Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ode to teenage boys aka 16-year-old UFOs with BO

Some mothers do have 'em. I like to think it's just my Mum, but I have heard enough horror stories to think it fitting to call sixteen-year-old boys unidentified foreign objects with body odor. Why? Because they are alien to me. I cannot understand them and find it hard to live with them.

Here are some reasons why:

1. When he walks through a closed door (particularly in winter when the kitchen and lounge room are the warmest rooms in the house) he doesn't close it. When you remind him that normal people close doors they open he walks away in a huff as if I always pick on him.

2. After school my mum leaves biscuits on the table to snack on before dinner. If there is one biscuit left in the packet he will eat the biscuit and leave the empty packet on the table. Apparently it's for the maid to clean up.

3. My room is his personal laundry. Almost every night as I enter my room to go to bed I either trip over of step on his clothes post-shower. He doesn't even bother to go near his room and throw them on his bed (clothes hangers to him are what water is to the Wicked Witch of the West). Instead he throws them from the hallway and nine times out of ten they wind up splayed over the entry to my bedroom. Sometimes his clothes don't even make it off the bathroom floor.

4. He has 20 minute showers. Why? Because he thinks the more he washes his face the less likely it is that he will get more pimples. His other favourite excuse is that he 'forgets' he is in the shower and just stands there staring into space. I doubt that would work if we switched off the hot water.

5. He feels inclined to wash his short hair every second day. He then sits there and blow dries his hair. Why? Because he wants it to dry straight to give it that mob Beatle-esque style. Then when people tell him he looks like George Harrison he scoffs and thinks they are crazy.

6. Music has no volume limit. Whether he's playing guitar with the amp on or listening to rubbish music, the fact that I have a big essay to write and sitting in the next room means I can hear every blasted bass note does not register with him that he should probably turn the volume down. Or put on that magnificent invention- headphones. His response: "You're always doing uni assignments." Yes, that is what people do when they go to university, they work. He magically forgets our month-long holidays when I don't bug him but always remembers when I do my singing warm-ups and work on some repertoire for an hour every night.

7. The computer is the centre of his universe. I can go days without seeing him. Once he's home from school he is on the computer. He eats dinner, has a shower and is then back on the computer. Apparently homework is for stupid people. He still wants to go to university to study computer science though. Might be a bit of a rude shock for him.

8. He eats with his mouth open. When I politely remind him this is a pet hate of many people (particularly me) he thinks I'm overreacting. He also thinks he doesn't eat with his mouth open.

9. Big sisters are good because they own cars and have credit cards, he thinks. He rarely talks to me until he wants either of these things. When I remind him I'm not a rental service but his sister his response is: "are you going to help me or not?" Warm and fuzzies right there.

10. Sleep can be interrupted for style advice, according to the book of teenage boy. Now that I have later starts at university I don't have to get up as early as he does for school. That doesn't matter to him because whenever there is a mufti-day (you can wear your own clothes instead of the school uniform) or he is going out with his friends the world stops as he barges into my room, wakes me up and as he looms over me asks: "Does this outfit look O.K?" You see, big sister's car and credit card are the best for shopping trips when big sister drags teenage boy around the shops to do a seasons worth of shopping and then proceeds to be consulted every time he wears anything she picked for him.

That's just breaking the tip of the ice berg but am I alone here? Are teenage boys really another species entirely?

My hope is that when he eventually grows up he will learn to take more responsibility for himself and use his brain every once in a while so he doesn't drive his wife insane.

Wishful thinking, perhaps, but here's to hoping.

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