Hashtag – Teen Talk

Sometimes it’s incredibly hard to connect with my teenagers.

Alright, let’s be honest. Just strip off the first word of the last sentence and give it a reread.

Even so, there are times where the sun and the moon and the stars align, and for a small window of time, conversation flows, laughter bubbles and no one ends up sporting a flesh wound.

And lest you think I’m using the astronomical expression in jest, I assure you I am not. This rare event of ‘togetherness’ occurred on the night of the “Supermoon.”

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This is a name that was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979. Loosely defined, it’s a full (or new) moon that’s as close to the Earth as it will get without bumping into us. If the moon had arms and fingers, it could practically touch us at that point in its elliptical orbit.

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And just for a second, I’m requesting all science and space-minded folks to please work with me here. The rest of us will surely struggle if I’m required to use correct terminology like perigee and apogee and syzygee. Maybe we can all agree that once every eighteen years the earth’s horizon births the largest chunk of lunar disk we can likely remember ever seeing. It’s like watching a cheese-colored growth sprout from the ground way off in the distance.

On this particular night, the three of us sat on the porch and ate a dinner none of us were particularly interested in. But we all agreed it might be nice to watch the sun set and listen to the transition of day sounds to night sounds. Day sounds around here are birds, tractors, cows and bees. Night sounds are whippoorwills, frogs, crickets and shotguns. For years, I’ve attempted to alter my mental interpretation of that last sound. I now simply classify them as … angry birds.

I have to admit that about fifty percent of the time, when in my kids’ company, I cannot understand what they are talking about. They’re mostly trendy topics I only begin to clue into after hearing about them on NPR—way after they’ve become moth-eaten and someone has written a book about them—or I Google them myself and realize that I’m so outdated, even my browser acts judgmentally and flashes me a quick subliminal message of, That was so yesterday.

There’s also a small percentage of the time when I find I cannot understand what my kids are talking about even to the extent that I cannot understand their words. Period.

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But this usually happens when we’re all together, I’ve just finished speaking, and the two of them turn to one another and start talking–then laughing. It takes me a minute to grasp that they’ve switched to Spanish. Solely for the purpose of making fun of me.

Every time scenario number one happened on the night of the Supermoon, I excused myself and dashed to the other side of the house to check on the progress of the moonrise . I didn’t want to miss it, plus it gave me a little privacy to quickly Google whatever it was they were talking about.

Every time scenario number two happened, I excused myself to “check on the progress of the moonrise” but actually went into their bedrooms and programmed their alarm clocks to go off every hour from 3 am onward, and then next secured a piece of duct tape over their bathroom faucets with just a tiny gap at the front.

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 ¡Yo soy la madre de la venganza!

Eventually, on one of my return trips, I saw the moon begin to surface. I raced to get the kids, telling them to come to my bedroom balcony. Of course we made such a ruckus the dog insisted on joining us, and his added enthusiasm woke the sheep, who then wandered out the barn and into the meadow to add their bellowing two cents worth. And as is natural for farm animals, once one is awake and bawling, all animals on surrounding farms and within earshot join in the uproar, which then sends every local hound dogs in a tailspin and the only thing that can quiet the whole tumultuous pandemonium is a couple of rounds from the angry birds.

Once everyone had given the thumbs up indicating they were clear of gushing bullet holes, we were back to admiring the Supermoon. And it was super.

Massive and luminous, this sallow-colored ball rose through wisps of clouds, illuminating the hazy sky to glow with shades of cream, biscuits and buttermilk.

Moon gazing is hungry work.

Binoculars opened a vast new window of detail, leaving me amazed at the similarity between this orbiting satellite and an unpeeled orange. (Yes, dinner was totally unsatisfying.)

I’d never seen such clarity and true splendor. It was magnificent.

I could have stayed there all night, but a storm was brewing outside. Of course, it wouldn’t be long until lashing bolts of deafening thunder were unleashed inside as well.

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But I could live with that. It made a nice change of pace from the unsettling hashtag lingo and the growing flock of angry birds.

Shine on you crazy pearl.


Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery (here) and what we all talked about down in the pub (here). And to see more of Robin Gott’s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone–click here.

6 thoughts on “Hashtag – Teen Talk

  1. Loved this Shelley. The cartoons are great too. Just quietly, my secret weapon was massage… Not for me, but for my daughter. I realised one day that whenever I gave her a leg or back massage she would ‘talk’ like a normal human being. Eventually the alien being that inhabited her between the ages of 13 and 17, left and my sweet girl returned!

    • I was really hoping the secret weapon WAS going to be massage for mothers. I think I could manage quite well for four years worth of an ache in my backside knowing someone, somewhere was going to work it all out in end. That could get kinda pricey though day after day, so I suppose for the sake of not using up the kids’ entire college fund – pittance that it is – I’d best start learning a few basic kneading skills.

      I suddenly feel like making bread.

  2. Unfortunately, we missed the “hermosa luna grande” as it was cloudy and raining the entire week or so it was to be visible (but that’s a gracious “Hoora!” for God as we truly needed the rain). A bummer that we did not see it, yes; however I fondly remember all the times Pop’s walked us to the hill top to watch meteor showers and hours of flashing waves from the Aurora Borealis… what grand memories, thank you Dad.

    I have not as of yet experienced the hashtag talk… heck, truthfully (and probably sad in someone’s eyes), I am unfamiliar with that term, no loss to me, but I’m quite sure it deals with texting, tweeting or something rather than a direct “Facie ad faciem,” conversation perhaps.

    I have been able to interest my oldest into a cooking dialog and away from the on-line garb thus far, a lingo of which I can understand and yet, those words, when even spoke incorrectly are quite romantic. “Dad, what’s in Crème Lafitte and how did you make that Béchamel last time?” Or, Papa, can you show me how to make the Risotto de Homard Tourville again please?” Ah, words to my heart.

    I’ll call you (or, maybe Little C, no offense Smells) when I need further translation as they grow into a youthful vocabulary that I soon will not be in touch with… soon. As Soso says, “Oh geeez Dad, you’re so 80’s.” Really? WTF. (World Trade Federation… sorry).

    Off to make Côtelettes d’agneau panées à l’italienne, a good Sunday brunch. (No offense to your sheep).

    Much love,

    Stoshu 🙂

    P.S. Es posible que la madre de la venganza, pero todavía tengo que compensar todos esos años que ustedes jugaron spit’n chupar por encima de mi cabeza. ¡Oh, la tortura que pasé. I hope you didn’t pass this on to your children.

    • I applaud all the catchy French phrases flying around your fine kitchen and suggest you keep up the good work on the line chef lingo. We all know you’re raising The Great Girl Gourmets! Yum.

  3. Shelley, once again, an awesome piece of writing, which made me laugh, stop to feel the poetry, appreciate the moon, and then for some reason toddle off to the kitchen to find some cheese and biscuits. Only have the former, of course. Not a biscuit in sight. Hard to find a biscuit at 11PM on a Saturday night.
    Wonderfully entertaining. Namaste.

    • What a picture that is – and such a giggle too.

      My heartfelt thanks at your incredibly kind compliment, though. It makes me practically levitate to know that my words can have an effect on my reader. Even if it’s just to make their stomach rumble. 😉
      Here’s to cheese and more cheese. I always ditch the biscuit anyway. It’s just a vehicle for what I’m truly hungry for.

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