OK, so you’re in your car with someone else and you live in California so you are constantly getting cut off by $#&*!, um, let’s call them “people” driving 4 mph in a 35 mph zone who have no idea where they’re going but decide that this left turn, yeah that one right there 20 feet away, must be the one they need to take even though they’re in the far right lane, so they nearly kill everyone in their path, not to mention slow traffic speed to a standstill, so they can make their turn.
What do you do?
Take a breath? No.
You yell. You say bad words about stupid people and curse this state’s lax law enforcement and poor driver’s education that allows clearly incompetent, aimless people on the roads with the rest of us.
I’m not saying this is the most constructive response for my blood pressure, but you don’t know: maybe my head would explode if I didn’t let some of the steam out.
In the last year or so though, there’s been an increasingly large wrench in those mechanics, namely that the passenger with me is very small, facing backwards in the backseat, unable to see the offending event, and, even if she could, unaware of traffic laws (written and unwritten). So she understandably believes that the loud expletives from the front seat must be meant for her, same as the little chunks of cheddar cheese that magically appear over the back of her seat with soothing reminders that we’re “almost there”.
It’s probably good that I learn to curb the yelling now before she starts imitating the content which could lead to some X-rated exchanges that’ll get her kicked out of preschool in a couple of years.
Generally, I’ve been trying to keep a handle on what goes into her ears while I still can, but, even before she falls in love with ska and playing the trumpet in the basement, it’s already a seriously heavy lift.
I’ve refrained from introducing A. to our music list beyond our classical collection because she’s always been sound-sensitive and our tastes veer towards heavy beats (too loud) and complaint rock (too whiny). She prefers easy to understand single voices with obvious instrumentation. Like Raffi. And cowbell.
But I can’t listen to that indefinitely, so, since she’s gotten more noise-tolerant lately, I tried our local techno radio station last week. Ah, Rihanna:
” ‘Cause I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it. Sex in the air, I don’t care, I love the smell of it. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me.”
Let’s let the issue lie of what the hell she’s thinking putting out a song like this after her personal experience with getting the crap kicked out of her by a boyfriend and take up what a one-year-old mind would make of these lyrics.
Probably nothing, right? But I’m not starting that sex-me-up diet this early. She’ll get that from billboards, magazines and the internet soon enough.
(Not to be old-fashioned but, holy God, what twelve year olds are wearing these days is the equivalent of what I wore to college parties when I was feeling particularly sure-I’ll-go-home-with-you. I was walking behind what looked like a pre-teen yesterday and I wasn’t sure she was wearing anything between her giant sweatshirt and her Uggs. Going entirely pantsless is pushing the, “But I’m not cold!” excuse a little far, isn’t it? No? OK. Whatever. I guess any sentence that includes the phrase, “these days” marks me as uncool already. And A. is only one. That doesn’t bode well…)
I switched the station to NPR. The voices are soothing and A. bounces to the theme music. But then I had to turn that off too: a steady stream of bad news, and particularly graphic bad news, about civilian casualties in Libya, pedophilia, tsunamis, reactor meltdowns and the infallibly depressing coverage of our dysfunctional Congress aren’t much better than S&M enthusiasts.
I guess it’s back to swearing and Raffi. At least it’s preparing her for fending off bullies and chatting with longshoremen. That’s something, right?