Monday, September 08, 2014

Tyler/Lauren: Back to school, but I don't have to like it.

You should have heard the argument I had with Lauren's parents when I suggested I drop out of school.

Obviously they weren't going to see it from my perspective. They don't know their little girl isn't at home right now. They don't know what I'm going through for her sake. It was bad enough I let myself get coaxed into that pageant misadventure, spending another year going through the paces at high school helps nobody. I sure as hell don't think I need to learn anything, and I can't exactly transplant all the knowledge Lauren is supposed to be gaining into her head. All it accomplishes is a year of headaches for me, and it leaves Lauren educationally behind when and if she gets her proper place back. Strictly speaking, the smartest thing for me to do is to stop going to school, work, and let Lauren take the appropriate steps to get her future back on track next fall, hopefully.

But of course, when a 17-year-old girl, who is bright but maybe not focussed - especially since she's expressed erratic behavior in the last few months - sits her parents down and says "I want to stop going to school" it comes off as selfish, short-sighted, lazy, and dumb. Paul, in particular, read me the riot act, callously screaming every epithet he could think of to tell me he thought I was becoming a snotty, entitled brat with a bad attitude who thinks the world revolves around her.

Now, they can't stop me from skipping classes. They can't force me to pass. But I'm an honorable man. I wanted to do this on the up-and-up. That way lies trouble and stupid unnecessary bullshit.

So I found a third option. I reorganized Lauren's class schedule, to de-emphasize academics, and fill it with, for lack of a better word... fluff. Instead of Bio and Calculus, I'll be taking Hospitality - cooking classes, basically. I also picked up something called "Leadership," where I help out younger classes. I kept Gym and, because I can't drop every class with academic value, English. Next semester will have things like History and Government... dry stuff, but I think I'll be able to re-organize that.

So, school's been on for a few weeks now, and if you're looking for hilarious tales of mishaps and faux pas, you can scroll back to the beginning of my time here. It was only two months since I last took classes there, I know the building, I am familiar enough with the people. I can talk more later about the classes themselves later, but so far the schedule change is having the desired effect. Sometimes, this course load is downright fun, (it was especially nice having the Hospitality teacher, Mr. Danes, compliment my knife skills. Which should be pretty good, since I've worked in kitchens before.)

But what's really on my mind has nothing to do with school, and has everything to do with the fact that as a 17-year-old, you have almost zero say in what happens in your life.

Because as of this month, I have a roommate. Kylie was moved into my room, because in Susan's words, "She's growing into a young woman, and she's getting to the age where you can't force her to share a room with her twin brother."

I just about blew a gasket. When Paul and Sue went off on me for wanting to drop out, I sat there and took it, because I knew they had the high ground. I had no argument besides "This is what I want to do, and by the way I'm a 31-year-old man." In this case, it made my blood boil. In this fishbowl of an existence I lead, I have exactly one room in the house where I can escape the prying eyes of a family who expects me to be their little girl, one place that I can designate "Tyler's Zone," even if I had to take down the One Direction posters, and it's Lauren's clothes in the dresser. If, for whatever reason, I'm having a crappy day (perish the thought) I can stomp up to my room, flop down on the bed, and scream into that pillow that carries the scent of probably too much strawberry-scented shampoo. It's my one private lair, where I keep my own secrets as well as Lauren's.

And I feel for Kylie, because she's almost 12, and getting to that age, too, where she is going to need a lair of her own. She's already got the moody, pissy adolescent attitude. But she's also very much just a kid, and having her around is just... a nuisance.

Instead of attacking the situation with reason and logic, I ended up succumbing to my image and the image they have of me, screaming and bitching about how I need my space, and how nothing's mine, and I have no rights... stuff that is all true, but also sounds like the cliche'd arguments of a needy, pissy, bratty teenage girl. I threw a tantrum. If it was someone else, and I had to listen, I probably would have said "Woah, girl, knock it off, nobody's going to take you seriously." But no, I flew off the handle.

When I finally calmed down, I offered another solution: "Hey, so, we've got a basement we're not doing much with... why don't we convert that into a bedroom, and I can live down there?" That sounds like a win-win.

So of course, Paul has a stable of reasons why not: no money to do it, no time for a DIY project, (and not to mention no skills.) The verdict, as I was emphatically told, is that it just wasn't worthwhile to build me a room down there. Honestly, the place looks like someone started finishing it years ago and then gave up halfway through, and whatever it needs would almost be within my limited handyman skills. Okay, maybe I'm giving myself too much credit. I helped someone drywall one time. But shit, I would gladly spend the year in the drafty basement we have right now, rather than rooming with an 11-year-old.

So this all has been building up over the course of a couple of weeks - some of which was simultaneous with the stupid pageant thing, and I wasn't sure how much of it I wanted to talk about. It just goes to show how many different things can happen at once once you start having to take on someone else's problems. It all just kind of hits me how nothing I can possibly say gets taken seriously. The curse of this body, such as it is, is really starting to hit me hard, in unexpected (but not surprising) ways.

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