Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Sonny Side of Things

We love our empty nest. I must have mentioned this before, but I can't help mentioning it again. Most of the time my daughters are at their boyfriends' homes. Occasionally they spend one day in the week with us and sometimes a weekend. Now that my son is army-bound, he's not home during the week either. He was supposed to learn how to drive and was at his base for 3 weeks. But they - whoever "they" are - didn't put him on the driving list and he ended up staying on his base, bored out of his mind. And when an ADHD kid has nothing to do all day, oy vey, watch out. He calls me during the week, and our conversations are like this.

Me: What's doing?

Him: Nothing

Me: So why did you call?

Him: Nothing. (long pause) The army is fucked up. I'm the only one not driving. They lied to me again this week.

Me: You're still not driving?

Him: I don't want to drive anyway. I want out of the army. I'm coming home.

And I spend every day trying to convince him why staying on his base is a good thing and that the government of Israel should pay for his drivers license, and he should use his Android phone to play more games, watch videos and go on Facebook. But he's miserable and hurt that everyone on the base is learning to drive but him. And there's no one for me to speak with. I tried calling the City Officers' office in Jerusalem which is who you call when you need something, but it's usually a dead end. I call up the office and there's a young girl on the end of the line.

Me: I need to find out why my son is the only one on his base that is not driving. I want to know if he did something they didn't like. Are they punishing him? Can you give me his commander's number?

Officer: I'm sorry but we're not allowed to give you that number. It could be that because he was put into the unit at the last minute that there were not enough instructors. And we need his permission to speak with his commander.

I call up my son and put him on a conference call with the officer.

Me: Tell her you give her permission to talk with your commander.

Son: What the fuck for? They don't care about me!!! They just don't care!!! No one cares. I'm leaving the army!!! I don't want to drive anyway.

I hang up on the conference call and am not even embarrassed that the officer on the other end of the line heard that conversation.

The next day, I'm at the bus stop in Jeruslem on my way home and someone taps me on the shoulder. It's my son. He passed his theory test and was one of the 22 out of over 60 who passed. They all got let out on Thursday for the weekend. He was thrilled to be in the army at that moment. We get off at our stop and cross the street. He spots a group of young under-dressed girls and makes a dash for the bus shelter across the street, hissing at me not to follow him. I see him out of the corner of my eye taking off his army shirt quickly and I'm thinking, - what the fuck is he doing?? Who does he think he is, Superman - changing into his "outfit"??? He runs to the girls. He's wearing army pants and a white undershirt. He knows them and hugs the pretty blonde one with the long legs.

He is no longer Clark Kent.