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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'll Need You to Rebel in an Orderly and Dignified Fashion

A full day of work -- and then yoga! -- after a long illness took the sap right outta me.  Please accept this post from February of 2012.

I’ve written of my son before: the way he paid the electric bill at the tender and mature age of four, how I saved him from a life of droopy-drawered ridiculosity.

The time I listened in on him and his cousin’s late-night cabin whisperings.

But did I tell you about the time he rebelled?

Honestly, there’s not a lot to rebel against with me. I’m a listener. There weren’t rules so much as there were firmly held suggestions (the toilet seat remains in the “down” position when not in use, Cool Whip is not a condiment, young ladies who treat your mother with disdain are not really dating material).

The Boy bandied the words “liberal” and “hippie” about as if they were bad things. Meanwhile, aside from the aforementioned electric-bill debacle, I cooked from scratch (most of the time), cleaned (quite often) and was open to anything he wanted to talk about (always).

Eventually, of course, he began to get hormonal on me.

In subtle ways, he changed. But it wasn’t until I got into his truck that I realized how much.

A truck! Let us look at this first. A truck. In Minneapolis, a lovely area with mature trees and sidewalks. While the need for a pick-up truck was not clear to me, I played along.

You want a truck? Knock yourself out.

Where were we going the first time I got into it? I tossed my purse in first, climbed up into the cab of the truck, made a remark about the height of the vehicle. He smiles proudly and we tear off down the street as I am buckling up.

“Hey there, Mario Amphetamine! We’re law-abiding people!”

He takes his foot off the gas momentarily.

“That’s more like it!” I enthuse. With the departure of the G-forces, I peel my spine off the back of the seat. Secretly fearful I will find discarded condoms or evidence of Communism, I am careful about where I look.

One doesn’t want to learn too much too soon.

Dylan clicks around on his stereo, a piece of electronics that outclasses my first three sound systems in the same way that a house is an improvement over seeking shelter in a bush.

“You’ll like this,” he says, smiling. He turns it up to levels The Who would approve of.

But I don’t. It’s a twangy, predictable slice of Country Western music that I have a particular dislike for. Raised on swing and big band, my father was also partial to Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and, so help me, Conway Twitty.

I know what Country Western music is, and this ain’t it.

I grimace and say nothing.

“Did you see my gun rack?”

I turn around. Sure enough, there it is. This is where the rifles go.

“You got a lot of use for that?” I say.

He shrugs, smiling. “Deer hunting.”

I nod. We’re very much alike, but we’re also quite different.

That’s what you get for procreating.

“I’m thinking of getting a cowboy hat,” he says.


The scales, as they say, fall from my eyes. I smile at him. “I know what you’re doing,” I say.

He turns, briefly, squints at me: Oh, yeah?

“You’re rebelling!”


“You’re rebelling! You, all rebellious with your two kinds of music – that’s right! Country AND Western! – and the hunting and the gun rack! You’re rebelling against your liberal mother!” I smile at him, secure in my interpretation.

He looks horrified.

I lean over, pinch the available cheek. “Oh, you are just so adorable! Yes, you are! Yes, you are just so adorable!”

He pulls away, shakes me off him, laughingly tells me that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

But we both know that I do.

You know? He never did get that hat.

But he never misses deer season.


Shelly said...

I was reading along feeling right at home with your descriptions of Dylan and his environment, then I realized how different they were for you! Ha! Dylan must be a little bit Texan at heart because he'd fit right in down here. Who knows, Pearlie- he might just have you in a 10 gallon before you know it...

vanilla said...

Good lad, Dylan. Even in his rebellion. Watching your boys turn into men is a wonderful thing. Wait. When does that happen? Will we live long enough?

Pearl said...

Shelly, there's a lot of that up here, not so much the cowboy boots and hats, but trucks and hunting and CW and whatnot. I was rather pleased/confused that it seemed to have sprung from him, whole and unaccounted for. :-)

Vanilla, ha! We should live so long! Actually, the boy's done a fine job of growing up. Love his girl, love their new house. He is all the things I want to see in a young man: strong, bright, questioning and analytical. I told those that would listen that all I wanted for him was that he be a good man, a good citizen. I sincerely believe he is.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh, I hope mine rebel in that way.

Pearl said...

Green Girl, you live in the country. They'll probably rebel by dying their hair blue and taking up smoking Galoise or something... :-)

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
"Dylan clicks around on his stereo, a piece of electronics that outclasses my first three sound systems in the same way that a house is an improvement over seeking shelter in a bush."

Oh dear, this bit had me in stitches - having lived in both I totally got it!! (I should mention the bush dwelling was voluntary for charity - but still..)

Daisy said...

Ha! They all have to go through that at some point, establishing their independence and all. Sounds like he turned out just fine. :-)

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

As long as he brings home the venison.

bill lisleman said...

Your reposting is like a memory test for me. I have a slight memory of this but it could have been a different truck ride. Liberals can hunt too.

Craver Vii said...

I was glad to see Yamini's comment about living in rough conditions for charity. I (voluntarily) went homeless one winter day to see if it could help me identify with their plight. I was soft, and bailed out after one difficult, sleepless night.

My dad raised us with that Old Country you mentioned... Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, etc. When I grew up, I liked the newer stuff. Garth, Shania, Brooks & Dunn.

Dylan sounds like he's doing well, and I like the way he "rebelled" without being too disrespectful.

Pearl said...

Yamini, I'm glad you liked that!

Daisy, yeah, he's a great guy. :-)

Delores, he does, and most often in the form of sausages. Yum.

bill, that's true, and a bit of an oversight on my part, really...

Craver vii, I've often imagined that the worst part of being homeless would be the sleeping part. So many of the homeless I see in Mpls looks like they haven't slept in days; and especially at this time of year...

goatman said...

Suzie Creamcheese is bested once again. Neat story.

Leenie said...

That’s what you get for procreating. And it sounds like you did a good job with what came out,(sorry about that pun).

jenny_o said...

I remember this! Because I also remember my favourite lines:

"We’re very much alike, but we’re also quite different.

"That’s what you get for procreating."

I love how you put into words - so few words, too - the nutmeat of being a parent.

Ian Lidster said...

I really hope you're feeling better. I've been worried about you. Even though you're far away and we've never met in RT, I care a lot. Don't push yourself.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Parents all over the world wish their teenagers' rebellion looked more like your son's.

A fun read. (As always.) Get well soon.

Gigi said...

Your boy and my boy would get along quite well, I think. Kinda like their moms would.

HermanTurnip said...

Ooohhhh, if my son ever tries to rebel using country music as a tool, he's outta the will. There's only so much I'm willing to take, and twangy guitars and Stetsons will mean instant parental rejection of my first born. Heh...

Red said...

Not enough people can see some of the humor in rebellion if you can call it that. Usually they are just testing the water. You picked it up and didn't get into a confrontation. It ends up being a win win situation.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

The internet ate my comment.....what the hell I hate it when that happens.....oh well I will say instead that I bet he was an adorable little rebel........

Pat Tillett said...

We buy our ticket and take our chances! A little honest rebellion isn't always a bad thing. We all have to break (or at least stretch) those apron strings to grow. It sounds like you reacted perfectly...

Ziva said...

My word, that was some serious rebelling! Glad you caught it in time. ;) Seriously, though, i really enjoyed reading this piece. :)