Tuesday, July 10, 2012


 How I Spent My Summer Vacation

A condensed version of a play in many acts

Carol (middle aged mother)
Son #2

Act 1: Tuesday, 10 a.m.
Setting: Book room at school where Carol is trying to bring some order to a ginormous room of books. She remembers she is supposed to call and set up Son #2's eye surgery. Fifteen minutes later, the surgery is scheduled for July 12 at 11:00. She texts son to tell him, then goes back to work.

Phone vibrates. A message from son #2. Why do I have to wait sooo long?

She texts back. No surgeries this week. Holiday.

He texts back. Earlier next week?

She texts back. Let me check. Stops work to call eye doctor. He can do it Monday the 9th at 3:15.

She texts son. Monday the 9th? But you would have to miss football scrimmage.

He texts back. That's ok.  I need to get this done.

She calls eye doctor and confirms.

She texts back. Followup at 9 on Tuesday. She realizes she has a district class schedule that day. Emails instructor to tell her she will be late.

Act 2.
Sunday night.
Place: Home. Mother is out pulling weeds in her jungle garden. Son comes out with his longboard.

Son: Is it possible to reschedule my surgery?

Mother: I don't think so. It's tomorrow. Why?

Son: I think it's too soon. My other eye (which had surgery about ten days previously) still needs time to heal.

Mother: The doctor said it's healing really well. He thought it would be fine.

Son: Well I want to reschedule. I'll call. Just leave the number on the table.

Mother: All right. You call though. I'm not rescheduling it again.

Mother goes inside to look up number. Son goes off on his long board.

Mother writes number and puts it on corner of table.

Son comes back from longboarding.

Mother: I put the number on the table.

Son: I don't need it now. I'm just gonna do it.

Mother: OK.

Act 3. Monday morning.
Mother drives through a monsoon to take dog to vet for shots and a sore foot. $291.
Mother brings dog home.
Mother drives through a monsoon to go to bank.
Mother comes back to get son for surgery.

Son, who has been driving for approximately six months, critiques mother's driving all the way to the hospital. Mother, who has been driving for 35 years, tries really hard to just keep her mouth shut.

Act Four
Hospital waiting room
Mother fills out paperwork. Son goes off and sits in another part of the waiting room by television set. Mother thinks son does not want to sit with her. Mother reads her book. She can see son from where she is sitting. She thinks son knows she is sitting there because that is where she has been sitting since they walked into the waiting room. There is only one door out of the waiting room. Son is sitting by door.

Doctor is running very late. Finally son's name is called. Mother thinks that nurse will take son back, then come back and get her in 15 or 20 minutes because that is what happened with previous surgery.  She does not get up.

Son gets up and goes out in the hall. Mother wonders what he is doing.

Son comes back in. Nurse walks past mother to get pad of paper. She walks back to son.

Mother hears her name. She gets up and introduces herself.

Nurse: We have been looking for you.

Nurse looks at mother, who looks decidedly different from son.

Nurse: Do you have legal custody?

Mother: Yes.

Nurse: Are you his grandmother?

Mother: No. I'm his mother.

Nurse eyes mother suspiciously. Well, I guess it's all right.

Nurse leaves room.

Son hisses at mother. Where were you?

Mother: I was sitting right there where you left me. I didn't think you wanted to sit with me.

Son: It's not my job to keep track of you.

Mother: OK. Sorry about the mixup.

Mother feels phone vibrating and looks down. It is a text message from son, sent over an hour ago, but just now being received.

Act 5.
Place: Hospital Recovery Room.
Time: After surgery 

Nurse: It will be just a few minutes. The doctor didn't leave any orders so I'm trying to reach him.

Her phone buzzes and she turns around to talk.

Nurse: That was the doctor. He says orders are the same as last time. Let me see if I can find those. And he will see you tomorrow at 11.
She leafs through son's file.

Son: No showers. No driving.  See him tomorrow to get this (gestures to eye patch) off.

Mother: Tomorrow at 11? Our appointment is at 9.

Nurse: Let me check. Calls doctor. No, he has to change. He will see you at 11.

Mother makes a mental note to email instructor again and tell her she will be at the start of class, but will need to leave early.

Scene 6

Monday, just after getting home from the hospital.

Son: I'll see you later. I'm going out with my friends.

Mother: Doctor said no driving until tomorrow.

Son: I didn't hear that.

Etc., etc., etc.


Linda B said...

Arrgh! Life, as it it, is not easy, is it? The best thoughts to you, Carol. I've been there & it does get better, although so unpleasant when it's happening. Hope today is better!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said... as a mom - summer vacations, wherever you are, what ever you are up to, have certain similar threads. Love your sense of humor, though, Carol - I often think I'd be mainlining something if I did not have a sense of humor...hope the eyes heal so he can drive again, soon!

Dana said...

Oh Carol,your patience impresses me. I would have wanted to go off on that nurse for the comment about "I guess it's alright." Let alone the fact that I don't think I could hold my tongue with a teenager that much. I'm glad you could write these scenes (I felt like I was right there with you). I hope it was helpful to your parent-sanity to put it on paper.

Nanc said...

Super funny and...hmm...what kind of nurse would say....are you his grandmother. That is crazy, but it was showed how exasperated you were by the whole process. xo nanc

Michelle said...

Oh, how I love the honesty in your writing! Clever way to write your slice too! Not to mention the giggles and laughs sprinkled throughout - even though I know you were not laughing at the time! I just can't imagine! Kids will be kids wanting to be older kids wanting to make decisions wanting to not need you. Live and learn. Then bail them out ... after the intermission! :)

fireflytrails said...

what a great "condensed" version of your oh-so-familiar-sounding summer. I was laughing and nodding in agreement throughout. Hope all is well after the surgery. With both of you.

Amy Rudd said...

Wow, life is crazy sometimes isn't it? I hope things went ok after surgery...your post reminds me of today-I showed up late to p.d. training. I was sure the original paperwork said 9am and here, it started at 8? OMG-I usually don't make mistakes like this...

Ramona said...

Life with a teenage son! I've been in those trenches and so much of what you wrote struck home with me. Your sense of humor and forebearance is remarkable!

writekimwrite said...

Carol I have been delighting in reading your adventures with your sons. You write with such clarity. Your writing brings every scene to life and we are there cheering you on. May God continue to bless and guide you in this journey.

Stacey Shubitz said...

Some summer vacation, Carol! Ugh! Sounds like there's a lot on your plate right now.

I like the way you told us about your summer as a play in five acts. I'm sure there will be many more acts to add in the days to come.

Karen said...

Whether in play format or poetry or narrative, I so love reading your writing. Your tongue in cheek humor cracked me up in this particular slice. Thanks for opening your life to us!