A while back my kids asked me to tell them something about life in the eighties and I talked about how a couple of my car stereos were stolen.
They asked if it made me angry and I said very and and told them about how I got a “pull out car stereo.”
“At first it was cool and then it wasn’t so cool.
Between that and The Club I used to lock the steering wheel on my Camaro it was a project driving.”
They nodded their heads but I knew neither one of them really understood the hassle of carrying the stereo everywhere or having to take extra steps to protect your car.
Granted my perspective as a man approaching middle age is different than the 20 year-old who was a full time student with an ok part-time job.
Back then doing it was just something I accepted, but I wouldn’t today.
Boys & Girl…Friends
Not long ago the almost 16-year-old told me he wished I hadn’t sold our CRV because he thought it would have been a good first car.
I told him he would have loved being the cool kid with the cassette player and that he would have been better rewinding the tape when it got pulled out than I was.
He thought I was making a reference to having a girlfriend and made a point to make sure I wasn’t and then relaxed when I explained why I thought he would be better at rewinding.
“You’re much more methodical and patient about stuff like that than I am. I have to focus harder on it than you do.”
The conversation set off a parade of memories in my head one of which was a time when he might have been seven or eight and decided to talk to me about girls.
I don’t remember it word for word but it made me laugh because he told me how hard it could be dealing with girls because they didn’t agree with a lot of what he said.
Sort of paralleled a relatively recent conversation where he told me he about how infuriating his sister could be.
“Sometimes she is the coolest person and then she changes and she is so difficult.”
I laughed and told him there will be moments during the rest of his life when he thinks a girl or girls is the coolest person ever and then he’ll wonder when she was possessed.
“She’ll say things that make your head spin and your eyes bug out. You’ll think she is crazy and find out she thinks you are crazy too.
If it is a good friend or someone who is important you’ll work through it and things continue, but sometimes you won’t.
The thing to remember is that this isn’t limited to boys and girls.
Sometimes you’ll have guy friends who you have disagreements with too.
The point is that people are people and that means sometimes you’ll get along with them and sometimes you won’t.
But if they are important to you, well you need to make sure you let them know.”
Changes & More To Come
Some men compartmentalize things and by some men I am referring to me.
I was involved in a moment a short time ago that inspired me to take a look at some of the stuff I had packed away and was surprised at what I found there.
Surprised by the depth of the anger it pulled out of me because for a brief moment I was as about as angry as I get.
The past chunk of years have been filled with some big changes and there are a bunch more coming down the pike.
Some of that has guided these conversations and made me work hard to do what I can to try and help prepare the kids.
But there are some things you can’t really plan or prepare for and can only learn about through experiencing them.
So no matter what I want to do or how hard I try there are limits on the help I can provide.
It is frustrating and I cannot help but wonder about the connection between those changes and certain things.
What happens to me is one thing, but others, well that is harder.
The interesting thing to me about the anger from the aforementioned moment is how quickly it passed.
It is unusual because it takes an awful lot for me to get that pissed off and it made me aware of just how much I have been carrying around.
And then it made me smile because of how quickly it passed and the realization that I had figured some important stuff out.
A better writer and storyteller than I am would take this moment to smoothly connect you to the present and the 20 year-old kid with the pull out car stereo.
I am not him yet so you’ll have to settle for me saying that the stuff of the past few years would have broken that kid into pieces.
He would have gone crazy trying to force the circle into the square, but the not quite middle aged man doesn’t worry like he did.
That is because I am comfortable saying things will unfold as they will and the biggest question is whether I roll with or against it.
And for what it is worth, I would give the 20 year-old $10 bucks and say so go buy a new tape because nobody has time to waste trying to fix that kind of crazy mess today.
Wise 7-year-old you had. Who knew the issues he noticed then would continue throughout his life?
A very wise boy indeed.