“I’m fully awake this time: I set an alarm,” says a message that popped up in my GChat from Mickey as I furiously attempt to finish up an assignment for work. I let a minute pass and then type a parenthetical buy for time, “One second! I’m finishing an article for work. Don’t fall asleep!”
“Okay: I’m ready. What’s going on in teen world, gurl?” I ask. “I learned that I’m not cut out to be an older sibling. I’m meant to be the youngest,” she says. I’m a little surprised, as this seems completely out of nowhere. I can’t think of anything that happened in the media that relates to this but, sure, okay. Why would she be a terrible older sibling?
She quickly responds, “Our little cousin is spending the week with us (another one of Mom’s great ideas!) and I’ve been trying to help her with her multiplication. It’s only been two days and I’m ready to drop her off with her Mom.” She stops typing for a minute and mentions, “I also learned I need to give birth to boys. I’m not a big little girl fan.”
I write back that this is probably because she’s the youngest and allude to the idea that having children may not even be a great idea at all. This is all coming from the not-wanting-to-be-a-Father in me, asserting himself to the front of the conversation.
She pops back, “Yeah, I guess. But, I’m kinda into the whole procreation deal. Seems like something to get into.” She almost makes having kids trendy. Is she–ahem–doing it? She can’t be! I didn’t even really fully understand what sex was until I was a junior in high school. And, umm, I didn’t even really fully understand what gay people were until I was out of high school–and I was one of them! I’m starting to pray she isn’t, you know, doing it.
She continues, “I’m totally going to wait until when I’m married to do this. I’m into procreation, just not the whole Teen Mom deal. It’s not as good of a look as MTV makes it look like.” She Internet laughs and I real life sigh in relief. High school kids are just as afraid of sex as they were when I was in high school. Also, if my Mother or Father read this, they can sigh in relief even more because they raised a good Catholic girl!
Knowing nothing about Teen Mom besides what the cover of Us Weekly says, I ignorantly ask if the show glamorizes teen pregnancy. I’m desperately trying to keep up on these current television shows without cable in my apartment, people.
“Ummmm, no: Teen Mom is awful…well, unless you think being a single Mom and getting a boob job while struggling to make a living for you and your baby is appealing,” she snidely says. I can imagine her arms crossed and a diva snap with that answer. The zings just keep on coming from her, I tell you!
“I can picture myself as a mom–but not a mom with whiny children. My kids are going to be cool…kind of like ,” she says. I’m shocked: at twenty five, I have never once imagined, entertained, or liked the idea of me as a father. I’m also shocked at such a sophisticated and somewhat obscure parental idol: Davey and Vicky Beckham.
“Why are David and Victoria Beckham your parental models?” I ask, “I mean, I love them but I’m curious because I LOVE Vicky B because of Spice Girls, etc….I mean, I grew up loving her so I love her more.” I type this all trying to save Victoria Beckham and my relationship as intimate, special, and lengthy in my mind. And, you know, a real relationship. She’ll Tweet at me one day. One day.
“Their kids just seem very well mannered and chic. Well, they’re as chic as little kids can get. My kids will be the H&M Children’s Department version of that,” she replies as if she were a peer.
“What else has been going on?” I ask.
“Everyone’s leaving for college this week,” she mentions, punctuating with a big awkward :\ face.
“What? Everyone is leaving for school? It’s too early! Well, I just had two friends leave for grad school this week so, I guess that makes sense. How long do you have until school starts?”
“I only have two weeks–and I have yet to finish two of my summer reading books. I also have to write a report,” she mentions. I instantly feel that stress coming back into my mind: the stress of a book report due in days and you have not even picked up the two hundred or so page book. I get the same feeling to this day on deadlines for articles, preparing for a show, or, you know, waking up to go to work.
“Sheesh! What books do you have to read?”
“Ender’s Game? You made that one up. But, Of Mice and Men is great!”
“No,” she says while Internet laughing, “Ender’s Game is this kind of science fictiony book.”
“What?” I ask myself. I’m not a literary nerd, but I pride myself on my knowledge of books–specifically science fiction–and I have never heard of this. Also, science fiction for required reading? What the heck kind of school is she going to?
“When was it published? Is this a new book?” I ask, “You sound like you are lying and made this book up, lady.”
“Don’t sass me with a Wikipedia link!” I yell, trying to keep my integrity, “This seems super sophisticated for summer reading. I had only read Flowers For Algernon and The Giver.” I punctuate that sentence with a big awkward :\ face.
“The Giver is one of my favorites! But, I’m not a big fan of Ender’s Game. I’ve been working on it for like two weeks and I can’t bring myself to just sit down and finish it. It’s not bad, it’s just not my favorite genre. But ,that’s what school reading is for: to help you branch out of what you’d normally read…then torture you with a 5 page report about it.”
I’m shocked by such an astute answer. I never would have said that when I was in school! I ask after telling her that was a good answer, “Science fiction isn’t a genre you like? Why not? What genre do you like then?”
“Well, I like fiction. The Giver and Farenheight 451 kind of things, but books about a space adventure just don’t catch my eye. I’m not really sure why though. And, like we talked about before: I like memoirs and biographies.”
“Do you like space movies?”
“Um, sorry: no. I like Mystery Science Theater, but that doesn’t count. I kind of like Galaxy Quest, though,” she says. And, again, I am shocked by these sophisticated answers. Week after week I keep telling myself I inadvertently trained her too well to be a cynical cool type!
“Really? No space anything? Not even Star Trek or Star Wars? Who are you???”
“Sorry,” she Internet laughs, “I think you, Thomas, and Brendan got all of Dad’s space nerd genes. No offense.” She Internet laughs at her joke, poking fun at my brother’s, father’s, and my mild science fiction obsessions. She qualifies: “I think I got Mom’s dance genes.”
I sass her back, “Well, I got both of those genes, lady. I don’t actually like Star Wars, but love Star Trek. It’s fun though! I guess that is a fundamental guy/girl difference, though.”
“I guess.” A pause from Mickey, “Wait, are you saying you like science fiction and dance because you’re gay? Your being gay makes you able to like both? That’s unfair.”
I Internet laugh but don’t answer. And, to answer your question, yes, Mickey, that does mean I’m able to like both.