I went to pick up my almost-13-year-old son last night from his night out with his friends. Most of the kids in his class had gone to a place called A Maze In Corn which is exactly that, a giant corn maze. The place has fire pits to roast marshmallows and hot dogs. It has a petting zoo. Bails of hay stacked in a shape of a pyramid that you can climb.
And their Friday night draw: a haunted house.
With all its cornstalks, hiding spots, and the fact that it gets dark at 8 o’clock, the place is a resort for every beer drinking, boob groping, pot smoking teenager.
Now I don’t want to give the impression that Jax is a bad kid. He isn’t. He is smiley and giggly, and the best thing about him is that he loves life and wants to live it to the fullest.
But he’s a people pleaser, which puts me in the very nerve wracking position of having to trust that all my years of parenting and conversations about “doing the right thing” are going to ring very loudly in his ears when one of the friends encourages an activity which is in the “Guide o’ Illegal Fun.”
I arrive at the corn maze and Jax and his two friends come running out to greet me.
Yes, they’re running. They’re happy to see. They’re all like, “Hi Jackson’s Mom!”
Ok. I was a teenager once. I don’t remember being happy to see any parent.
So immediately I’m thinking, “They’re high.”
My son says, “Mom, I’m going to get some French fries and a drink.”
Food. He’s got the munchies.
To which he says, “I’m sure you’re thinking I’ve got the munchies. No Mom. I’m just hungry, I haven’t eaten since supper.”
The other boys chime in, “You should have come with us when we got food. We just want to leave now.”
Ok. So the other boys are confirming that he hasn’t eaten. And they aren’t interested in food.
Not the munchies. Not high.
As I’m sitting on a bench, waiting for Jax, his two friends are flanking me, talking to me about their sporting activities, their families, their summer vacations. These kids are friendly with a capital F.
Jax comes out with his fries. He offers some. They refuse.
Definitely not high.
One of them is thirsty though. He wants a drink of Jackson’s slushie.
Definitely high, but must have taken Ecstasy or one of those drugs that gives you dry mouth.
Unfortunately, I was a teenager in the 80s and all we had was pot and hash. I’m not well versed in the other stuff, but I heard that E (look at me using the lingo!) makes you thirsty.
As we’re walking past the hay bales behind which are wafting clouds of skunky smelling smoke, the boys are all like, “We’ve been smelling that all night. What is that?”
I reply, “It’s pot.”
They’re like, “That’s what pot smells like? That’s gross.”
I’m thinking, “Either they really had no idea or they’re playing me.”
They then say, “Who would be stupid enough to smoke that stuff. It would totally make you stink. Then the girls wouldn’t want to come around.”
I don’t mention that girls can smoke the stuff too.
I use this opportunity as a learning moment: “Yes, girls don’t like the smell of pot. And if you ever decide to smoke it, you can never get rid of the smell on your clothes. Your parents will know immediately.”
The boys then launch into a story about how they heard about some kid last year who used to smoke pot, and he would hide a bottle of Fabrieze behind the dumpsters at school.
“He would spray his clothes with it so that it would hide the smell of the pot.”
I reply, “Well, that kid is stupid because then he’d smell like pot and Fabrieze. Total giveaway that you’re a pothead.”
The boys think I’m a fucken genius. They’re all like, “Yeah really! I bet that story isn’t even true.”
Ok. Maybe they aren’t high.
One boy says, “Smell my baseball cap. I think it smells like pot.”
Is he getting paranoid now? Then he’s totally high.
I smell the hat. It smells like sweaty teenager, but not pot.
I say. “No pot.”
One of the other boys finishes my thought for me, “Yeah. It’s just your own stink. Try washing your hair more often.”
I don’t agree out loud. But yeah. Your hair stinks dude.
We get into the vehicle and my son announces, “James and Lucas have hair on their armpits and their legs, and Lucas even has this huge treasure trail. I have nothing.”
Just in case you’re wondering, a treasure trail is the hair that grows from a guy’s bellybutton down to his pubic area. I know right! Who knew there was an actual term for gross hairiness.
I say, “Don’t worry Jax, you’ll hit puberty soon,” to which James kindly says, “Yeah, the longer it takes to hit puberty, the better a person you are.”….or something like that. I honestly was a little busy trying to keep my jaw from hitting the steering wheel at the topic of conversation to really memorize his exact words…
But I said, “James, that is a very nice thing to say to Jackson.”
James replies, “Yeah, I heard it on Mulan.”
Jax says, “Well, I still wish I had some hair. Maybe on my legs.”
Lucas says, “We can get a pen and draw some.”
High? Not high? Marijuana? LSD?
‘Cause really, is this normal teenage conversation? I don’t remember my teenage boyfriends wanting to discuss their lack of genital hair not that I would have known if they’re was a lack…I’m just sayin’…
Mercifully I drop each boy at his house and my happy-go-lucky prepubescent boy jumps into the front seat and says, “So what do you think of my friends, Mom? Do you think I’m making good choices?”
Well, whether he’s high, drunk, or been groping boobs, how can I resist that face?