Mr. Son started a new job yesterday. I was excited. He was going to be out in the world again, and making some money to boot. Plus, he was working!
Today, I arrived home around 5:45, his car was already here. I walked in to find him at the computer. I could tell by his eyes, that he had only recently awoken.
* * * * * * *
"How long have you been home?"
"What are you doing?"
"Applying for jobs online."
Long pause, my anger and disappointment building.
"I have never been so disappointed in you!"
"Why? Why did you quit!"
"I couldn't face it, it was like a factory job, monotonous, no thinking, nothing, I just couldn't face it."
* * * * * * *I left the room, poured myself a glass of wine, exited the house, sat on the deck watching the clouds, thinking, thinking, thinking. How do I get through to him? How do I make him understand that this was a really stupid move? God, I am such a failure as a mother, a son who's a quitter, who won't stick it out because it is boring? A son who doesn't know what it's like to be hungry, to need a place to sleep, to not be clean, to be sick and have nowhere to go, to have nothing? How did I screw up so badly? How did we? Every thing's been too easy for him. Do I kick him out? I can't do that, I know I can't, and even if I did, his dad would just let him move in with him. What the fuck? He's an idiot! God, what did I do wrong?
I went back into house, he was still at the computer, typing away, and talking on the phone to a friend. I lay down on the bed, closed my eyes, and just listened. His answers to Z's questions were some of the answers I was seeking. But, they weren't good enough for me.
Mr. Son signed off the computer, and started to leave. I asked him to stay, to talk to me.
* * * * * * *
"What are your dreams?"
" Your pie in the sky dream, the dream that you may even think will never come to fruition, that you may even think others think is stupid, but you want to do it anyway?"
"I don't have any."
"I really hope you do. In fact, I can't imagine you not having some dream, something."
"I don't have one that anyone would think is too high, or too stupid."
"OK, then, tell me, tell me please. What is it? What do you want?"
"I want to travel."
"OK, you want to travel."
"How are you going to do that, what else are you going to do? What else do you want?"
"I love you so much. You have such a good, loving heart, and so smart, the way you think, analyze and understand so many concepts, theories, and constructs constantly amazes me. But right now, I am so disappointed with what you've done. I want more for you. You have to think about your future, when you're my age, even younger, when you're in your late 20's, your 30's, you have to have health insurance, savings, things are going to change here really soon, in a matter of years, maybe less than five, most definitely within ten, there will probably be no social security, people are going to be scrambling for jobs, any job."
"I know. I want to make a difference though. I want to make people aware."
"Aware of what?"
"I want people to know what we're doing to our climate, to our world, but I don't want to do that through science, that isn't enough, I want to do it through pictures, with words."
"So how come you aren't writing, how come you aren't taking photographs?"
"Because I don't have a good enough camera."
I just shook my head.
"Because I am afraid...I am afraid I will do the same thing with it that I have done with everything else."
"What is that?"
"I will stop."
"I will realize it is not enough. It just won't fit."
"I couldn't see myself getting a job with a linguistics degree. I really like linguistics, but what could I do with it? How is that going to help make people aware of what is happening to our world? "
"Everything we do adds to it. I have to tell myself that. One person can make a difference. Even if it is only one person's life. We can make a difference. I make a difference."
"And, as to languages, linguistics, science, photography, art...all of your interests can get you there. Each one can/does build upon the other."
"I have told you so many times, you can use your knowledge of Spanish, you can use your knowledge of Japanese to get jobs. Hell, you could tutor other kids, and still go to school."
"You have to get back in school. You're not going to have any job better than boring without an education, without a degree, in fact if you want to go far, you'll need at least a Masters. You have to find that spark inside you, that tells you that YOU WANT IT."
"Mom, you do make a difference, and I know that one person can make a difference, but I want more than that."
"Great, you want more than that."
"How badly do you want it? You don't seem to want it badly enough."
"You said you wanted to get back in school, you said you didn't want to take out loans to do that. If so, why did you quit a job that would have had you saving over a thousand a month? You could have set a monetary goal, and when you reached it then you could've quit, to go for your dream. But you didn't. What do you want? You have to find out what you want. You have to want it so badly that you will do almost any job to get it, it doesn't matter if you're cleaning up raw sewage, if you want it badly enough, you'll do it. Find what you want, find what you so badly that the job won't matter, the goal will matter."
"I am disappointed in myself, it was a really stupid move."
"You're right, it was. You're an idiot, you may have some genius level IQ, but you are a genius level idiot.
"So, if you really want to be a photo journalist, then get your ass back in school. And, ya'know what? Everything you are interested in isn't mutually exclusive, it does...it can all flow together. Anyway...who is going to listen...who is going to want to read what a 21 year old drop out has to say? Who's going to believe you know what you're talking about? Like it or not, our society listens to the educated. Why?"
"Because, we know they were interested enough to stick it out, to study it all, to work for it. You're right, I am a genius level idiot."
"Yes, you are. Find it, do it. Please, please get back in school. It really does matter. It all ends up mattering. Take your photo classes, the journalism, the English, literature, writing classes, take electives of all the other subjects that interest you, it all does matter. Then, people will listen, at least some."
"You're right, when I was in school, even the semesters I took such varied classes, linguistics, languages, philosophy, biology, astronomy, calculus, they all fit together, they all were connected in one way or another."
"You're an idiot."
"Call them back, tell them you want the job back."
"Alright, I know you won't, I'm not sure I could make myself do that. But, you do owe H an apology, he gave you a reference, got you the interview, you owe him that at least. I don't care what you say, tell him it was boring beyond words, but apologize to him for being such an idiot."
"I do owe him an apology. I have to find something positive out of all this."
"There is nothing positive. You are an idiot. You had a chance to make some money for school, for traveling, to buy that camera you want, now the only thing you have open to you are minimum wage jobs, that there are a thousand people applying for. And tell me, how is working in the stock room at Wal-Mart going to be any better?"
"I made a mistake, but I won't go back, I hope this will make me realize that I do have to work harder for my goal. I have to do something, and soon."
"Yeah. You owe me rent."
"You owe me rent, and tomorrow, you are going to mow, clean the house, walk the dog, and apply for jobs." "Are you using a resume? "
"No, I haven't updated my resume in years."
"Then do it. Make sure you list all the responsibilities you've had on other jobs. As I said, each experience builds on the other. I don't care what kind of job you are applying for, attach your resume. It shows what you can do, what you want to do, and what you have learned. Use your transcripts too. And if you want an interesting job, then apply at some of the campus bars as a bouncer, use your size if not your brain. But get a job, save, go for you dream."
"Why, those jobs don't matter, the classes don't matter? There is no solid field of study on my transcripts?
"I could do that, K works in a bar. We talked about a lot of this stuff you and I are talking about recently, he's almost done with school, and having a really hard time making himself go to class, but he knows he is almost done."
"Yep, almost all of your friends are almost done, but, that doesn't matter either. What matters, is...you have to get back in school. An education, and work experience will all matter in the long run. I just want you to chase your dreams. "
"Your Dad, made a mistake, he's worked a job for 25 years he hates, has always hated, because of security."
" But, it's not like I can really talk, I took the easy way out for years. I stayed home, let someone else take care of me. Now I too, have to chase my dreams. I want to, I hope I do. I want you to, please. Find what you want. Find what you want and go for it. You're an idiot by the way."
"You mean Dad was afraid to take a risk."
"He does hate it, it has even made him dislike things he used to love. We talked about that. He asked me if I liked working on my car. I told him, kinda yeah. He said he used to like it too, but with all the stuff he has to do in his job, he hates working on things now."
"I know this, I believe...yes...you should love what you do...when you are out there working to make a living to live the rest of your life...but now, and while you are in school...that doesn't matter as much, because you will be working to be able to do what you love. Now you work to eat, to pay your way through school, so you can do what you love. So you can try to make a difference. Right now this instance, you can't do that."
I hit him on the knee
"You are an IDIOT!"
* * * * * * *
He smiled, agreed with me, and went to his friends house. I hope, I pray, as he is driving, and talking with his friends, he is also thinking very very hard about the stupid mistake he just made, and hoping beyond hope, that he is thinking about making his dreams come true.
Sigh...he is an idiot. But I love him, idiocy and all. I have no idea if the conversation made any difference. Maybe I should have been tougher, meaner. But, that is not me. I can only say what I feel, in the way I feel it. I hope it was enough. Will be enough, I will not give up on him. I will not stop nagging, and pushing...and eventually, I know if I have to harden my heart to do it. I will push him out of the nest...HARD!
And, I also know, he probably won't mow the yard tomorrow.