It’s official: Our eldest grandchild is now both a legal adult and a weirdo. He turned 18 years old on the first, and we called the young man to wish him a happy day because (a) Tucson is far away and (b) we have other compelling reasons to avoid Tucson. It was a good call, and in fact it was a fucking excellent call.
Weirdo Point One (in no particular order): Among their plans for the day was taking the young man out for his first coffee. Our daughter told us about it: Apparently he decided at some point that coffee is an adult beverage so he wouldn’t drink it. He’s been making the morning coffee for his mom and stepdad for years but hasn’t ever tried even a sip of it. He’s never had a sip of alcohol, either. They’ve offered him a small glass of wine at each recent holiday meal but his response has always been the same: “I’m not 21 yet so no, thank you”.
Weirdo Point Two: He’s the first kid I’ve ever known who was perfectly happy to go out with his parents (mom and stepdad) for his birthday dinner.
Weirdo Point Three: He chose of his own accord to wait until the age of 18 to acquire his driver’s license. He could have had it two years ago but said he didn’t want it yet. At any point in the past two years all he’s had to do was say that he wanted it, and he could have gotten his license and a car, his mother’s sporty looking Saturn coupe, to go with it, but he wanted to wait.
Weirdo Point Four: He enjoys talking to his freaky old grandparents, says he misses us (because we haven’t visited since the Christmas before we returned to Colorado), and wants to come up for a visit this summer. When I was 18 I didn’t want to even see my parents, let alone my grandparents with whom I had, so far as I knew, absolutely nothing in common beyond some genes. I hated talking to the grandparents because of the awkwardness of it, because it was clear that they really weren’t all that interested in knowing me as a human being, and I certainly didn’t want to spend time with them. But here’s this kid who says that he just can’t wait to get here because he likes spending time with us, misses the mountains, and wants to do some cooking with me. He said, “I’ll bring my cooking hat”, which is a “dew rag” that’s just like mine, black with a red chile print, that I gave him when he was here for the summer eleven years ago. Eleven years(!) and he’s still got the thing. Wow.
It’s pretty clear that I’ve corrupted the kid. I turned him on to the love of cooking, and he says that he wants to travel the world to experience new cuisines and bring home the specialized utensils used to prepare them. Once upon a time he was a very picky eater who was more apt to turn his nose up at a new dish than to get even close enough to smell it — all three of our daughter’s sons have started out that way, and so far I’ve got two of them converted. The youngest is next, and just as with the older two momma says this one won’t change. Ha!
He, the eldest that is, plans to have a career as an engineer working in robotics, my old field. I’m the only technologist in the entire extended family so I’m taking credit for being the corrupting influence. I worry, though, that it could be a nearly dead field here in North America so his prospects may be few. His angle is nanobots, or nanorobots, which might have some life in it yet. Or it might not. Time will tell.
He’s taken some practice college entrance exams and scored in the top 20%, but says that he intends to bring those scores way up. He’ll do it, too, because once he’s set his mind to a thing it’s as good as done. When he was in elementary school, the system corrupted dipshits there labeled him as some kind of learning challenged or disabled or whatever was trendy at the time, when in fact his only glitch was that he couldn’t relate to their NCLB bullshit because he’s too bright for it. Throw the information at him rapidly and he’ll absorb all of it and be hungry for more, but force him to memorize test answers and sit quietly while the dumbest kid in the room sets the pace and he’s going to catch none of it at all. I guess that’s one of the modern hallmarks of some kind of attention deficit disorder, but I’m gonna call bullshit. I was the same way when I was a kid, but in the 60’s it wasn’t pathologized and treated with dangerous drugs as it is today. Fortunately, his momma was wise enough to reject the strident demands that he be drugged into a state more to the liking of a self serving school system.
I will now terminate my rant about the systematic indoctrination system to which we euphemistically refer as “public education”. But not before I say fuck those people and their damnable system for the harm they’re doing to bright children, and especially fuck those who are doing it because it’s their chosen ideology. Go fix or fuck your own life on your own time, assholes!
When the kid was here for the summer of 2003 he was actually behind his peers in school. Naturally. First they put his brain to sleep, then they introduced new information — and made out like he was the one who was deficient. We spent a little bit of each day catching him up, and the only difficult part of it was convincing him that it was perfectly okay to not know a thing, there was no reason to become emotionally involved with it, and we would not be judging him. Once he got past that barrier he soaked knowledge up like a sponge, and upon mastering something he’d found challenging he’d Tigger bounce and dance all around the living room in celebration. Before the summer was over he was ahead of his peers, and he got a boost from having a tutor for much of the following school year so he’s been ahead of the curve ever since.
I still don’t quite know what to make of an 18 year old kid being eager to spend time with his grandparents. It probably indicates that he’s some kind of misfit dork. The kid hasn’t even challenged his parents the way most teenagers do. His mom and stepdad just rave about what a good kid he is, and that just ain’t normal. But that’s okay because normal sucks. I mean no offense to any normals who might have found the wrong blog, but let’s be honest with ourselves here and openly admit that normality is a very mundane state from which nothing inspiring has ever arisen. I’d much rather that my eldest grandson be a misfit dork. It ups his odds of real success and keeps him interesting.
I’m glad he’s a weirdo. If nothing else, we’ll always have that in common. 🙂