By Dom Cioffi
My son took a school trip to Washington, D.C., this past week. He was gone for the better part of four days. My wife and I were appropriately excited about his departure – both for the experience he was about to have and the fact that we could enjoy some time alone.
Upon dropping him off at the bus (at 4:45 a.m. Monday morning), my wife’s final words to him were, “Please text or call a couple times while you’re gone.”
He assured us he would and then hurriedly got on the bus.
We’ve never had a problem with separation anxiety with our son. From his first morning of daycare at 5 years old, he has always been thrilled to leave us behind. He’s still the same today; he never experiences anxiety or reservation about going anywhere as long as he has friends in tow.
My wife and I survived the week and, of course, we never heard from our son. My wife texted and called several times and got no answer. The one time I called he actually picked up, but the chorus of laughing children in the background made it impossible to communicate so he just screamed “This is awesome,” and hung up.
I assured my wife he was fine.
On Thursday night, the school called to announce that the bus would be at the return location at 10 p.m. I told my wife I would pick him up and planned accordingly to arrive at the scheduled time.
Sure enough, the bus rolled in right at 10 p.m. and I was sitting there waiting for him. I watched the kids shuffle off the bus and then climb underneath to grab their bags.
My son was one of the first ones off. He collected his belongings and then spotted me waiting for him. He said goodbye to a couple kids and then wandered over looking disheveled after four days with crap food, minimal sleep, and a lot of sugar.
Once inside the truck, he quickly told me not to leave. “Wait here,” he said while eyeballing the kids still gathered at the bus. I asked why. He said his good friend Nate was about to ask out a girl.
I inquired about details and was informed that Nate really liked this girl, so throughout the bus trip back he planned how he was going to ask her out. I asked which one was Nate and he told me that he was “the short kid with the stupid shirt on.”
I scanned the crowd and finally spotted a diminutive teenage boy with a t-shirt that was basically covered from top to bottom with the head of wolf. Sure enough, that was Nate.
I followed Nate as he sheepishly moved through the crowd obviously looking for someone. His geekiness, due to his thick glasses and awkward gate, made him look even more uncoordinated than your standard teenager.
“So where’s the girl?” I asked.
“She’s probably hiding from him,” my son responded.
“So you wanted to hang around and watch your buddy get shot down by a girl? That’s harsh,” I said. “And how do you know she’s going to say no?”
My son was quiet for a moment before slowly turning his head toward me and stating confidently, “Because she likes me.”
Now, given that I have rarely heard my son speak about girls in a relationship manner and have certainly never heard about any girl liking him, I found this difficult to believe.
“So, you’re telling me that your good friend Nate is about to ask out a girl and you know she’s going to deny him because she actually likes you?”
“Yup,” he replied. “It’s your classic love triangle.”
I almost burst out laughing at his response, partly because I was sure it was all in his head and partly because I couldn’t believe he knew what a love triangle was!
I put my truck into Drive and started to pull away. “This is too much for ten o’clock at night,” I chuckled. And then, within minutes of our trip home, my son the Casanova was fast asleep.
This week’s film, “Truth or Dare,” also features some interesting scenarios, but all the ones presented in this movie end up killing the people involved.
This is your classic low-rent, supernatural horror movie with a premise that only a teenager could find appealing. What made this film slightly unique was these little digital alterations that were done to the characters when things start to go awry. I will admit that these moments intensified the fear, but certainly not enough to salvage a pathetic storyline.
Check this one out only if you lust for gratuitous violence. Otherwise save your theater dollars for another selection.
A horrific “D” for “Truth or Dare.”
Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.