Halfway mark again. Halfway to Friday over and over again makes it feel like you’ll never ever really get there.
Gym still filled to bursting with the new-year converts. Got there and realized I’d forgotten my headphones. Wrecked my whole plan. I had the iPod on “all songs” for Radiohead and was planning one hell of a shuffle. Was gonna bliss out to Radiohead and read my vintage 1950s “masterpiece” about junkies and junkie life, Burroughs‘ The Naked Lunch. Got turned onto the book from some hipster messageboard. Those guys may be too cool for anything but they have some good taste in literature. Decided to abbreviate the workout, put in 500 calories worth and called it a night. I’m under count today anyway.
Remember when you were a kid and you assumed that everyone did the same things you and your family did in the same way you and your family did? From early gradeschool through just before highschool kids go through one long period of social sensitivity training. During this time a kid finds out, experience by experience and person by person, that the world is a whole lot bigger and more diverse than their tiny family, the things they do, and they ways they do them. I remember being confused when people didn’t understand the slang my family used, the special places we knew or why they were special, or even the things we didn’t know or hadn’t done. It’s hard on a kid… finding out things are different than what you know, finding out people might think something that’s all you’ve ever known is “weird.”
I went over to a friend’s house to spend the night once. I thought it was so odd that his family made a kind of chocolate milk drink but instead of using chocolate syrup they used regular old pancake syrup. “Syrup milk,” my friend called it when he introduced it to me. “Weird,” I thought. But that stuff was good. My friend knew what he was about. Back around the same time I used to go with a group of kids to a certain house after school. The mom there ran a sort of after-school care thing for about ten local neighborhood kids and my brother and I were two of them. Also in the group was a set of twins. The twins came from a christian family, matter of fact they had model christian names, prophets I think. These kids were fun; good kids. I liked them. But man I couldn’t shake the “off” feeling I got when they kept on about Jesus this and God that. See I wasn’t exposed to that. Wasn’t normal for me and was thus foreign.
How about from the other direction? Remember the first time you realized not every family prayed before they ate? If you ever ate at my house you would. We’d dig right in, not a word of thanks to God. Food comes from the grocery store. I thanked the produce man for the firm broccoli; put a dollar in the Jerry Lewis thing too. Don’t call me heathen. When these revelations of youth coincide with religion I bet it’s particularly stark for a kid. What do you mean you don’t do Family Home Evening on Mondays? Don’t you know your sleepover is on the weekend I’m being confirmed? What do you mean you’re not going to be called up to the Torah? What do you mean “What’s the Torah?!” How can your church not believe in having a kitchen? It’s not a “bracelet” it’s a kara. You mean your God doesn’t require Wednesday night worship? Gotta miss the first part of band practice; salah. But don’t you guys use the same Bible? Wait.. there are different Bibles?
I can remember being embarrassed the first time I called a mosquito a “gaboo” in front of friends. I knew it was called a mosquito. I just though everyone called them gaboos. Apparently not. Gaboos was some baby-speak invention of mine, appropriated into family parlance at some point and further legitimized by my folks’ frequent usage. How was I supposed to know it wasn’t a real word? I’d heard it all my life and just assumed it was. What other words should I question? What more lies had my parents fed me in order to humiliate me in front of my peers? Is that thing between my legs really a “bosco?”
I don’t know, I’ve just always put ketchup on my macaroni and cheese.
No. My folks don’t make me wear a helmet.
My mom says God said pork is unclean.
You can watch PG-13 movies?!
A shower? At night?
Yes a kid’s worldview can be shattered and re-arranged on a daily basis as they start to absorb the world around them. Gets even more complicated once you get old enough for overnight trips to friends’ houses. Talk about getting a firsthand view to some of the stranger of folks’ daily rituals. Watching another kid’s bedtime routine, another family’s mealtime choreography, TV preferences, household policies. It can be quite the experience to realize things aren’t the same as, to you, they’ve always ever been. A critical part in the culturing of a person, defining moments for future tolerances and interaction.
Think about it, you know your family did something “weird”…
Growing up. Goodnight.