Friday, July 9, 2010

car trip from HELL

My son (3 1/2 years) and I will be leaving the women in our lives behind for one weekend in August, as we head north to Vermont, aka the Blessed Realm where all the women are earthy, all the men are well-weathered, and all the children can kick my butt and laugh about it over a beer afterward.

I dread this, because if, like me, you've watched movies or read books or listened to stand-up comics during your lifetime, you'll know that there is a 90% chance that this car trip will feature perhaps eight spoken words, mostly about coffee and lane-changing.

The playful verbal sparring we've enjoyed to this point in his young life will be gone forever after the oppressive silence endured on this journey. We'll realize that there was never much substance behind our poop jokes, our fart banter, our that-orange-train-is-bigger-than-that-purple-train-no-it's-not was all so much piff and twaddle and ho-hum. Plus, we'll hardly see any trains out the window anyway, and Jackson's fascination with tunnels is surely to be tested as Boston recedes, and we head further up into the tunnel-less extremes of the VT interstate.

And I know what my colleagues will say: "Audiobooks!! Bring audiobooks!!" Pfff. If I put one of those on it will only serve to remind us both that we have given up, we have conceded to each other and the world that We Have Nothing To Say To Each Other.

But I guess it's just one of those things that every man and boy has to go through.
It's in all the books. Father/son dysfunction is the norm.

But hell, I'm not giving in. I can make up goofy rhyming songs for hours. Hardly anyone knows this except my wife and children, but seriously, for hours. When he tells me to shut up, I'll throw on a recording of Frog & Toad, and we'll be golden until the one about cookies comes on and he demands cookies for half an hour, at which point I'll have composed a fourteen minute cookie song in my head, filled with toots and trains and snails and poop, and the wheel of time and three-year-old entertainment will roll on.
And when we get there, we'll tumble out onto the Vermont grass and roll around under the Vermont sky, and all will be as it was, but even better.

And then we'll come back, and the women won't recognize us. Jackson's beard will be commented upon dourly by his mother, who already has to suffer silently through my ever-present scruff. Libbie, a one-year-old who tries on every shoe she can get her hands on, will grieve over Daddy's insistence on going barefoot, even here in the city.

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