Archive for April, 2007

Prom Drama

April 12, 2007

Tonight B asked me if he could go to the prom of an area high school (not his).

“Are you invited?” I asked.


“Who would you be going with?”

Friend of a friend–that kind of thing. The prom was still six weeks away. Initially I saw no problem.

“Thing is…” B continued, “there’s more to it than just the dance.”

I braced myself. ‘Like what?” I asked.

“Well, basically, spending the weekend down at the Jersey shore.”

I had heard about these crazy, out of town prom weekends. I always wondered what kind of careless, irresponsible, self-absorbed, new-age, crack-addicted parents would let their kids go trotting off on such a bacchanal. Now I was being asked to become one of those parents.

O, how I pine for simpler days.

I pressed B for more details. He had nothing. A dance and a weekend at the Jersey shore. I told him I couldn’t agree to anything without a wee bit more information.

He failed to see the reason in my request, and informed me of this in a rather volcanic manner. What kind of information, he wanted to know.

Little things, I told him, like will there be adult supervision? Where, exactly, would you be staying? Who’s going? How will you get there? When would you leave? When would you come back?

It was about this time that the phone rang. It was S, B’s friend and co-conspirator (B would be dating a friend of S’s girlfriend).

“I don’t know,” B said into the phone. “He’s still thinking about it. I’ll call you back. Wait a minute! Will there be adult supervision? Okay. Later.”

B turned to me. “There’ll be adult supervision.”

I told B I was sorry, but I would need more than the assurances of another 17-year-old boy. I would need to speak to an adult.

This brought volcanic accusations of being over-protective. I tried to explain that as his parent, I am responsible for B’s health, well-being and development as a young man, and I wasn’t totally sure how a hormone and alcohol-steeped weekend at the Jersey shore would contribute to that.

The eruptions became more severe.

I was becoming borderline volcanic myself, so I disengaged from B before the entire block suffered a meltdown.

I took a walk around the block to collect my thoughts. When I returned B was sulking, but that was better than exploding.

Hours later, when things had settled a bit, I told B I wasn’t shutting down his possible making the trip, but I was still insisting on speaking to an adult who was directly involved with the situation.

I’m not crazy, am I?

To be continued.


From The Department of Silver Lining

April 12, 2007

While recently thinking about the potentially disastrous consequences of global warming, I had a small epiphany. If sea levels were to rise to the degree some scientists are predicting, it would undoubtedly submerge the Palisades Center Mall–a disappointment for my 17-year-old son B., but a victory for the rest of civilization.

Scotland, Fermented

April 12, 2007

Has it really been six weeks since B and I returned from Scotland? Of course it has! That was a rhetorical question. I don’t honestly expect you, dear reader, to keep track of my various comings and goings. Anyway…

I wanted to give my Scottish adventure a little time to ferment before making this entry. It has, so here goes.

This trip to Scotland was different from my previous two in a number of ways. First and foremost, I was traveling with B, my 17-year-old son. It had been several years since the two of us had traveled together, and it was his first true overseas trip.

B. kept a small digital camera in his pocket (as did I), and it was interesting to see what he determined to be photo-worthy: cityscape views from Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, Loch Lomond and its surrounding Highland hills (a day trip), and the various pubs we visited. I tried to feed him morsels of Scottish history here and there–especially those relating to Clan Stewart, which he accepted with minimal annoyance. I think B really benefited from our being able to spend some time with my Scottish friends Bill and Ewan. It gave him a personal connection to a foreign place. Hanging out with them helped me relax and feel more at home, too.

The entire visit felt more personal than my previous ones had. I think that has a lot to do with staying in one place the whole time (Edinburgh), as opposed to touring about the country as I’d done in the past (not that that doesn’t have its own merits). By the end of our stay, I felt extremely comfortable in Edinburgh. So did B. He wanted to wander around on his own a bit, and I was fine letting him.

As usual, I enjoyed many conversations with various shopkeepers, bartenders and my fellow pub patrons. But this time, the conversations felt more leisurely, more relaxed. Maybe it was because it wasn’t summer–the tourist season. More likely, it was just me feeling more at ease. I am forever amazed at how genuinely accommodating the Scots are, and while every visit feels personal, this one felt even more so.

B is anxious to return to Scotland (he wants to see Glasgow next), and, of course, so am I. (I’m pretty sure there are still a few beers I haven’t tried.) I’m sure I’ll have some more well-fermented observations to make on our trip. Stay tuned.

At Loch Lomond