I didn't mean to be rude.
It's not even like I was trying to listen in. I just overheard.
Besides, it's not like they were talking in code. They weren't even talking quietly.
And when she's on one side of the train aisle and he's on the other side facing me, I'm practically TRAPPED inside their conversation. It's amazing how much people reveal about themselves in forty minutes. And with me engrossed in my latest needlepoint project, how can I help but hear?
He's an accountant. Works in Chicago. He's been with his company for the last twelve years. Went to college in Indiana. Worked in Skokie before that but the commute was a killer. Likes his job but hates the month of April. Too many people filing taxes at the last minute. He has a daughter in high scool and a son in college. It was nice having his son home on spring break for a while but it's not like they really talk much anymore. Son had a date on Saturday, but dad never heard the girl's name, how they knew each other, where they went or what they did. Only thing dad does know is that son was out til 4 am and had to leave to go back to school at 9 the next day. Dad laughs at son's irresponsible actions. "He's a party boy," he says with pride. Son even left dorm keys at home. It gave dad an excuse to go into son's bedroom for the first time in years. Dad laughs at finding beer bottles and condoms all over son's room. Son's a minor but dad laughs at this too. "Show me a nineteen year old who says they don't have a fake ID and I'll show you a liar". Dad says that he and his wife threw out the bongs they found in son's closet. He jokes about waiting for son to come home again to discover they are missing.
And he laughed. Through it all he laughed. He joked with pride at his son drinking, using drugs, and being sexually active with no more concern than saying he was involved with basketball, soccer, and wrestling. His Chicago accent dripped with cynical acceptance that all kids at that age are willfully breaking the law. It's normal. They're teenagers, right?
But this complacent approval wasn't coming from a friend. It wasn't some resigned "kids will be kids" statement coming from a teacher or coach who's hands are tied with a difficult rebel. It's from a parent. This kid's own father is laughing at his son's reckless and even illegal endeavors. Maybe I'm too old fashioned. Too conservative. I don't know his son. Maybe he's a straight A student with a brilliantly bright future. But I still just think that some things are wrong. And enabling your own children to do whatever they want and then having the gall to laugh about their indiscretions in front of total strangers while on your way to work tops that chart.
I'm not gonna stand on some soapbox and say that sex, drugs and alcohol are evil and I'm not going to condemn anyone to hell who thinks all three make a life well rounded. But the thing is, life is about choices and it just seems to me that a life centered around that trinity doesn't have much to stand on. And there is some truth to the fact that kids will be kids. They make a ton of choices without always knowing right from wrong - in the saddest cases their parents don't either. I've been asked more times than I can count why I volunteer with youth ministry. The best answer I can give is how broken my heart felt as I unintenionally listened to this stranger's tale of his son's life.
I didn't ask to hear it. But neither can I turn a deaf ear to the all too familiar, and all too true, story I heard. I'm not gonna laugh at the poor choices young people make, I'm gonna do what I can to be a positive role model. I'm gonna impact youth however I can.
That's all I have to say. Thanks for listening in.
p.s. I've been a little behind on the shoutouts lately. I missed them last time cause not much rhymes with "shoutout". Regardless, happy belated birthdays to
Maria J, Stacey L and Jigga Jess M!!!!
And Happy April Birthdays to
Karrie M, Ty G, and Derek B!!!!!
Happy Birthdays! Love to all!!!!!!!
9 months ago