For the first time ever, Teen Spirit stayed in Brooklyn while the rest of the family went on vacation to California to visit Hepcat’s family on the farm.
What a milestone. And what a strange feeling it was going to the airport early in the morning and leaving him asleep in his bedroom.
Smartmom can remember Teen Spirit’s first trip to California. He was only 3-months-old the first time they took him to meet his paternal grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Teen Spirit is 18 now, and he’s making his own plans. In fact, Teen Spirit got himself a job at a warehouse in Brooklyn. Now he’s a working man — heavy labor and all that.
Smartmom and Hepcat are thrilled. He’s making money, and they hope the work will be so tedious that he’ll change his mind about Gap Year University and hightail it to a real college.
Not likely. Teen Spirit has his heart set on experiencing the world first-hand. He wants to work, to make music, to travel the Blue Highways of America or something like that.
But in the meantime, he’s on his own in Brooklyn and Smartmom is stressed even as she sits by a beautiful pool under a cerulean sky sipping gin and tonics in the dry California heat.
Why is she stressing?
Because she just got an e-mail from her downstairs neighbor saying that Teen Spirit had a big party the other night.
A big party? This was the first Smartmom was hearing about it. But her neighbor wasn’t e-mailing to complain about the noise, the loud music, or the wailings of a large group of inebriated 18-year-olds in the wee hours of the morning.
No, she was e-mailing to say that he’d better clean up the beer cans and cigarette boxes that were thrown off the fire escape outside of Teen Spirit’s room during the party.
A few hours later, her friend and neighbor Mrs. Kravitz called to fill her in on the details.
“Was it a big bash?” Smartmom asked.
“Not a big bash, but a party,” Mrs. Kravitz said.
“How many beer cans were in the backyard?” Smartmom asked.
“About a dozen,” Mrs. Kravitz said.
Smartmom was fit to be tied. Not because he had a party; that’s pretty much de-rigueur for an 18-year-old when his parents are away.
And not because they were drinking and smoking. That, too, is what happens with the mice when the cat is away.
No, she was furious because he didn’t stop his friends from throwing cans and cigarette boxes off the fire escape.
Worse, he didn’t clean up after the party. That was disgusting — and disrespectful of the other people in the apartment building.
She was also furious because the situation 3,000 miles away was ruining an otherwise perfect day by the pool.
So what’s a smart mom to do? She texted Teen Spirit, but didn’t hear back from him. She tried to get him on the phone, but he didn’t pick up because he was working at the warehouse.
Smartmom was feeling agitated, angry and thoroughly disgusted with her spawn. She devised a wide range of punishments that included calling a locksmith to bolt the apartment door shut, prohibiting his friends from ever coming over, or feeding him bread and water for months.
But then she had a better idea for the perfect punishment. She could do something that he would really hate: She started typing. Word by word, she was starting to feel better.
“For the first time ever, Teen Spirit stayed in Brooklyn while the rest of the family went on vacation to California to visit Hepcat’s family on the farm …”
Finally he texted her. He cleaned up the backyard. It was done. Smartmom was relieved. She could go back to being on vacation. But not before she finished writing this column.
A few days later, Smartmom, Hepcat and OSFO got ready to leave the farm for the airport. They were taking the red eye from Oakland to JFK.
Smartmom was stressing. What would the apartment look like on their return?
Diaper Diva visited Teen Spirit after the “beer can incident” and said there were quite a few kids over there and a lot of dishes in the sink.
“And there was clothing strewn about,” she said, ruefully.
Smartmom told Teen Spirit that he’d better get his clothing off the floor — and the dishes washed — before their return. Now she’s wondering what awaits.