The Meyers. 2019.
Why can’t you use your shower?”
“I need the space. I worry that I might miss things.”
“Like with shower gel. I may need more coats.”
I look at Griffin. Who talks like this?
“Hello parental unit.”
I guess his brother.
“The mother unit is unable to come to the phone at this moment. How may I help you? Press 1 if you would like to speak to Cooper. Press 2 if you would like hear me burp into the phone.”
“Christian, can you ask Mom if I am supposed to pick up Max also?”
“She says she told you already.”
I look up at the ceiling of the car. “Well, how about you can refresh my memory?”
“Ok, I will give you a clue.”
“Great, what is it?”
“Huh. That was a surprisingly helpful clue.”
“Mom says it comes with the cost of a listening demerit point.”
“How many do I have?”
“She says 9 more and you owe her a Tesla. Bye Dad!”
I look up at the high school. Where is Griffin? I call his phone.
A mechanical voice says “This user has not yet set up a voice mail box.” I think he has had this phone for 4 years.
I call again. No answer. I text. “Where R U?” Immediate answer. “Coming.”
He and his friend Max clamber into the back seat with a chirpy “Why, hello senor!”
“Why don’t you ever answer your phone?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean the button that you push to actually answer the phone and talk into it.”
“I don’t think anybody does that.”
“Max, do you answer your phone?”
“Yeah, no, I don’t do that either.”
Cooper runs out of the airport, rips the door open, throws in his duffle bag and then leaps into the front seat and slams the door and exclaims, “Oh my god, it is FREEZING outside!” It is indeed 28 degrees. And he is wearing shorts and a t-shirt.
“You know, you do live here. It is November.” Cooper is finishing his first semester at the University of Richmond. I think he is learning something. I hope he is learning something.
“Yeah, I guess I forgot.”
Maybe he is learning math.
“Do you think I can change my flight back to Richmond?”
Cooper is now almost 6’3″.
“Dad, I think you are just shrinking. Someday I am going to be able to just hold you in my hand. Like a little baby Dad.”
Ben is home! He is trying to grow a beard. He’s not very far along. I think I can count all the individual hairs on his face. Forty-two.
“How long have you been working on that?”
“Two months, what do you think?
“Why is it that if you go to school in Maine, everybody wants to grow a beard?” Ben is a junior at Colby.
“That’s not true. Some people just go for the mustache.”
“Well, I don’t think that counts as a beard. It looks like you using your face as a lint brush.”
Ben said that his professor thinks he should get his PhD in Computer Science.
“What do you have to do to get a PhD?
“I don’t know.”
“Is that what you want to do?”
“I don’t know.”
“How do you think you will decide?”
“I don’t know.”
I love conversations like this.
“What do you want to talk about?”
“I don’t know. Oh! Wait, let me show you this cool video I found. This guy made a car with Q-tips.”
It does feel like we are in that stage when all of our mouths can move a lot and we can say close nothing at all. Actually, that’s not really fair. Polly likes to talk all the time.
Polly: “Alright, when we sit down everybody has to think of an insightful and interesting question for somebody else.”
Christian jumps in.
“I think Cooper has a new girlfriend. Let us discuss.”
Cooper points out that wasn’t a question.
Griffin highlights that Taylor Swift is coming out with a new album. There was no question in there either.
Ben says, “Griffin, I think you need to shave that little peach fuzz mustache.”
I helpfully jump in, “Griffin, you look like ChiChi Rodriguez.”
Griffin counters that ChiChi Rodriguez doesn’t actually have any facial hair.
I respond that I just like saying ChiChi Rodriquez.
We are now 0 for 6.
Polly tries to course correct.
“Ben, tell us how your day was.” Not actually a question but close!
“Well, my day was good.” Negative points.
Christian brings it back around.
“Dad, can I get some new shoes?” First question! Also negative points.
I look at Polly. “I think this is all your DNA.” Negative points.
Meyer dinner scorecard = -26
If Polly were writing this letter, she would tell you that Ben (21) is headed to St. Andrews in Scotland for a semester abroad; Cooper (18) is trying to rush a fraternity and figure out economics while sending us sunny weather reports every day; Griffin (15) is playing squash, co-hosts a radio show and sits on the student senate and Christian (11) has size 9 feet, dances around the house incessantly, plays anything and stopped eating red meat the minute he saw a movie connecting it to global warming.
However, I don’t know that any of this correlates with us actually getting smarter. Case and point, I am standing here wondering what to do because I just tossed a dishwashing cube into the washing machine. Huh. I really kind of liked those clothes.
Nobody would take our old dilapidated piano so I dragged it outside and started to chop it into pieces with an ax. You can imagine the look of horror from our neighbor who was walking his dog. He got there just in time to see me swing the ax, have the piano sing a plaintive death song, have the ax hit the cast iron backbone, bounce off and dent the car. And that’s kind of a normal day.
But it is this time of year when we know we are blessed. Particularly blessed have all of you in our lives. Love really does make the world go round. We hope this season finds you happy, healthy, and surrounded by it.
Christian, Polly, Ben, Cooper, Griffin, Christian & Riley (dog)