The Mills Of God
The Other Season In Minnesota

No. Really. This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You.

First, forgive me while I shake my cane but: ay yi yi, kids today.

The resources with which the modern child is able to communicate never cease to astonish me. When *I* was in seventh grade I would say goodbye to my mother, walk three long blocks to the bus stop, climb aboard the  city bus and tootle off to school. If I was bleeding from the eyes during the day I probably could have gone to the office and someone there might have been able to track down a parent for me, but under normal circumstances that morning farewell was the last contact I had with my family until everyone returned home again.

And it was fine.

Patrick, in contrast, was issued a laptop and an email account at the start of the year and now hardly a day goes by that I don't receive some midday communication from him. Usually it is simply to remind me where to pick him up (his last hour alternates between buildings every day and I am... not so good at remembering) but occasionally he has a school-related request like: could you find a photograph of each these twelve family members for me and then send them ASAP for a Spanish project? [Long Answer: No. Longer Answer: Since I am sure this was not assigned five minutes ago I can only suggest that you ask for an extension and use your time more wisely in the future.]

Today I got a chatty little missive asking me to remind him to bring something or other on Tuesday for writing class, also would I mind bringing him a giant bottle of icy cold water at pickup, oh, and...

"P.P.S. I was sent to the office for being a smart as…terix asterix asterix. (***) More details to come. ;)"

D'Arvit!

The wink! He ended it with a wink! I can only hope the details include "Ha Ha just kidding of course I didn't get sent to the bloody office with only nine goddamned days left in the school year" because otherwise I will have to devise and implement a suitable punishment. And - this is a parental secret so try not to let it get around - punishing children sucks. Not because we care about their angst (we don't) but because appropriate consequences inevitably mean loss of privileges and loss of privileges leave affronted small people with the idea that they have nothing else to do but follow you around, complaining. 

Edward is particularly adept at this and I swear it takes everything I have sometimes not to just snap, "Argh! Fine! Watch Octonauts! Use my phone to call Tokyo! Here's a Kindle! Just... go away!"

Patrick is more subtle but equally annoying. The last time he lost access to his computer in response to a transgression he responded by sitting in the living room. For hours. Reading a dictionary. ALOUD.

PS I started this earlier so I am able to end with an update, which is fortunate because you know how much I like an arc.

When he got into the car I said, "Office? What? What the hell? NINE DAYS. What did you do? Who sent you?"

Patrick answered the last question, "I have no idea" and then, anticipating my disbelief, explained, "I was walking between the buildings and you know that part that curves around the trash? Well I cut across rather than use the crosswalk like everyone does but a couple of teachers were there and one called, 'Hey! Use the walk!' and I said 'The parking lot drag racers might run me over?' because there were no cars around anywhere and the teacher said 'Do you want to take that lip to Mr. School Director?'

"And?"

"And that was it."

I thought about it.

"Stop being obnoxious or else," I decreed.

Thank heavens he didn't ask: or else what?  I might have had to take his computer AND his dictionary away.

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