At the moment I am out in California visiting friends for a couple of weeks. You might think this is a vacation but it isn’t as I am meeting with clients, doing a bunch of writing, and in general getting things done. Besides, in my friends’ house there is no such thing as taking it easy. House starts waking up at 6:30 a.m. and calls it a night around midnight 7 days a week.
Truth is I love visiting my friends here just because of the kids and the busy hive the house is round the clock. On my own, forget it I’m not getting up that early, but here I am the guy who is with the kids at breakfast, the guy who drives them to school everyday and so far I’ve attended 3 ballgames in less than a week. They’re great kids covering the 10-17 range so you can only imagine what they are up too.
It is also good for my writing skills to be around them and see how life has changed or not changed over time. The other night I was the only adult at a table with a group of the teens (about 8 of them) chatting over some food after we had shot some hoops. The discussion had the normal gossip and poking fun of teachers and what classes to dread but it also had talk of how friends had been shot or stabbed and how they had to help call for medics. There was talk of who was in what gang or why when there was a lockdown due to a gun one whole wing of the school sorta forgot the ‘lockdown’ part and of course the teachers who were in jail for sex with students or other noteworthy escapades.
We had all this when I was in school but it did sadden me to see that society has made little progress in taking the deadly chaos out of schools. It is hard for kids to find their way if you can’t clear a path for them to walk.
There are things that only kids will do that liven up the day like a teammate who’s mom was yelling non-stop instructions/encouragement when he stepped up to the plate who after a strike suddenly turned to his mom in the stands and said, “Would you shut up mom? I’m batting.” He did it in such a way the whole crowd cracked up. There is the constant fibbing about if the homework is actually done or not, who took a snack when they shouldn’t have, or who used up the hot water in the shower.
One of my favorites happened this afternoon when the kids came home from school, one took a small yogurt and started eating it then got a funny look on his face. “This yogurt tastes funny” he said. A couple more bites and he looked at the carton then exclaimed, “That’s why! It’s Strawberry and other natural flavors.” I asked, “Don’t you like strawberry?” “Oh, I love strawberry just not other natural flavors.” I’ve been laughing about that all day.
Somehow in all this chaos I’ve managed to write a children’s book, start formatting an e-book, do major research, and secure a major pitch meeting. Oh, did I mention I got my first sunburn of the year? Nice to be back in the desert again.