Vacation… Nothing Like What I Wanted

the kids are on vacation this week. i feel like it puts my life on pause, because i have it set in my mind that we’re going to spend all this time together, and we’ll walk away from the week with the satisfaction that we had fun and did something productive, and our time wasn’t wasted. you know it doesn’t work like that. why am i always thinking of things that don’t work like that?
i swear my kids *only* look forward to being bored. it’s like their entertainment secretly comes from watching me sweat when they look at me with those dead eyes and say “i’m bored.” they expect that i will reply with a whole list of options they can choose from, to take advantage of all their free time and willful energy. and i will do that, but they will be unable to choose from that list, because there are so many logical and practical options, that they can’t even begin to think about how much work that would entail. that’s not fun. they say that, “that’s not fun.”
my daughter likes to ask me about dinner. as soon as she gets home from school, or even sometimes right after lunch. she isn’t the only one. they all do it, all three of em. they want to know what it is, and what the ingredients are, and when it’s going to be done, and how many more minutes mom are you kidding twenty minutes that’s soooooo long!!!! they have to know the details, because if they don’t, they might just have to wait until the food is in front of them, and nobody wants to find out that way.
i’m confident that, if my daughter could somehow combine the eye rolling with “what’s for dinner,” she would find a way. food might be her dominant thought these days, even when she’s not hungry. she likes schedule too, so it really makes her day when i make a meal plan for the upcoming week. that will keep her occupied (as far as the boredom) for awhile. i don’t know if she is picturing what the dinners will look like, or how good they’ll taste. i don’t even know why i do the meal plan, because i usually end up dreading whatever i’ve locked myself into. and if i try to change my mind during the week, look out…
when my son is bored, he gets incredibly awkward. he won’t tell you he’s bored, he’ll just impress a weird presence upon your situation until you ask him what’s up. go ahead, ask him. what did he say? i bet you i know exactly what he said. he said “just hangin.” because that’s what he wants you to think. he doesn’t want you to find something for him to do; he wants you to guess what it is that he has already decided he wants to do. it’s a twisted-ass mind game he likes to play, and it’s sick. he likes when you can’t guess it, because he will just sit there and breathe forcefully out of his nose until you say “computer?” and that’s definitely what he’s gunning for. but he won’t give you the victory of coming up with the correct suggestion… he’ll just say “sure.” and play it off cool. before you know it, he’s surfing seizure cartoons on youtube, and you’re saying “did i get it right?” yeah. that’s his boredom, preying upon your confusion. just let it happen.
they’re bored. my first suggestion to them is always “take a shower,” because teenagers STINK. i mean, i knew that back when i was a teen, but i never knew how vast the spectrum of stink – the stinktrum- was. i didn’t know how far down the stink rabbit hole – the stabbit nevermind – went, until a few years ago. in some weird way, you kind of justify the armpit stink, like “whew, what’s that smell?” and you sniff the armpits, and you say “it’s definitely me,” or “nope, not me.” but you don’t freak out about it. armpit stink is easily identifiable, and easily remedied. but that’s not the only game in town, is it? no. it isn’t. there’s a whole host of other stinks that you don’t notice until they’re joined together in a vicious assault on your olfactory world. is it ass? is it breath? is it hair sweat? is it feet? is it safe to breathe anymore? there are questions.
i don’t know what half of the stinks are, and i don’t wish to make anyone feel badly for smelling a little rotten, so i generalize. i say “wow, one of you is bringin the funk, and so you both have to shower.” they start blaming each other. they smell their armpits. they talk about their most recent shower. they attempt to postpone the whole ordeal of showering. now who’s thinking of things that don’t work like that?
i remember my feet stinking, when i was a kid. i didn’t like to wear socks with my sneakers, and because i was so active outside, it was pretty much the most vile thing you could ever imagine. naturally, my parents hated me for it. i think i got in worse trouble for having smelly feet, than i did for spray painting private property (multiple times). i can see their frustration, because i probably had stink lines coming off my very existence, and i didn’t give a shit about it. i’m not sure when i decided it was extremely important to be clean and smell good, but i venture to guess it jump started alongside my excessive deodorant application in my mid-teens. grunge was “in” before that, so everyone kinda smelled like a bag of dirty dishes.
i’ve forced the kids to hang out together. hooray for small accomplishments. boo for boredom, because now i have nothing to do. i’ve already taken a shower, and my kids don’t like hanging out with me apparently.

-jg