In Which I Confess That I Like Mr. Sleary Big Bunches

I journeyed to another city recently to see a production of Stephen Jeffreys' brilliant adaptation of Charles Dickens' Hard Times with my beloved son.

Now, I am seriously wishing I could just run away and join a circus. 

That feeling didn't just begin that afternoon, of course.  I'd been feeling rather unloved by my people for a while, as I've been enduring some sass for a while rather than obedient cooperation.  It takes way too many requests issued before the dishwasher is emptied.  Apparently it is a huge deal to carry dirty clothes down to the laundry room so that I can wash them.  And a directive to provide me with a hard copy of the spring play rehearsal schedule was met with some very nonpassive resistance.  I was informed that emailing it to me was sufficient.

INFORMED.  As if I was not the parent.  As if my preference was of no consequence.  WTF?

The incident in the diner after the matinee was the last straw.  We were seated, ready to order.  I was looking forward to a nice meal with my boy, and I told him he could order whatever he'd like for dinner.  "Dinner?"  he asked, with a frown on his handsome young face.  "You mean lunch."

"Nope.  Dinner.  It's five o'clock," I pointed out. 

"We never have dinner this early," quoth my boy.

"We don't have lunch this late," quoth I.

"I have only had pancakes today," said he.  Apparently he felt three squares a day was his due.

"That was brunch," I said.  You had them at one o'clock."  We'd slept in, waking very late, throwing on our clothes, and only making it to the theatre with four minutes to spare.

"It's too early for dinner," the fellow repeated stubbornly.

****, thought I.  This is what I get for feeding my spawn so late in the evening.  We rarely dine before seven.  We fell into that habit when we lived in Europe and never really shifted back upon our return.  Every once in a while we might have an early bird supper, but it would typically be on a day when we'd gotten up quite early.  The thing is, though, it wasn't that the boy was not hungry at that hour.  It was an argument over semantics as much as anything.  He could have just asked for reassurance that if he was hungry later that night, I would not deny him sustenance.  "You can have a snack later if you're hungry," I proffered.

"Why did you call this dinner?" he asked.

Seriously?  The kid's pedantic attitude was wearing me out.  He reminded me of Mr. Gradgrind. 

I love my people, truly.  But the constant challenging gets to me.  I told my son that I am like Petruchio and he is Katerina.  If I say the sun is the moon, he had best go along with it.  He was not convinced.  I tried another tack.

"Look, you've said you wish to lose a few pounds," I began.  Personally, I think he looks great.  Tall and lean.  But he wants abs of steel, or at least abs of less softness. "Eating late at night makes it harder to lose weight," I said.

"This is not dinner," the obstinate offspring opined.

I thought about poor Louisa's brother Tom, - SPOILER ALERT! - desperate to flee the authorities, having framed Stephen Blackpool for the theft at Bounderby's bank.  About Cissy Jupe's brilliant plan to hide him with Mr. Sleary and the circus folks in order to get him out of the country.  To give him a way to just run away and avoid the unpleasantness.  The freedom this path offered.  Mr. Sleary's kind lisping voice confirming refuge from the harsh justice  that awaited Tom.

Lucky bastard.

There are times I wish I was in Tom's shoes.  Not the being pursued part. But the being able to leave and start fresh part.  Admittedly, he left some loved ones sad - his sister and father, for starters - when he escaped to America.  But he got to hang out at the circus.  It's a fantasy, I know.  And yet, some people DO join the circus.  There are real life Mr. Slearys.  And no one ever argues with him about when dinner is served.
milkynips milkynips
46-50, F
May 22, 2012