My dad used to drive me and my sister and our friends all over the place. My friends were bad enough, but my sister had some who raised even my sanguine father's eyebrows with what they were willing to discuss with him sitting there, from their crummy marks to boy problems to their "red friend" (he tells about that one repeatedly). This morning I drove over to Angus's school with him at seven to pick up five other volleyball players and drive them to another school for a tournament. At the end of the day, I went back to watch them play the final (they won) and then drove them all home. My experience with driving Angus and teammates has been mostly confined to a couple of baseball players or a basketball guy who gets in, sticks in his earbuds, says nothing for the entire drive and grunts in a faintly grateful manner on his way out. So I wasn't sure what to expect.
Turns out a bunch of thirteen-year-old boys are not appreciably different from my sister and her friends.
"Gabby texted me!" "What did she say?" "Hi. It's Gabby."
"Angus, can you put some music on?" (I reach for the CD button. He jabs the radio button. I jab the CD button. He jabs the radio button again. Wow, he is REALLY afraid I'm going to play Taylor Swift or the Glee soundtrack).
"I am Titayyyyyyyneeeeeummmmm" "Are you actually trying?" "No, I'm really a good singer, I'm in my church choir."
"She asked if we're on a bus back to school and I said no, we're with a parent driver, and she said what's that." "You have to break up with her. She's dumb."
"Shhhh! Angus is calling his parents. Uh, I mean his.....thingy." "Who's Eve?" "Angus's sister. Is Eve his sister?"
Kid who also plays on competitive city team:""I have volleyball practice tonight." "Tonight?!" "I'm going to tell my dad I'm tired and sore and ask if I still have to go." Me to Angus: "If his dad is anything like your dad, he's screwed." Angus: "Yep." (He was).
"She says you can't have her." "Who said I wanted her? Tell her I am a good boy who likes staying home."
"Thank-you for the Timbits! Uhhhhh, my hands are sticky." "Just lick them." "Okay." "Ohhhh, remember how we rubbed the bottoms of our shoes with our hands because the floor was slippery?" "Yep. And I just licked my whole palm. Oh well."
They all thanked me very politely for the ride. Then on the way home I asked Angus a question about the game in a slightly apologetic tone and he told me consolingly that it's very confusing and explained everything carefully.
I am currently feeling bemused but largely optimistic about the state of today's youth.