I have long watched herds of teens roaming the neighbourhoods we’ve lived in and wondered, “Where are their parents?” “Did her mother SEE what she left the house in this morning?” “How could that boy be allowed to walk out with no coat?” I would then make clucking noises and shake my head.
Oh, how far the smug have fallen…
Fear not, I am still shaking my head and making odd noises that no one pays any mind to. However, this happens as I stand at my own front door (slightly hidden on purpose behind the doorway so my teenage son doesn’t see me watching) as my boy walks off our property wearing nothing but a t-shirt and torn jeans. Beneath my feet, the furnace thrums away in our basement.
Because its bloody cold outside.
I get it now.
Herds of teens roam the chilly streets of Toronto inappropriately dressed not because they’re parentless urchins but because that is how they like it. No, let me re-phrase that: that is how they demand it.
As I stood impotently in the foyer holding out a hoodie, my son barked at me in his ever-deepening voice, “I’m FINE!” Which means, “Mom, if you come one step closer to me with that thing I will burn it with the lasers that will shoot out of my eyeballs, I’ll incinerate you and the hoodie right there.”
My daughter, God love her, has only this year seemed to show more common sense but with girls it’s different. Coats, jackets, even puffy parkas, can be a fashion statement – as can warm winter boots. Boys – a species I have lived 50 years not understanding and will probably go to my grave no wiser about – are different. Boys have to show that they’re tough or cool or at the very least, that they can survive their own stupidity.
So, as I watch the skinny figure of my boy walk into the morning sun (thank God for that at least), I shake my head and wander off to find my fleece-lined slippers. At the top of the stairs I look into his room, a den of computer cords, phone chargers, headphones and an unmade bed. I walk down the hall sounding like a discontented barnyard hen. Cluck, cluck.
Getting it doesn’t make me any happier.