We’ve been noticing an unusual phenomenon occurring in our home lately. Apparently the words that we speak and the words that our son hears are not the same. I’m really starting to believe that we may not be speaking the same English. Paul and I think we’re speaking English, and we understand each other, but there seems to be a void where our words somehow change before they reach Patric’s ears.
That void is most likely called “the teen years.”
A yes or no question leads to an extended explanation on why yes or no would have been the answer to give instead of a litany of excuses/reasons that led to the question in the first place. Requests for other information seem to warp into a circular morass that never actually makes it to the answer we were needing.
We’ve been watching Dr. Who lately thanks to Netflix, and we just finished season 2. We learned about the void between worlds, and it so perfectly describes most conversations with our fifteen-soon-to-be-sixteen-year-old that we just had to share it.
So how does this relate to food?
Well, one of Patric’s chores for years now has been to make tea. We’ve tried very hard to make that a simple task. We bought one of those iced tea makers that no one really needs, but it seemed like a good way to make the process of it a simple chore for a kid. You pour in the water, you put in the tea bags, you hit the button. In 10 minutes or so, you have tea. Then all you have to do is transfer the tea to a pitcher that can go into the refrigerator, rinse out the pot from the tea maker, throw away the tea bags, and unplug the infernal machine and put it away.
Here is where the void comes into play.
Example 1: We don’t like the thought of the ink on the tea bag tags ending up in our tea that we’re drinking. They’re simple to remove, so it shouldn’t be a big deal. What we thought we said was, “Please pull those off and throw them away before you make the tea.” What he heard was, “Pull those off if you think about it and either leave them on the counter or just scatter them all over the house.”
Example 2: Part of the whole process is to put the tea into the refrigerator. What we thought we said was, “When the tea is finished, put it in the refrigerator.” What he heard was, “Put the tea into the refrigerator. Unless you don’t want to or forget to or just don’t see the point of doing it. Then you can just let it sit on the counter until we notice and pour it down the drain.”
Example 3: Another part of the process is to throw away the tea bags before putting the tea maker away. What we thought we said was, “Throw away the tea bags when the tea is done.” What he heard was, “Throw them away if you think about it, or you can just leave them in there until they either become sentient life forms or our really strange cat figures out that they’re still in there and steals them and ends up scattering damp tea leaves all the way down the hall.”
You see, the void. It’s the only sensible explanation. We will work on a translator, but until then… Well, we just don’t know. I guess we just have to learn to traverse the void.