By Lex on Fri – April 29, 2005
You like that, the Roman numeral thing? I was thinking that maybe someday (not today, but, you know…) I’d write a really good Friday Musings and you’d want to tell all your friends but you wouldn’t know which one, and it would get complicated. So I’d put a Roman numeral by the title, and that would clear everything up.
Or is that just pretentious?
Oh, Vodka Martini, up and dry, by the way. I just might have a second. It’s been that kind of day.
And after all, it is Friday.
No. Not all bad, not at all. Just conflicted. Started early this A.M. with an emergent parent/teacher conference. Those are never truly good. They don’t call you on Thursday and ask you to come in at 0730 the next day just to tell you what a great job you’re doing parenting.
Turns out that the Kat had had a tiff Friday a week ago with one of her “friends.” This is one of those utterly revolting and entirely tedious pre-teen rites of passage things that all girls go through, I guess – label it: Surviving the Queen Bee. The Kat has reached that age, finally and alas, where the little girls turn suddenly from beautiful children into monsters, competing among themselves to see who can be the most monstrous to the others. It’s rule of the jungle stuff, a Hobbesian world of nasty, brutish and short people, all of whom are female.
Turns out that her friend, whom I’ll call Betsy (isn’t it bizarre that I feel compelled to use an alias for an 11 year old girl? – It’s nothing but a sign of the times we live in, but anyway), a girl who had worked her way into the Kat’s confidence, abused that confidence by sharing certain “secrets” that an 11 year old would rather not have had shared. And, the world being the way it is, others of her classmates told the Kat that she was being abused, and that Betsy was the backstabbing abuser. I think that this is probably the very first time in the Kat’s life where she realized that not everyone is nice, and that you can be betrayed by those you trusted. In consequence, the Kat being who she is, there was a confrontation soon thereafter in the school playground. Hard words were exchanged, feelings were hurt and at one point actual blows were delivered – they kicked at each-other, apparently. Pro Keds to shins and ankles, that sort of thing.
The set and drift of it is that my kid was the one who kicked both first and last – I guess the blows escalated in intensity for a bit until Betsy cried off and ran to get an adult. So the Kat was in trouble, and the ‘rents were informed.
And we were unhappy to learn about this, there’s no hitting in the family, none at all. Even the bird dog gets a pass, although the Lord knows it is a trial, at times. So we’re unified and aligned with the “no hitting” rule. But all of this we’d had out early in the week when we’d first discovered the malfeasance, and to tears and emotion it was agreed that we had been across the line and that we wouldn’t do that anymore.
But the other mom hadn’t had enough yet, so we had to have a group conference. And she was exactly the way I imagined her, and her daughter was a lifelike simulacrum, one of those people who cannot stand to be in a position of moral superiority without grinding it in. And the principal was all about talking it out and expressing our feelings and although I stayed engaged and made eye contact and nodded my head thoughtfully at all the right times, I couldn’t help thinking a couple of things to myself:
– The first is that women never talk things out until something explodes, and then they can’t stop talking about it. A guy gets his feelings hurt, you’ll know right away, and odds are the other guy will say, “Whoops, sorry dude, didn’t mean it that way,” and they’ll shake hands and walk away. With women they smile and shrug, right up until the moment where she’s standing over you with the dripping butcher’s knife as you struggle into consciousness and wonder what that cold feeling is, down there under the sheets.
And let me just say for the fellas that I’m really sorry for that image, but there it is.
And then when the explosion finally does occur, the ladies have to talk every last bit of it out, a simple, “Sheesh, sorry” won’t do, no, not if it was ever so.
– And the second thing is that while there were all the right guilt levers and such being toggled and thrown, I couldn’t help thinking that this level of “violence” wouldn’t have gotten the boys sent to their homerooms, far less called upon the principal’s carpet a week later. No – this broke the rules of the female tribe, the one in which all levels of psychic violence are tut-tutted over, but any physical manifestation results in dark warnings about Consequences Next Time.
It was creepy that way – the other girl (“Betsy” by convention) talked about her feelings and said that she’d felt “threatened,” which trust me, is not how 11 year olds talk. Moms put her up to that, the better to skewer you with, my pretty.
Yes, yes – I know my kid was on the wrong side, and all violence is wrong. But she’s mine and I love her and this won’t change that, and a secret, wild part of me wants to know what it felt like to be the one (little slip of a thing that she is) that managed to make the Queen Bee go running for the teacher because she’d been caught in her evil machinations. And I imagine that among any my female readers a secret part agrees with me, even if it’s not allowed to speak. She stood up for herself, and that’s a lesson worth capturing, even if the technique is not approved.
Technique we can work on.
So how is that to start your weekend off?
My goodness we’ve had a busy day!
Some of you are new, and welcome – rest assured, most days I don’t incite rebellion amongst the little folk. Just one of those days.
Anyway, it’s amazing – go down and spend a pleasant hour saying hi to the troops, and swap trackbacks with the local glitterati, and next thing you know you’re having a big day.
Hope you all enjoyed your time. C’mon back when the mood strikes you.
The tip jar thing is still whimsical, and I can’t help wondering who anted up to make the sum and total of my donations account to $69.00
I would blame Eric, wicked sprite that he is, but he’s a college student and doesn’t have any money. So no.
Thanks anyway to all who chipped in. You’ve cleared my Haloscan, Blogrolling and iBlog expenditures for the year and I take that right kindly.
Did that sound like a paean to provision? Didn’t mean too, my thoughts just ran that way. And anyway, I loathe a fund raising drive. The local NPR has been hitting it hot and heavy over the last week, which has essentially made them un-listenable. I’d donate just to shut them up, but it wouldn’t make a difference – they do these drives by the calendar, not by how many neo-con captains they can torment into donation.
I feel, once again, a little conflicted – I listen to NPR on the way to work and back (when I’m in the cage, vice the bike) because, well, it’s interesting. Even if I don’t agree with the programmers’ all too obvious political predisposition. I think they honestly do try to understand those of us on the right, which makes the tone deafness of their attempts all the more amusing.
Speaking of tone deaf, have you heard the complaint about red state voters “voting against their interest”? That’s usually hurled by a member of the blue state cognoscenti, still amazed that anyone could vote for W, who only wants to take away their social security and feed it to Bill Gates. It’s the politics of class warfare, fought by folks who honestly see the world that way. If you’re poor, you ought to vote for their list, because their guy will pay you more money, once he’s in office. It’s in your interest.
But what if folks don’t see the world that way? What if most of us don’t self-organize into class strata, thinking instead that well, maybe we’re going through a rough patch right now, but that with patient dedication and hard work we’ll get through. You know – that whole “American Dream” thing. Work hard, move up.
The folks who want to help us out by handing out? They’re really trying to do the right thing.
It’s the results that worry me. Those things you tax, you tend to reduce. The things that you subsidize, you tend to increase.
Even fighter pilots know that stuff.
Last weekend I went shopping with SNO for his 19th birthday. A pleasant experience, all told. He’s kind of a low-drag kid – wanted a video game. Wanted a digital watch, to train with, for the PRT. Some inserts for his running shoes. Pretty much it.
There was an athletic store we stopped into, just to peek. They had those license plate frames: “I’d rather be (fill in the post-modification noun phrase).”
The first one that caught my eye was, “I’d rather be running.” Which would be cool, if it was true. But it’s not. I run a lot (for me – I think) these days. Twenty to twenty-five miles a week. And I can honestly say that while I know it’s good for me, and I know I need to do it, there are so many things I’d rather be doing than running.
Oh, and today was a pass in review down at the U. for SNO and his NROTC crewe. Good stuff, pomp and circumstance. Bands and color guards, rows and ranks in precision. Fed my martial soul.
Brought the camera, and was worried about finding the man as he marched by – shouldn’t have been concerned. For all that he’s a freshman (‘scuse me, Fourth Class Midshipman) he jumped right out at me, uniform or no –
First company guidon – kind of an honor for a youngster.
And afterwards, when the parade broke up he sought me out and we shared a moment or two. He shook the stiffness out of his joints that comes from too long a period at attention, or parade rest. We’ve all felt that (just not much recently, for us older geese.) And then he went his way and I mine. But not before looking over and seeing him chatting with his friends, and laughing hard at some shared bit of revelry.
I envied him that.
Time to “settle in.”