People try to remind me that we were all teens once and that we did crazy things too. I was young once, yes, it is true. These oddballs seem to be calling my perfection into question. Who needs them anyway? I prefer to concentrate on the faults of others, it’s much easier.
I have just a person in mind–a certain 19-year-old daughter. I was not feeling well last night, but I was a real trooper and powered through two extra episodes of my latest Netflix series. I deserved a full-night’s sleep. I retired to my chambers for my slumber when I heard a female voice droning on about setting alarms, closing windows, putting pets away, and the like. I didn’t move. She finally stirred to do this herself, when a very mechanical noise was tapping against a window somewhere. I was in a daze and hoped it would go away. It didn’t. The noise then moved to a pounding on my bedroom window. I had no choice but to get up and look for my Uzi.
I stepped out into the hall to see…..my daughter,! standing on the back porch with a big smile on her face. I should have known. Did I mention that it was midnight? She claims that she was just taking a leisurely ride on her bicycle when her seat just ‘fell off.’ Now I have put thousands of miles on a dozen or more bicycles and have never experienced sporadic saddle ejection. How do these things happen to her? She has had tires blow, wheels bend, brakes fail, and seats simply detach themselves. It begs the philosophical question of whether some people are just unlucky. Are there just rain clouds randomly assigned to some people by the god of sardonic humor? She had a full backpack full of little treats, some of which were for us, so her stop wasn’t actually as random as originally claimed. But make no mistake, her bicycle was in pieces. When I inquired into the randomness of a seat just falling off of a bicycle, I found out it wasn’t so random after all. She admitted to letting a fat kid use it to race some other dumb-assed teen-aged delinquent. All teens are juvenile delinquents in this tale, as I was tired.
I wasn’t my normal jolly self, yes I am jolly, really, so I told her to go sleep in the back room. I wanted to go to sleep and offered a ride back to the projects, I mean university housing, in the morning. I went back to bed when I heard the child’s mother negotiating about sleeping over instead of riding home five miles away in the dark, with no light, with no seat, and with no sense. The stubborn teen refused. So my wife, always eager to play martyr, said that she would drive her home. I’m not exactly chivalrous, but I wasn’t going to let her do that. I mean, she would use it against me for at least a month. She has enough material already. I had no choice but to install the bike rack, load the junker, and drive this pain-in-the-ass kid back to the wrong side of the tracks.
She lived through another night. But next week is Thanksgiving….the one year anniversary since this same daughter tried swimming across a frozen lake during our holiday trip to the White Mountains. And I can’t help but wonder how she is still alive. Not because of being hit by a car. Not because of hypothermia. Not because she was rescued last year from dehydration while doing a little solo hiking in the Arizona desert. No. How have I NOT KILLED HER.
And my wife says I don’t have patience!