The serial nature of the teenage mind never ceases to amaze me.
Sunday morning, as we prepped for church, I found my son sitting on his bed wearing shorts but no shirt or shoes and watching videos on his phone.
“Why don’t you put a shirt on?” I asked.
“It’s in the dryer.”
“Okay, well we need to leave in 15 minutes or daddy will be late to choir.”
Fast forward 15 minutes.
“Come on! We need to go!” I called out.
“My shirt is still in the dryer. It has another minute on it.”
“It’ll be fine. It’s close enough. Go ahead and put it on. Let’s go.”
“But I still need to put my shoes on and brush my teeth.”
“And why didn’t you do that while you were waiting on your shirt?”
*Shrug* (Seriously, no words. Just a shrug.)
It’s like his brain went: Must get dressed. Underwear on. Shorts on. Shirt wrinkled. Put in dryer. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait….
Like it absolutely couldn’t proceed to any other step until the shirt was on. Even though they aren’t sequential steps. There’s absolutely no tooth-brushing dependency on wearing a shirt.
Encore performance – later that afternoon. He came into the house claiming to be done mowing and weed-eating. I dragged him back outside to point out all the places that I knew had not been touched. (He’s yet to get all the grass cut in a given outing. Or in two or three redo’s for that matter.)
Among other things, I pointed out the basketball goal.
“I weed-eated that,” he said.
“Where?” I asked, staring at the taller-than-the-other-grass-around it blades surrounding all four sides of the goal’s base.
“There,” he said, vaguely pointing in a circular motion around the base.
Exasperated, I retrieved the weed-eater and in my shorts and sandals, demonstrated a proper, albeit slightly unsafe, weed-eating job. “That’s how it is supposed to look,” I said.
He just stood there with the mad-at-the-world-you-are-so-incredibly-mean-and-unfair teenager look he has perfected in recent months.
Since the weed-eater ran out of gas as I finished, I told him to get it filled up while I moved the cars off the grass so he could mow. After an attempt to open the tricky gas cap failed, he moved to sit on a bench and wait it out.
“Go get your dad to help you fill it back up with gas,” I said.
As I finished moving the first vehicle, I saw him sitting on the bench.
“Where’s your dad?”
“I’m going to mow first.”
“Seriously, Daryl! Don’t just sit there. You can still get him to help you fill up the weed-eater while you wait for me to move the cars. Otherwise, it will all take longer because you’ll have to go get him after you mow instead of doing it now while you are waiting anyway.”
He went back in the house in a huff.
I think I’ll call this condition Selective Idiocy. When a capable person knows they must complete an undesirable task yet deliberately engages in steps to draw it out as long as possible, as if they are too dense to put together the most efficient way to complete the task. Add that to the general teenage conditions of moodiness and disconnect from the world around him, and you have the perfect recipe for Parental Frustration Overload.