I hate to brag, but my child is a gifted actor. I am his most loyal fan, and a season ticket holder. It’s been almost a year since I’ve seen a performance of this caliber from my son, a high school junior. I’ll call him Stan, short for Stanislavsky—the creator of method acting in the theatre.
Stan had ventured in and out of the house all weekend. Our conversations both in person and via text messages during that time frame went something like this:
Me: “Where are you?”
Stan: “I’m hanging out with Kevin.”
Me: “Curfew is in 10 minutes.”
Stan: “I know MOM.”
Me: “Whose car was that?”
Me: “What have you guys been doing?”
Stan: “Hanging out.”
Friday, Saturday and Sunday night— the same conversation, interchanged with various random names.
THE CURTAIN RISES
Sunday 8:pm. I am standing at my desk searching for a document I just had in my hand. Finding it I turn and jump back, startled… the phantom has materialized.
Me: “I didn’t hear you come in. Did you close the door?” (Why do I have to ask a 17 year old if he closed the door?)
Stan: “I’ve been here for a while.”
I mutter: “Nice try.”
With surprisingly authentic shock, Stan asks: “Are you kidding me? You don’t believe me?”
I decide to play along. “Yes, I believe you. I was joking. I didn’t know you were home.”
Stan: “I feel terrible.” Grasping his stomach he says: “My ear is killing me…it’s crackling and popping. Something is going around.”
Me: “Well go to bed. You’re not missing school. Would you like me to schedule an appointment with the doctor?”
Stan: “What time?”
Me: “They have walk up appointments at 7am.”
Stan: “No, that’s way too early.” — his bus comes at 7:10, so he never wakes up before 7:05.
Me: “Okay well you will not be missing school, so go to bed.”
This has been the set up for the real performance which takes place the following morning.
7:00 AM- SHOW TIME
Stan: “I’m sick. Call me in.”
Me: “You are not sick and I’m not calling you in.
Stan: “I threw up.”
Me: “Did you flush it, because if I don’t see it it didn’t happen.” (he has been known to stage faux puke, but only with prior warning)
Stan: “That’s disgusting, yes I flushed it. I’m calling dad- he’ll call me in. You don’t care about me.”
Me: “I care about your grades. Did you not do your homework, is that what this is about?”
Stan: “You are the worst mom, this is abuse. I’m going to school, but don’t be surprised if you get a call from the nurse. They don’t want sick kids in the building.”
Me: “I’ll keep my phone charged and close by, and I’ll make an appointment with the doctor for after school… it’s your ear, and you threw up. You need to get started on antibiotics right away—if what you have is what’s going around.”
Stan: “No, I’m not going to the doctor, forget it.”
LATER THAT DAY
Me: “How are you feeling?”
Stan: “I’m okay, why?”