce just put out her own record and accompanying videos on itunes all by her lonesome. I've seen the "President Barak" spoof video... (whined the dumb ass middle aged mom.)
So I go on the attack now.
"OK, Truman- so EXPLAIN to me- who is not a "youth" and clearly can't inherently understand-- EXPLAIN why 'cereal and silk' means serious. Other than it just sort of vaguely sounds like the word serious- but not even all that much...."
He looks a little less sure of himself. "Well- yeah. It sounds like serious."
"So that's IT- huh? Well. That doesn't make any SENSE, Truman. I mean I'm just sayin. Back in OUR day when WE were the youths, at least our colloquialisms made some sort of sense! Like we used to say when something was Serious- it was Serious As Cancer! See-- That's a thing! That was a thing- that actually makes sense."
Truman looks at me in disbelief. "That was a thing? Serious as Cancer?"
"That's terrible mom. That's really depressing. Cancer is really sad."
"Well, um - yeah. I know. But we were using it ironically, because nothing 'serious' could ever really be serious as cancer, because it doesn't get much more serious than...ah- nevermind."
Long interminable pause.
"Yeah, ok Truman. Cereal and Silk. It's growing on me now. "
He smirks. Truman- one. Mom- zero.
Old. Me-- old. I find myself thinking about and writing quite a bit about how I feel Old. Or am reminded of being Old. Older. Older than being Young. Older than I used to be when I was Young and there were other Old people around and they were not Me and Mine. Old was Them. But now Old is Us. Old Is somehow Me, and I'm forced to inhabit this weird role with my kid in the car whereby I'm the crusty dusty one gathering up sayings from a time long ago and far away which predated i-anythings and where there were only three Star Wars movies and only really rich people had portable phones and it was sort of like hauling your toaster around with you.
Well- fuck that, I say. Me and Mine may be Old, but some of us are still way fucking cool. Some of us even have some finger on the pulse- and I'm probably not hardly included in that list.
So- to that end- speaking of beloved lists: Here's a small list for nearing the end of this year. A list of some kick arse, funny, OLD people (read, chicks over the age of 25) who are keepin it real. While I chip away at my old person chick rocker mom writer curmudgeon voice, there are those out there who are far beyond my preliminary stage...and so worth a read and a look. When you have a second, check out these awesome blogs. Good for a few laughs, snorts, guffaws. Seriously. Cereal and Silk, man. Check out these ladiez. And maybe tell one or two folks about my little growing blog here. After all, we crumbly old ones need to stick together. Happy reading!
http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/ (this one may be written by an actual young person.)