Another Thank You to Janine Mendes-Franco for picking up a Jenius post again. Someday, I have to meet her.
They gather just outside the fence that separates the Presbyterian church from the school area. Their ages range from late-40s/early 50s to mid-70s. They greet each other lightly, casually and after routine preliminaries, they begin their conversation. And lord love a duck are they a banal bunch.
The heat. Or the rain. Or yesterday's heat/rain. The price of gas. One or two headlines from a local daily, most often some hideous crime. The governor and how useless he is. The legislature and how useless some of them (usually the governor's men and women) are. Taxes. And whatever happened years ago to one of them that has a passing connection to today's insipidness.
They used to greet Me. They don't bother anymore, for I never answered. Now they refuse to acknowledge My presence, which serves Us all fine. For almost two years, their group hasn't varied very much, the parents and grandparents of My son's classmates. They know I always show up with something to read or jabbering away on My cell phone. I sit near them because there is no space far from them. I wish they'd dry up and blow away. They probably wish Me the same or worse.
My disgust with them is based on the bright children they come to pick up. Fun-loving, sweet kids who ask Me if it's My birthday every day (as I claim) or if My hat was in a movie (as I also claim.) They know I'm kidding. The way I see it, school's out! Time to have fun! But the adults around Me are ass-deep in their own ruts, incapable of a new thought, a new idea or a new way of seeing things. They see Me (most likely) as an alien, a clown, a bad influence and/or someone who's clear proof that not everyone who is a parent should be.
Maybe I'm making too much of these brief encounters, these half-hours of mid-afternoon avoidance We engage in. But I bet I'm right, for after all, their kids and grandkids ask Me if I read so much because I'm in college (because "they" say reading is only for those in school, perhaps?), if I show up early because I lost My job (self-employed professionals only exist in movies, right?) and if My son likes being with Me (I kid you not, pun intended.)
Now you tell Me: Is that the kind of question a kid thinks up to ask an adult all by himself?
I don't think so either. "They," the rut dwellers, can't figure Me out. Maybe I haven't nailed them either. But one thing We're sure of: We don't give a damn for each other.
And yet, that probably means We lose more than We might gain, right?
The Jenius Has Spoken.