Thursday, December 8, 2011

I went shopping on Fourth Avenue in Tucson and decided my son can go to college there because they have newspaper stands that look like robots.

This is my son Rowan. 

Rowan is smart. We are pinning a lot of our hopes for the future on him because he can do math, as well as vacuum and unload the dishwasher. 

We figure this more or less qualifies him for just about anything he wants to do. The sky's the limit. 

And once he makes it good in the world, he can take care of us.

Right now, he is fourteen and in eighth grade. So, he is pretty much only interested finding places in conversation to say "That's what she said." and setting things on fire. 

But you can see that potential just simmering underneath everything he does. (Like telling "That's what she said" jokes but with impeccable grammar and reading comics, but comics based on Greek myths, that kind of thing.)

I think a lot about his future, mainly since mine is already pretty much botched, and I would like to be able to send him to a good college. 

In order to fulfill on this, the method I am currently employing is to check his grades online repeatedly and question him about every mistake he has made so that the prospect of failure becomes a sort of unlivable disaster in his mind. This is what is called positive reinforcement. 

It is a very powerful parenting technique. You should try it. As a result of my approach, my son has very high grades and will probably kill me in my sleep before he ever graduates high school.

Anyway, as I've said, I was recently in Tucson, Arizona, visiting my extended family. On the last day before we had to depart, my two oldest kids had already flown home to spend Thanksgiving with their dad, and my husband, my youngest son and I had dropped my father and his girlfriend off at the airport and were looking for some place to act like tourists. Primarily, I wanted to buy a spoon that said "Tucson" so that when I am an old lady, I can have a wall covered with an array of tacky spoons to prove that I once left my house.

We ended up visiting Fourth Avenue, which is the hip college area of Tucson. I was just looking to kill a few hours and find a spoon, but based on my findings, I have decided that Rowan can go to college there. 

I haven't actually seen the actual University of Arizona, nor do I know if they have any programs that will be of interest to my son, when, four and a half years from now, he graduates high school. I can't afford the out-of-state tuition, either, but a little debt never hurt anyone anyway. Stay with me, though, because THIS is what the newspaper machines look like:

We looked around for several hours and entered various stores. I shopped for a long time because choosing a college for your fourteen year-old is an important decision which requires a lot of browsing. Some of my additional findings were:

Awesome garbage cans!

A communist coffee shop. Every good college town needs one.

Excellent pop culture stores with cool signs. 

A hydroponic store for growing "vegetables".

A nearby hookah lounge for smoking "vegetables".
(I am not trying to promote drug abuse. I have not smoked "vegetables" for the last nineteen plus years. I am just documenting the fact that there was a hookah store. I associate hookahs with Alice in Wonderland. That's because I'm so geeky highly literate. I figure if there are hookah stores, there may also be walking chess sets and talking eggs. It just seems logical.)

A mural depicting dead hippies on the wall at a major intersection.

This is some seriously bad-assed shit. AND, as if that's not enough,  you can buy your own mason jar wine glass in a store there!

So, the upshot is that what I really want is for my son is to go to a school where he can grow marijuana, become a sort of New Edition Beatnik and then drop out to join the Communist Party. All so I can go visit a place that makes me feel like I am still sixteen and shopping on the Haight, except without as many people trying to sell me acid (probably just because I'm with the six year old).

I can hardly wait to come visit him there. It solves all of our college problems! It's close enough to drive. We can make sure our relatives keep on eye on him and I can save up until I have enough money to buy a complete set of mason jar wineglasses (you know, for when we have company). We don't drink wine, but we can use them for grape juice, or perhaps, cooled mint tea sweetened with a hint of organic agave nectar (since we can't even drink juice these days, either). 

I've looked into it online and I think, if Rowan continues to get good grades, they may accept him at an in-state rate.  But if you say anything to him, please don't mention the hookahs. 

I'm trying not to be a bad influence.

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Faith in Ambiguity by Tara Adams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License