I’m unchained, uncontrolled, unrepentant.
And I don’t care that I’m being trailed by my nine year old who is witness to all this fury.
I was nearly bowled over by a 20 something entitled jerk in fancy sunglasses and high-priced bike as he barreled down the sidewalk at high speed with no regard for pedestrians.
I turn to Noah, bend down to his 137 centimeters, so he doesn’t miss a word.
I hiss at him. “You see that’s a big one! He probably started off as a little asshole just like you. Isn’t nature wonderful? Little jerks become big jerks.”
Inappropriate, insane, injurious. And still unrepentant.
Yes, I’ve officially lost it.
We’re walking to Noah’s day camp. They’re spending the day at the La Ronde amusement park. Thrills and chills, right? Supposed to be the best day of the summer, right? And it was, until, at 7:18 a.m. in our living room….
“Dad, I hate these pants.”
Perfectly good, practically new cargo shorts, which he’s been wearing without problems all summer.
“Dunno…too tight on the legs.”
I look. I could fit six of his little stick thighs in each pant leg.
“They’re perfectly okay, Noah. And it’s the only pair with pockets that close, with the Velcro. I’m giving you $20 for lunch and I don’t want you to lose it.”
“I’ll give my money to the animator, like that he can keep it safe, you know?”
“Come on, Noah, I explained to you that the animator can’t micro manage all you guys. Just wear the pants with the pockets and have fun in the rides.”
He gives me that brimstone look that just blows my gaskets.
“Don’t glower at me. You’re the one who asked to have money to buy lunch rather than my packing you a lunch. This way you carry no knapsack, no lunch box. You’re free to have fun.”
“Not with these pants. Maybe you should make me a lunch.”
“No way. I’ve had it with your fruit-fly mentality. I have nothing to make you lunch with. Geez…”
I better leave the room before I start a string of swear words in the three languages and two dialects I master. If I start I may never stop. And then I’ll run away.
“Tell you what, finish getting dressed, brush your teeth, sunscreen yourself, get a cap, feed your cat and when you’re ready to leave, call me. And you’re responsible for checking the time. Got It?”
I don’t wait for the answer because I know he’s looking for a way to pump up the conflict. It’s a perverse pleasure of many kids. And it doesn’t stop just because they become adults. I’ve had a substantial sampling in my life. Mostly women, because I frequent them more. But guys are good at it too.
I walk out on the balcony and sit. I try to calm myself down. Am I so fragile that this will blow me out of the water? I would wish not. But I know it might.
He calls me in with a darkly bitchy “ready”. I tell myself not to look at how he is dressed or not, or to care whether he’s really ready or not.
But, but … I’m a parent.
“Noah where’s your cap. You know there’s no shade at the park. And today is full sunlight and 30 celsius, so…”
He rummages for a cap, but doesn’t put it on.
“”What do I do with it if like I go on a ride and I have to take it off so that it doesn’t you know, like fly off?”
“Hold it in your hands, sit on it, put it in a pocket. Come on, Noah, you need a cap.”
He gets that look again.
Mornings are scary. They condition the rest of the day. I admit I’m always just a step away from plummeting over the emotional cliff. Don’t push me over. Please.
I don’t smell sunscreen anywhere. I bought the damn spray kind so it’s easy for him.
“Did you put on some sunscreen.”
“Euh, yeah I did.”
If he was Pinocchio his nose would grow as long as a branch, sprout leaves and welcome a bird’s nest.
“Do you think lying will put me in a better mood?”
“So why the hell do you do it?”
“I should just let you get burnt real good and laugh when you cry in pain. I have to fight you to do stuff that you know is right? Insane.”
His fucking Mother is clinically insane so I really really shouldn’t use that word.
He heads to the bathroom. I hear the spray and smell the sun screen. I fight the wild horses rampaging inside my body.
“Dad, you know what really sucks?”
Boom! Bang! Kabow! The stable door flies open! The horses are free!
“Oh, fuck it, Noah.”
Oh yeah! Insane! Impulsive! And I don’t give a flying fuck in a rolling donut.
“Let’s get you to camp, quickly. I’m anxious to get you outta my face for the rest of the day. Move!”
And I walk as quickly as I do when I’m alone. The hell with it if he needs to practically jog to keep up.
And I rant.
“I can’t believe you blow up perfectly good days with this kind of bad attitude. What shit. It’s hard enough to keep going and you kick me in the shins. Double and triple shit!”
Of course, I could be the adult in the situation. But I don’t want to.
At day camp I find out he’s the only kid with money in his pocket. Everybody else seems to have a lunch. His animator shakes his head. They specifically told the kids to pack a lunch. He tells me not worry, they’ll work it out.
I look at Noah with incredulity. His defense? “I didn’t know.”
I raise my hands, say nothing, walk away. Damn, I’m going to have to pick him up at the end of the day. What I would give for a vacation from single fatherhood.
Grow up, the evolved part of me says to myself. Oh fuck that! Rage! says the other side of me.
Noah is not the only one who will ride the roller coaster today! I hope he has as little fun as I will.
The worst? Is that I don’t even mean it.