Thursday, March 26, 2009
Shopping, Teens, Jeans and Challenged Lives
The other day, my birthday boy needed pants. Now, if I needed pants, I would put it on the never ending list of things that need to get done like planting bushes, buying a new couch and picking up some pants. But he's a newly minted 15, and he needed pants RIGHT NOW.
I explained to him that I was exhausted, that I haven't had a spare minute since last Friday, and it was already past 8. He wasn't buying. He had to have jeans RIGHT NOW. So I agreed to go, but only if he would listen to me explain how impulsivity was one of the major themes of Romeo and Juliet which he is reading right now. Or rather, that his class is reading and he is learning through the process of auditory osmosis.
Anyway, I drove to the near mall, not the one he likes that's half an hour away. I stopped in front of KMart.
"You're kidding. I'm not getting out of the car. Drive away. I don't even want to be seen in the parking lot."
"They have jeans in there. Or in WalMart."
"Mom, you have completely lost it. They only have jeans like you wear in those stores. Wranglers or whatever."
"What about Kohl's? or..."
"I thought we were going to the real mall. The one with the good stores."
I sighed. I bought milk and cat litter in KMart (which is one of the reasons I like stores like that) Philip slumped in the car, hidden from possible surveillance and resigned to waiting for the weekend.
The last time I shopped with his brother, at a good store, Christopher looked through racks of pants while he kept standing further and further distances from me. He explained, in a kindly tone, that I was wearing "Mom Jeans" - the kind that give you a butt in the back -- and in the front, the kind they sell at KMart. (I bought them in Penneys btw) A lot of teens were in the store so I took the hint and asked him to text me when he had made his selections. He came out almost immediately after.
"What's wrong? You're so pale."
"Let's just go."
I looked back before leaving and I saw the problem: about six or seven little people had entered the store. (I'm pretty sure that's the correct term now)
Now my boys were raised in a diverse environment, but there is something about little people that completely freaks them out. Completely. So a few weeks back, I asked them to watch one of those BBC documentaries on people with challenged lives, and it included little people, people missing limbs, and twins attached at the head.
I thought it would help make them more compassionate.
Philip watched, put a pillow over his face at times, and shouted things like, "Oh my God, why are we watching this? What's wrong with you, Mom? Normal families don't do this!!!"
Christopher, more mature, looked at me at the end.
"See," I said as I stood there sagely in my Mom jeans, "you guys have nothing to complain about. Not a thing. These people have real problems. Don't you think?"
Philip shot from the room. Christopher looked at me and said, "We saw this film in science about this like 150 pound toddler. He lived outside of London."
"Imagine how difficult his life is. You think you learn things from watching about other people's lives who are challenged?"
Christopher nodded. "Yeah. I'm never going to Britain. That's where they all live."