By the time I actually sit down to write about my seemingly constant frustration and poorly handled responses to teenage snippiness and isolation technology, things have shifted into being proud of the wonderchild. The weekend was a roller coaster. The high point was taking him to a funky theater to see the original Shaft which he had never heard of prior to last Saturday. I figure if he is going to idolize Fiddy (and he hates it when I say "Fiddy" which then makes me think I'm using a racist taunt but then every article I read seems to refer to him that way), I want him to start a voyage with Shaft then travel to Superfly (never heard of that one either) and on through the next four decades to see how the old skool informs the new. And how it was way cooler. And had better music.
John Shaft didn't need steroid muscles to look handsome. He just needed brown suits and to look at people from the side, rather than head on to give off a sultry, confident power. The theater where the film was showing uses projected digital video (often, but not always from a DVD) which makes it so they are able to bypass some insane, archiac Fire and Building Safety Codes, but they also bypass the warmth and magic of projected film. It also means when Super Bad John Shaft walks into the street and is shown 3/4 profile against the sky in a classic shot, the clouds are pixelated. By the time Mr. Shaft switched to all black leather (brown is cool, black is for serious action) to start kicking some serious ass (although getting his own kicked pretty badly first), I had gotten slightly more comfortable with the loss of flickering lights, but I never felt the full power. Damn technology. A couple of months ago, I was trying to have the conversation with Mancub about the inherent aesthetic flaws in a home entertainment center (the praises of which he sang) no matter how large the flat screen television, but I would have had better luck in communicating had I attempted a phonetic reading of Finnish poems from a room down the hall.
And besides, Mancub really liked Shaft which meant the expensive snacks the "dinner" theater serves were worth it. I was so pleased, and felt so validated, that on the ride home I mustered up only a trace of unspoken irritation when he asked if he could put on his station during a Gladys Knight song on KBCS'One Step Beyond Soul Show. I refused and let my sentence about the time period of the song we were hearing in relationship to the movie we had just seen drift off incomplete returning as neither one of us, wants to be the first to say... with one hand on the steering wheel and the other channeling the Diva Wisdom of the ages.
Much more spoken was the fifth irritation from that moment, about 30 minutes later as I tried to watch a little bit of the Live Earth concert once home. Earlier in the day, Mancub had decided the entire Live Earth 7 continent 24 hour concert was "that kind of stuff you like that I don't" because he watched exactly 13.5 seconds of Melissa Etheridge as he was walking to the bathroom and stopped to say "What are you watching?". The point at which I exploded was when Sting was on about six hours past Melissa, but all I could hear was the blistering thump of upstairs crunk although I had clearly stated that I was not to hear his bass heavy stereo when I got home to watch a few minutes of the concert.
The Mancub vs. Big Poppy Wars had many lovely cease fires between extensive bombings. By the time Papa Seed had returned from his weekend research project, there wasn't a cease fire however. Just tension between exhausted troops. Papa Seed brought us to the Peace Talks, and the next day when the two Dads celebrated their 15th anniversary, Mancub stayed home to do his first solo cookie baking and damn if those cookies weren't better than any batch the Dads had made during lessons. The old guys went out for Thai and talked about their kid and finances. Happy Anniversary. Then got home to be handed a perfectly done peanut butter cookie. There was a good feeling in the home last night.
This morning, not so good. Another bombing. I was angry all day as I sat at work trying to remind myself of the realities of teenage boys and parent/son relationships and unrealistic expectations and inappropriate responses. This evening was our second hand drum lesson - just Mancub and me, our evening together. And he was totally charming and sweet and thoughtful and I felt like the most fortunate but least deserving Dad on the planet. He wanted to go to the coffeehouse by the conga studio afterwards, because that has already become part of the ritual and it was clearly important to him. He wanted to do the thing he invented where you pass your drink to the left (or slide it), take a sip, and pass it back. It is much more heatwarming when one is a sipper. I let him listen to his station after that. I couldn't quite go so far as to do the hand move to Party Like A Rock Star tonight, but I did nod my head while I drove.