Monday, June 20, 2011

20 Minutes to Eternity.

“So, what happened to the dad?”

Any man standing in line – first and alone – waiting to see “Kung Fu Panda 2” should be given a wide berth. No one can like Jack Black that much.

Now before you suggest that he is waiting for someone, let me just point out that we have been standing here for more than 20 minutes. His phone has not rung or buzzed, no one has shouted over to see whether he wants butter or not, and if it takes this long for his companion to make it through the restroom than he really shouldn’t be waiting to sit in one spot for 90 minutes anyway. He is clearly here on his own, mentally rehearsing the right way to break the ice. (I know how hard this can be. This is not the best approach.) If you think I am overly confident let me remind you, again, that I have been standing here for more than 20 minutes. Don’t ask how I know. A blind woman would know.

“He died.”

Cue awkward moment.

My children have been sitting on the floor engrossed in their handheld video games the entire time I have been standing here. They have not squabbled, bickered, run amok or sung and danced in merry abandonment at any point. And for 20 minutes I have been secretly willing that one will shove the other so that I could avoid this.

My husband and I were generally on the same playing field when it came to video games – we did not want our children to become part of the living room furniture. But a mother can only withstand so much.

Note to my husband: if you’d like to discuss this deviation from our parental plan, it will need to wait until we have addressed abandonment, nightmares, general grieving, toilet cleaning, garbage removal, bicycle maintenance, sports (category: all), male adolescence and other similar topics.

Video games have since taught me a lot about children, most importantly that a child’s ability to focus is topic sensitive. If it’s something you don’t want repeated to your in-laws, they heard every word and you can expect it will be shared at the next family gathering. If you want the dirty clothes picked up, it would be just as effective to ask in a language that has been dead for centuries. In other words, if you don’t want them to hear it they will.

Which is why I am standing in front of a man who has just scaled the world’s tallest peak only to find he left his oxygen supply at base camp.

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