Monday, February 16, 2009

Random Acts of Humor

And I soooo needed it, at the time. Remembering it makes me smile, too, which helps all over again.

Here's what happened. Son and I are sitting at a light. We're heading home. We're listening to music and not talking. We're not mad or anything. Just tired. I'm really worn out lately, but I'll explain in a moment. All that matters is that I was sitting there and feeling the pressure of recent problems.

An older man in a large truck pulls up beside me and starts signaling for me to roll down my window. Oh great, I thought. I must have a flat tired or someone hanging out the back or some such. Perfect.

"Can you tell me why," the man is yelling across to us, "the watermelon and the honeydew had to have a big church wedding?"

I glanced at Son, who looked perplexed. He thought the man needed directions. I smiled and hollered back. "No, why?"

"They can't elope!" he said. "Get it? 'Cantaloupe'!"

I laughed, big and loud.

"I know, it's corny!" he hollered, as he drove away.

We laughed all the way home. And we really needed it. God bless that man and his courage to tell a silly joke to a stranger.

So, here's why I needed it. In a nutshell, Ranger's job is going south and so is Son's relationship with Drama Queen. One thing at a time....

First, Ranger's job. His bosses are in trouble. They've been audited by the Postal Service and, across their five mailing centers, they are missing $10,000 in inventory. At Ranger's location, he's the expendable one. So, the job hunt is on, in a market flooded by those laid off by Circuit City and other closings. Pray, please.

Second is Son's situation. The night before the Random Act of Humor, I was trying to register Son for the SAT. I needed his username for the College Board site to do it, though. Son couldn't remember it, either. So, I told it to send us the username, which goes to Son's email address. It said we should have it in 20 minutes, so I told Son and asked that he give it to me as soon as he got the email. We were in the last hour before the registration deadline.

Twenty minutes goes by. Thirty. I hear Son on the phone with his gamer friends. He's not going to check that stupid email, I thought, fuming. Okay, fine. I have the password (this is a rule with my kids). I'll get it myself.

I got into the email, and I got the password. Something else caught my eye, though. A long, long list of PictureMails from Drama Queen's phone, dated over the last week.

I finished the SAT registration and snagged one of the PictureMails. Oh. My. God. Three dozen (yup, 36!) self-portraits of various parts of a naked Drama Queen, most involving the use of sex toys.

She's sixteen. At sixteen, do you know what I knew about sex toys? Nothing. Much less owning them.

Oh. My. God.

It made my head hum. And not in a good way.

I ate dinner in silence. After it was all cleaned up, I told Son we needed to talk privately.

"I had to go get the username myself," I said. "What else do you think I saw?"

"Oh," he said. "Uhm....PictureMail."

"Yeah. Three dozen of them."

He nodded, looking down. You could see it in his face. No sense denying it this time.

"Whose idea was it to take those?"

"Both. Things have been rocky lately," he said. No kidding there. She hadn't been over to our house in two weeks. "We thought it might fix things."

"Son," I said, staying remarkably calm. "Do you understand that sex doesn't fix anything?"

"We haven't had sex," he said. "Well, not for a long time."

There you have it. The first time he's admitted it to me. Her dad was right.

I kept it from my face and said, "These are sex pictures, Son. You know what I'm saying to you. Nothing sexual fixes a relationship. Unless that relationship is based on sex. And that's not the foundation for something you want to last the rest of your life. I mean, what do you have when you can't have sex?"

He looked at me.

"Oh, yes, dear. Believe it. There will be times when you can't have sex. Your relationship has to have something else to it, or you've got nothing when the sex is gone. That's a flimsy foundation."

He frowned, but didn't look surprised. I saw it - this lesson is being learned. He didn't want to say it, but it was hanging in the air. He and Drama Queen got a charge from the sexual stuff, but when that waned, they had nothing else. He knew the futility of his situation.

"Sweetheart," I said. "Think about this. If this is what you think of to 'fix' a relationship, is it worth fixing?"

We finished talking. I sat there alone and thought for a moment. Then, I called DQ's mother.

I told her the whole story. I told her about the pictures of her daughter I'd just seen. All 36 of them. I told her about the sex toys. I was blunt. I don't tiptoe around the terms; I communicated the nature of the pictures clearly.

"Uh-huh," she said. I kept in mind that I was talking to the woman who has recently been pushing her young daughter to get one of two things. Her choice, but it must be a navel piercing or a tattoo. Pushing. Seriously.

I told her I was worried about DQ. "Here's what worries me," I said. "Son said they thought this would 'fix things.' I don't want DQ to think this is her worth in a relationship. She's very talented. She's very intelligent. She's much more than this. I don't want her to think that's all she has to offer, to make her worthwhile to a guy."

Her mother agreed and said they'd talk. I don't know the outcome.

On Saturday, I took him shopping for Valentine's Day and DQ's birthday (also this week). It was telling that all of his grand ideas of a month ago have been pushed aside for, "How little can I spend on this?" The child has about $400 in the bank. His previous ideas ran about $50.

He spent $6 on Valentine's and $8 on birthday. And even that seemed to hurt a little. He left them in their plastic shopping bags to give them to her, too. I pulled the price tags off.

She painted an egg-shaped canvas of a dolphin with an iPod for him. Odd, but he seemed to understand it, even if he wasn't particularly "moved" by it.

DQ didn't come over on Valentine's Day. Son said she had to be home by 7:00 that night, so she'd come over on Sunday instead. Personally, I suspect that DQ has something else going on. A friend told Son that she saw DQ at the mall with another guy. Then, having to be home early on Valentine's Day instead of with her boyfriend? Sounds like another date. In my humble opinion.

I picked her up on Sunday. On the way to our house, I asked her when she needed to be home. Son said they were planning to watch the second "Lord of the Rings" movie. "A decent time," she said. Okay, that gave enough time for the movie.

We ate dinner and were about to get started on the evening, when the doorbell rang. It was DQ's mother, coming to pick her up. It was barely 6:00. WTF?!?! DQ wasn't surprised that it was time to go. Son wasn't surprised. I repeat, WTF?!?!

Something smells fishy. It's become the elephant in the room. A fishy elephant.

In the eye of the storm is me and Ranger. I took a day off of work, slipped into something soft, and cuddled up in Ranger's bed. He applied for jobs online. I dozed. We watched junk TV. We made love. I lingered in my cocoon until time to go home, and start the insanity again.

For Valentine's, I got a big Whitman's sampler and an evening to watch that movie about that other Jones's Diary. He said I'm cuter than her. Gotta love that.


e jerry said...

DQ does know that sexting can get her arrested for distributing child porn, right?

Kids these days scare me.

Blogget Jones said...

I sent an article about that to Son's email address. I hope he passed it on!

You know, if she got mad at him, he could be in huge trouble for having those pics....