Those of you who have raised 11 year old boys are familiar with the "I dunno" syndrome. I’m dangerously close to being 55 and I’m not male but I find myself afflicted. What’s up with me? I dunno. What’s new? I dunno. For 3 days I’ve been saying, "Hey! Me! Snap out out of it! Are me depressed? Confused? What can me do to help?!?"
Which is odd, since what’s new is my daughter has gone and gotten herself launched. Out into the world. Her trajectory course is high and straight and she’s sailing away. So here’s the bare bones report and at some point I’ll try and figure out how I’m feeling but right now, I just dunno.
I arrived at midnight and there she was at the curb in her 13 year old Miata convertible (with 204,000 miles), smiling like a moonbeam. (Insert some feeling stuff here.)
Here is her little pool house apartment. Here is her little kitchen. This is the child
that we have all been taking to task these past few years for her slovenly habits and copious sticky culinary accidents.
She had clean sheets on the trundle bed for me and a fresh towel in the tiny bath. She showed me the inside of her closet where every single thing was straight on a hanger and the inside of her cupboards (where I was appalled to discover two boxes of Quaker Instant Grits. Grits, for heaven’s sake.) On her bed was the blanket I knit her and "Belly Button Bear". This 19 year old little floppy bear still has the pink button sewed on to simulate Abby’s very pronounced umbilical hernia that didn’t fully disappear until she was six. Whatever.
She got up to an early alarm and headed off on her bike to class. And then we met up for lunch and she went back to her Thursday classes and then we met up for dinner. And then she studied and I read. On Friday and Saturday we did some other stuff like go shopping, get massages, check out the Bay and Gulf, buy fresh food at the Saturday Market and, uh, wander around and, uh, I dunno.
Her cell phone had dried out enough to receive calls by Friday (remember, she put it through the washing machine when she was busy getting tidied up for mama’s visit) and by Saturday it was fully recovered and she could make calls. Abby has never been one to linger on the phone for more than the minute it takes to handle logistics but it was clear that she has many new friends, places to go and people to meet. She introduced me to her closest friend and we all went out to lunch.
Those of you who have come by often remember that Abby, who could have quite literally gone to any University she wanted, never filled out applications, stayed in town an extra year after high school, signed up for ancient Greek at a nice little local Lutheran college and aced that, but basically, she was aimless for a year. So while all her high powered friends were racing headlong off to Brown and Harvard, Abby was doing that little horse dance, turning in circles, rearing up and standing like a dolt in the starting gate. That was an infuriating conundrum to those of us who are close to her but there was nothing to be done about it. The only response we could get from her was, "I dunno."
"What do you want to do?" "Dunno."
"Well, where would you like to go to school?" "Dunno."
"Abby! How do you plan to support yourself?!?" "Uh, I dunno."
She didn’t literally do nothing for a year- she worked hard at several crummy jobs to pay for her basic needs and she did some incredible diving in Costa Rica- but, by and large, I have no idea what was going on with her.
This year she is in the Honors College and the Environmental Science and Policy Program. She is taking classes like Acquisition of Knowledge and AC Calc 2 and Rain Forest Ecology. She was working on a paper offering up proofs on both sides of the argument as to whether something exists. I looked at the assignment and it suggested a thing like a chair or a bed. Abby wanted to do it on "song" so one evening I was there she and her professor were rapidly e-mailing back and forth discussing the various layers of complication she was adding to her argument and how that could work out for her. She was having a discussion with a teacher. A teacher was actually responding quickly with thoughts and questions and encouragement. What did I think of this? I just dunno.
What else? Let’s see…hmmm…ah! You think I’ve been missing in action but that’s just because I haven’t had much to say. I tasted Bonnie’s fish and chips, copied down Angie’s biscuit recipe, thought about Jen’s feelings of being self-employed. I always look at Roxanne’s pictures. I took Sp00k’s beautiful compilation of my photos and put it up as my banner- thank you, Amy! I usually go see Arethusa but right now she reminds me of someone so, I dunno, I haven’t been by there for the past four or five. I always visit Hoss but the last few days just felt lost in the crowd over there.
Here, Hoss (in lieu of comments this past week):
A Polish immigrant goes to the Department of Motor Vehicles to apply for a driver’s license and is advised that he has to take an Eye Test.
The optician shows him a card with the letters:
C Z W I X N O S T A C Z
"Can you read this?" the optician asks. "Read it?" the Polish man replies, "I know that guy."
Amy asks what’s up with my son. Dan wants me to minimize his exposure here but I’ve pointed out to him that this is my place and I can do what I want with it, within respectful limits. That being said, he’s doing great. He’s playing and composing and studying and running. He and Jill were around over the weekend and Jill practiced her cello here, much to my delight. He did a 20 mile run on Saturday; Jill ran 10. He is doing a full marathon and Jill the half in about 10 days. Ask me how I feel about the fact that he has trained himself in fairly short order to run the Detroit Free Press Marathon after I’ve spent his entire life worrying about his congenital heart defect? All together now! "I dunno."
I’m thinking if I come by and see what’s shakin’ at your place I might get jump started over here. Especially if there’s lust and passion between Jim and Lu and maybe Mamacita is off on a rant…