Aging & Attitude
We have been to the beach in the morning, a barbeque in the afternoon and are walking to the Town Green for evening fireworks. Mr. Wonderful spies a stone wall spot, wide enough for two fannies, on the Green and inquires of the boy sitting next to his family, “Are these taken?”
The space is available; we sit and attempt to get comfortable on the hard rock.
The kid has a sour face and being a Grandma, I poke him with my elbow and say in a friendly way, “You don’t look happy.”
“I’m bored,” is his response.
“What’s wrong with being bored?” I ask. “It isn’t an illness; people get bored, great thoughts are given birth by boredom.”
His perplexed look is memorable, not rude and I continue talking. “How long have you been bored?”
“A few minutes,” he mumbles but sits up, straightens his back.
I have his attention, now what to do with it. “You must have an exciting life if you’ve only been bored a few minutes.”
“Actually I do, have you ever heard of Malaysia?”
I nodded my head yes.
“I was born in Malaysia, before my parents got married, then we moved to California. They got married and I have two brothers. Now we live in Georgia.” He informs me with animation.
His mother’s glance in my direction confirms my inclination not to ask questions. I lean forward to see his brothers who look nothing like him.
Thinking, better bring the conversation back to boring I say, “Boredom could be time for your brain to rest, or think. You seem thoughtful, how old are you?”
“Why don’t you guess?” is his baited reply.
I study his intelligent eyes and sudden smile, and decided to err on the side of older. “Thirteen?”
“Gee, most people say ten or eleven, I’m twelve.” He answers not hiding his pleasure.
“Seems you’re a thinker, does your school encourage thinking?” He knows my point without further explanation.
“Well you see, mostly you have to have the right answer, but the teacher lets us fight but everyone yells and I…
I interject, “we called it discussions or debates, and the yelling, heated or passionate, like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson did in Congress.”
His mind fast, forwards, “Well, have you heard of the Marshal Art Taekwondo? See I’m a black belt, the, master is very strict with me, well, like if I don’t do something I have to do push ups, because I will be like a leader, like keeping peace. Well, it’s like teaching etiquette, or right, have you heard about etiquette?”
“Like a Benjamin Franklin?” I ask, and watch him absorb my comment as the first fireworks explode across the sky.
We are both quiet for the next half hour and enjoy the special effects of our conversation.
Leaving, I ask, “What is your name?”
“Joshua,” he answers with a smile of perfect teeth.
“Joshua, thanks for talking with me.”
I want to say, but don’t, “I’ve heard of discipline and etiquette and feel hopeful for America, you have too.”
The thought lingers in the air.
. . . . Just saying