May 14, 2007


Up at 6:00. Tried to get up, couldn't. Finally rolled out of bed at 6:30, went and told Boy to get up and get dressed, went and took my shower.

Now, the night before, I had asked him what he was going to wear. "Regular clothes."

"What kind of regular clothes, Son?"

"I don't know--what I wear all the time."

"Okay--I'll tell you what to wear--this shirt [pointing to a very nice white oxford cloth longsleeve shirt], and a pair of khakis."


"Look, Son, it says on your form "Dress nicely." That means you're NOT going to get to wear a tee-shirt and shorts and those nasty rubber shoes of yours!"

Pouting more. Anyway, that was Friday night, and the conversation moved on to making sure he had his music, and his drumsticks. Which he did. Thank goodness.

Back to Saturday, now.

I finished up my shower, shaved, brushed teeth. Went to see if Boy was dress.


"JONATHAN! Get up and get dressed NOW!"

He was resistant, and it wasn't because of the early hour. He was STILL pouting about what I was making him wear.


"Put on THIS shirt and THIS pair of pants, and THESE socks, now!"

Angry mad pouting and lip quivering.

I went back and started getting my clothes on--since I wasn't performing, I got to wear jeans and a tee-shirt. [sticks out tongue and waggles butt to everyone] And in the middle of all this, Oldest gets back home from the lock-in, so she has to flounce in and announce that she only got five minutes of sleep. "Gee. I guess you're tired, then, huh?"

And then, what fresh hell is this?

Here comes Boy slouching into the room, "::sniff::I don't want to wear this!::sniff::" He falls onto the bed, large tear drops falling out of his head. "I don't LIKE it--it LOOKS weird! ::sniff::"

"Go get the rest of your clothes on NOW, because we have to leave."

He stomped off with his face twisted up in a knot. Reba suggested he could wear one of his polo shirts, which would have been fine with me, so after I got the rest of my stuff ready, I went to his room where he still sat, angry-faced and slobbering, and I told him to put on his yellow and white striped shirt instead. Which wasn't nearly so bad as the hated white oxford cloth shirt, but bad enough. Since I was making him wear his church shoes and dress socks and khakis.

THUS BEDRESSED, it was downstairs at 7:30 and into the car, where he was a damp sullen pile of pout. Out the driveway, and off down the hill.

"Would you like some breakfast from Sonic?"


"No what?"

"No, sir!"

Well, okeedokey then.

Made the turn onto Main Street. Drove toward the Interstate.

"Would you like something from Arby's"

"No, sir."

Okeedokey, then.

I pulled into the drive-through and got the sausage breakfast wrap combo with potato cakes and a Diet Pepsi [watching my girlish figure, you know], paid for it, and got back out onto the highway.

It smelled absolutely divine.

"You sure you don't want a bite of this? It's awfully good."

"No, sir."

"Fine--suit yourself."

And so I ate ever last bite of it, loudly enjoying every taste and every aroma. "But I got to dress how I wanted to last year when Grandmama took me and picked me up!"

Oh, good grief. "I don't remember any of that last year, Son, and since Grandmama took you, she probably didn't know how you were supposed to dress, but your director's note said dress nice, so you are, so get over it!"

Pulled up to the school exactly 45 minutes later, right on time at 8:30. Found his band director, which is when I found out that he actually had a DUET with another kid!

Good thing he'd decided to get some clothes on and come, because the last thing we needed to do was mess up someone ELSE'S chance, all for the sake of some silly objection to clothes!

Got his music and grading sheet and snare drum, and went inside to go to the practice room. Amazingly enough, there were boys all over the place with white shirts, khaki pants, and dress shoes on. Some even had on ties. This seemed to cause a change in Boy, and by the time we'd walked around to the cafeteria where everyone was, he seemed to be back to his old self. He went in and said hello to a couple of kids he knew, set up his snare, and began practicing away. I told him I was going to go see where his room was, since there'd been a change in the judges, and when I got back, he was still tapping away, and excitedly asked me to listen to him.

Which I was happy to do. He messed up a couple of times, but I told him not to worry about it and if it happened while he was being judged to just play right on through it.

Got him a bottle of water, and then I sat and began reading the Popular Hotrodding magazine I'd brought to pass the time.

"Dad, Matthew ought to be here by now."

I looked at the clock, and it was about ten minutes to 9:00, so they had about 25 minutes before it was time to play.

Waited, and it got to be straight up 9:00, and I asked him if he'd seen him around anywhere yet. No. Hmm.

"Why don't you go ask your band director if he knows where he is."

I kept on reading, and off he went.

Read, read, read, and Hmmm.

It's nearly time for them to play, and he's not back yet.

I decided to walk on out and see what the holdup was. As I was going out, I passed the director coming in--"Oh, uhh, have you seen Jonathan? I thought he had come to look for you."

Outside waiting for this kid to show up.

I walked on out, and Jonathan was standing there on the sidewalk--"Son, what's the deal?"

"Well, Jacob's mom just called him, and his dad answered, and his dad had just come in from a trip, and his dad said they didn't know anything about it, because Matthew hadn't told them."


All together now! "WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS!?"

"Son, is he going to come on?! Because if he is, it's going to be another hour before they get here."

"I don't know."


SO, took him back inside to the cafeteria, then went to ask his director what to do.

Basically, find out if the kid was actually going to try to make it--if so, wait and play when he gets there. No penalty for playing at the wrong time. If he wasn't, Jonathan could play it as a solo. Again, no penalty for that.

I went back to the cafeteria to tell Boy, then it was off again outside to find out again from the lady who'd called exactly what had been said and if they were going to come. Walked back outside, and the director had gotten out there and was once more keeping track of things. One of the kids and his mom were there, looking for a piece of sheet music. I recognized him as the kid Jonathan had been talking to at the table, and I remember he'd left his music there. I told them it was at the table where they'd left it, they thanked me and left.

I told the director it had been Jacob's mom that had called, and that Jonathan wasn't sure or not if the other kid was going to show, and asked if he could call and find out for sure. "Uh, well, that was Jacob and his mom that just went back inside to get their music."

Oh, right. I'm a big idiot. And don't know anyone, either.

"I can call for you, but you'll need to get the number from her because I don't have it."


Back inside the building to hunt down Jacob and Jacob's Mom. Found them coming out of the cafeteria with their music, so I walked back down the way I'd just come with them, introducing myself along the way. "Well, you know we just live right down the street from y'all--and I'm going to be one of your daughter's cheerleading sponsors!"

Uh, no--remember--I'm highly antisocial, and so I don't know anyone who lives anywhere around me.

Anyway, I said all the socially-acceptable greetings and then got down to business--was this other kid going to show up or not?



Thanked her, and went back and told Boy to saddle up and mark his sheet as a solo, and let's go find a judge. He was eager to start and in a much better mood. Out the door, found a percussion judge, and Boy went in and performed "Washington." It leaves something to be desired, I would assume, without the tom part of the duet, but nonetheless, he rattled away his part and came out a few minutes later, satisfied he'd done a pretty good job.

Went outside to turn in his drum and await the results. The last time he'd done this (the one I couldn't remember about that his grandmother had taken him to) he and the other boys had gotten a II, which is worse than a I, which I am told means "Superior." If you get a I, you get a medal. Boy was really, REALLY hoping to get a medal.

First set of results came in, and his wasn't among the listed performers.

Wait some more.

Second set of results came in, and Jonathan got all As with one B. And he got a I.

He was very, VERY proud of that, and I was too. "Now then--let's go get you something to eat, okay?"


No more pouting about clothes! Hooray.

Back to Trussville, stopped at McDonald's so he could get brunch. Or McBrunch. I was still full from breakfast, so I just ordered a tall Diet Coke to keep my caffeine level topped off.

As we stood there in line, a woman came in with a lost look on her face, and it took me a moment to figure out who she was talking to and what she was saying. I get wrapped up in myself like that sometimes.

"Does anyone have any jumper cables? Anyone? Does anyone have any jumper cables?"

Hey, wait a minute. I've got jumper cables.

"Ma'am, I've got some jumper cables."

"Jumper cables?"

"Yes, ma'am--I have some jumper cables."

"You do?"

Dang it all, yes I DO!

"Yes, ma'am."

I told her to wait just a moment and let me get my son sat down with his food, and I'd be right with her. Luckily, his food was ready, so I walked on out with the lady, who explained that her elderly mother was in the car and she didn't know what to do and it was hot and she was worried and she already had the hood up and did I think the cables would reach. Luckily, she was parked right next to me.

"Let me take a look and see how long they are first, ma'am."

Got out the cables, opened my hood, dropped them on the ground, and, no.

Not long enough.

"Are they long enough?"

"No, ma'am, but I'm just going to pull over on the other side of your car and then we'll get it cranked."

I pulled around and opened the hood again.

"Now--before you start--the man who put this battery in put these little felt things on? And he said that he really should have put the green one on one side and the red one on the other? But he got them mixed up, so be really careful!"

"It's okay, ma'am--the color of the felt is just there to help you remember which terminal is which. The color of the felt doesn't matter as long as the cables are hooked to the right terminal."

"Okay, but be careful because he said he put them on the wrong way."

"Yes, ma'am."

I hooked up the cables, and she said she wouldn't do anything until I told her. "You know, I used to have a Volvo, too! One of those that was square in he back. I think it was made in 1992. Or 1996. Is this one like that?"

"I'm not sure what model you had, ma'am--this one's an eighty-si..."

"OH, I think it was like this one. Just tell me what you want me to do!"

By now I had it all hooked up, so I asked her to crank it, which it did right off.

"This has happened before, and the last time they told me it wasn't the battery and they replaced the switch in it!"

"I don't think it was the switch."


I unhooked the cables and put them back in the trunk, and the lady asked how much she owed me, and she seemed genuinely surprised when I said nothing. Who would charge someone to jumpstart their car when you have cables and it's parked right next to your car!?

No one. Certainly not me. I waved her away, reparked, and walked inside again.

Boy sat where I'd left him, his sandwich not touched.

"What's the matter?"

He'd ordered grilled chicken, they'd given him fried.

I went back to the counter, where one of the kind and helpful staff [/sarcasm] took the offending sandwich away from me (in contravention of the health department rules for fast food establishments) and proceeded to berate the woman who'd taken my original order. After about ten minutes of back and forth about how it happened that an order at McDonald's could actually have been gotten wrong, the older redhaired lady finally had all she could stand and said with much exasperation to the rest of the jaybirds in the back, "I'm SORRY! I got his order wrong--" Left unsaid, I'm sure, were several choice words about how many times they'd messed up on something. Judging by their slovenly habits and rudeness, I'm guessing several hundred times a day. The cashier game me a new sandwich and apologized again for getting it wrong. "No problem," and I smiled and thanked her, loudly enough for the rest of the cackling hens to hear.

Sounded like her day had been one string of fresh hells one after another.

Boy ate up, and then it was to home again with us, where he made a triumphal, Superior grade entrance.

NEXT: Saturday, Part II!

Posted by Terry Oglesby at May 14, 2007 11:14 AM

I gotta admit I did not know the Boy had that in him. Did he just have an unusually bad weekend, or is teenageritis that contagious?

Posted by: Stan at May 14, 2007 03:42 PM

I think it's a combination of his streak of bad temper and constantly being exposed to a bad example.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 14, 2007 04:08 PM