People, for the most part I love eccentricity and general weirdness, in people, places, film and so forth. But I gotta be honest in telling you that the middle-aged, long-haired dude in tube socks and puffy white kicks who parks his fanny on a padded red cushion he brings and then places on a local park’s bench -which happens to be a ringside seat at a children’s playground- and proceeds to pop a Pepsi, place it on the ground next to him and then strum to beat sixty on his acoustic guitar while so earnestly crooning/narrating James Taylor songs like a mixed tape on repeat is a bit beyond my pale.
I mean, who is this guy, and why? Let’s start with his hair. It’s like Bret Michaels meets an unkempt elderly gal who should have cut her tresses decades back but didn’t. It is a stylist’s worst nightmare: frizzy; dry; mousy; dated; and then some. It looks like there may once have been layers, or are those bangs? Did he try a perm and then let it go, or does he just have natural “waves”? Ever so often, not frequently, he stands, reaching his hands toward the sky as if to stretch or inhale. On the descent, his fingers fluff the frazzled nest that is his coiffure. Why? Is he self-conscious about volume or whether the wind has mussed it just so?
The socks and sneakers are comfortable and practical; I get it. Ditto the old tee-shirt hugging a round belly and the generic khaki shorts. His outfit is not his priority, y’all, it’s the tunes. It’s all about the tunes. He’s channeling so much feeling into James Taylor’s songs; you know every one is a tribute to the guy he considers “the man.” For emphasis, dude will at times speak the lyrics or adopt a bit of vibrato, just for an added emotional oomph. Bless his heart, he still sounds totally vanilla.
I still think I’d just chalk it up to quirkiness if it weren’t for his chosen locale. Why front and center at a playground? I mean, he’s certainly not singing the Annie soundtrack or “Let It Go,” for christ’s sakes. James wrote about some heavy shit; death, loss. “Fire and Rain” is definitely not what I want my kids to hear and ponder as they see-saw and swing, you know? That stuff is tough.
I thought about this on the way home because even though we had one of J’s friends in the car -read: try to act nicely- my boys made complete arses of themselves. It was like they climbed into their carseats and morphed into mean dicks with an unfortunate lot to say. It was mostly the Elder, to be honest, just reveling in some moody, ugly shit like a pig in fresh mud. At first I was sort of, “WTF, y’all?! Didn’t I just bring you to the park for baseball on a beautiful day? Did I not pack each of you a ludicrously thoughtfully pimped out bag of gear, snacks and all that jazz?” J tells me that during his field trip to the g-damn National Arboretum today he saw the most famous Bonsai tree -”it’s bone-sy, Mom, not bonn-sy.” ‘Scuse me!- in the world which is not only extremely old but also extremely cool, not least because A) we live in the same city as does it, and B) he got to see it whilst in just second grade.
Erm, can we have a moment of thanks for Mom who packed the damn cleats/tees/hats/snacks/sunscreen/water bottles/special Friday cinnamon rolls AND enrolled y’all in a magnificent school AND you got to see an effing 200 year old Bone-sy tree today? Jesus H, you ungrateful heathens.
Anyway, we arrive at Friend’s house, and I told my kids to stay in the car while I walked Friend to the door. On the way, I asked Friend (who is J’s best friend) if he thought that based on their behavior thus far, the boys would be alive when I returned to the car. Friend said, “I don’t think so.” I had to agree.
But on the way back to the car, I reconsidered my appraisal and thought surely I was being too pessimistic and definitely wasn’t giving the boys enough credit.
I have never been so wrong. Indeed, it is laughable just how wrong I was.
Because, when I got to my damn sticker-bedazzled beater of a car, I looked through the driver-side window to see not one but BOTH boys gripping themselves in apparent pain and crying huge, farcical, raindrop tears. Do you think I wanted to open the door and get in? I did not. I wanted to run for the hills, a la that really-unhappy mom in “The Hours.” But, I manned up, got my game face on and got in.
“He hit me twice, AS HARD AS HE COULD.”
“He stole my penny! It was my favorite penny. I need that penny!”
“He scratched me AS HARD AS HE COULD.”
“I saw the penny first. FIRST! 900 DAYS AGO, I SAW AND FELL IN LOVE WITH THAT PENNY. THAT PENNY IS MY LIFE-PARTNER!”
Can we take a quick break to mention that pennies are literally worthless? That it costs more to make a penny than the one stupid cent at which they’re valued?
I truly did not think I’d make it home but I also didn’t think this mayhem would last. I mean, it takes a lot of energy to act like an insane, inane buffoon, you know?
Suffice it to say that it did last. Until we got home. Past the time I asked them to wash their hands before dinner. During dinner such that I had to physically remove them from one another and force them to eat without looking at each other. During bathtime when one chose my bathtub and the other said it was his life dream to bathe in my tub. Givemeabreak. After the one got out of my tub with DRY hair and a still-filthy face. Afterwards when I went onto the deck for self- and child-preservation only to haul ass back in when I heard bloody-murder screaming. While I called T with a seriously 911 plea to come home RIGHTNOW. And still onward, during my deck-exile and fishbowl-of-wine drinking hiatus.
T got home for a needed and helpful intervention, I still think the guitarist is weird but nothing more than a dweeb with bad hair, I’m loving my third glass of wine, and Eldest is all sweetness and light again, as if Evil Hyde was simply a mirage. I wish. Hyde the Younger is asleep, and I’m grilling a pizza. And so it goes on this Friday.