Kids These Days

So last night, our doorbell rang and my sister Susie went to answer it. There were two little girls outside, maybe eight or nine, and one of them was wearing a light on her head. You know, kind of like the surgeons put on when they're going in to do open heart surgery, or maybe like you wear at night when you go camping, but only if you're the sort of person who owns a clip-on tie and several Celine Dion CDs and maybe also has NEW POCKET PROTRACTOR! written at the top of your Christmas list. Added in September and underlined twice.

"Hello," said Light Girl. "Do you have any empty plastic bottles?"

Very politely, and as if she were asked this sort of thing every day by a child with a light on her head, Susie said, "You know, actually I'm not sure. Let me just go and have a look."

And she went to the kitchen, had a cursory look for empty plastic bottles that we might be willing to donate, apparently, to The Charity For Little Girls Who Have To Wear Lights On Their Heads, and then reappeared with a convincingly rueful expression on her face. "I'm sorry," she said. "I've had a look. But I'm afraid we don't."

"Oh," said the little girl, shrugging. "Whatever. Well, what's your cat's name?"

"Um," said Susie. "Actually, we have two."

"The small black one," said the girl. "The kitten. I've seen her around. What's her name?"

"Well," said Susie, making Mad Crazy Rescue Me! Gestures™ behind her back at me, where I was sitting on the floor sorting through photographs of myself in the 1990s and wondering if I'd ever actually had any friends during that point in my life and, if so, whether they'd been able to see past the fact that I tucked my sweatpants into my Doc Marten boots and wore my father's large plaid shirts and even, upon one occasion, saw fit to accessorize with a gold medallion.

I got up and went over. "Hi! Uh...whoa" I said, trying to turn my look of surprise upon spotting a girl with a light on her head into a slight facial tic because, really, that would be less embarrassing, though why I was trying to appear less embarrassing in front of a nine-year-old girl who was wearing a light on her head was, frankly, beyond my imagination. "So you were asking about our black cat? Her name is Daisy."

"Hmm," said the girl, looking at her friend and then back at me. "Well, can we trap her?"

"Can you what?" I asked.

"Next time we see her," said Light Girl. "Can we trap her?"

"You want to trap our cat?" I asked. "Trap her? Does this have something to do with the plastic bottles you need?"

"No!" said the girl, making a motion with her hand, which appeared to the naked eye to be the world's most apathetic dribbling of the world's most miniscule basketball. "Tap her! Not trap her! Can we tap her? Like this?"

"Tap her? You mean, like, stroke her?" I said, stroking an imaginary cat, and instinctively picturing myself with a monocle. And a claw hand. And a large leather recliner. And plans of world domination, which I would hatch at my large imposing desk with said cat on my lap and some sort of laser-powered telephone. "Stroke her, you mean?"

"Yes," said the girl, and nodded at her friend for confirmation. "Stroke her, tap her, whatever. So can we? When we see her?"

"Uh, sure," I said, inching the door closed, suddenly speaking louder than neccessary in order to muffle the giggles escaping from Susie's mouth, as this child with a light on her forehead and her silent companion moved on to the next house to start their Search For Plastic Bottles/Stalking Of The Neighborhood Cats all over again."Yes! Come by anytime!" I called after her. "Tap her! Tap them both! TAP MY CATS!"

And then Susie and I collapsed on the floor in hysterics, shouting "CAN WE TRAP YOUR CAT? CAN WE TAP YOUR CAT?" and re-enacting the light-on-the-head with our balled up fists. And it was all very funny and hilarious until I went back to my photograph sorting and came to the horrible, blood-curdling, spine-tingling revelation that yes, sure, the bizarre little girl with the light on her head might have been supremely weird and nerdy, but dude. I mean JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH. At least she never looked like this:

Honestly, do I even have any right to laugh at little girls with lights on their heads? It's like my whole adolescence was one big costume party and I went as Kevin Federline.

Nov 09, 2006

I think in the early 90's my dad had to buy a whole new work wardrobe because my sister and I stole all of his grungy flannel shirts. And was I an extra-large man? No, I was not. But those shirts were at least a 1 XL. And I wore them with Goodwill t-shirts, wide-leg jeans, and sandals. If it was warm I still wore them--tied around my waist. And I thought I was H-O-T. Surprisingly, I didn't actually date much during that period of my life...

Nov 09, 2006

I laughed so much while reading this, my mom had to call from the other room and ask if i was alright. Did Light Girl ever reveal why she wanted plastic bottles?

Nov 09, 2006

Thank goodness no one is in the room with me. I am laughing so hard I'm crying. I can't possibly type anymore to this comment.

Nov 09, 2006

"It’s like my whole adolescence was one big costume party and I went as Kevin Federline."

Best line ever written on the internet and totally describes me growing up - braces, bad 80s wardrobe and inappropriate hair choices (perm and asymmetrical cut - need I say more). I am sure there were conversations between my mom and dad where they wondered out loud if I would EVER grow out of this stage and just be pretty and girlie.

I was laughing so hard in my cube at your latest entry -- trap your cat or tap your cat - HYSTERICAL! Girl with lighting appliance on forehead - OUTSTANDING!! -- that water came out my nose. Thanks for the laugh!

Nov 09, 2006

I was already laughing at this post, then I read the last line and I actually snorted. Thank you for clearing my sinuses...

Nov 09, 2006

i'm all concerned for Daisy now.

p.s. that huge plaid shirt is HOTTT.


Nov 09, 2006

somehow i love you even more after seeing that picture.

Nov 09, 2006

Um, Holly. You should know that I'm one of those camping types with the light strapped to my head. It's so convenient. I can do other things with my hands. Like feel around in the dark for tree branches. Or hunt for my wool socks. Or unzip a tent.

See how much energy I'm saved my hoisting a lamp onto my head? It just makes sense.

Nov 09, 2006

It could have been worse. You could have been wearing the Santa costume.

Actually, it may BE worse. Are you sure the Lightheads aren't planning a spinal tap on your cat? You know, in case they're tiny but brilliant med students getting a jump on their required number of lumbar punctures or something.

Sarah Marie
Nov 09, 2006

Love it! You look so still and....bershon in that photo. More, please!

Nov 09, 2006

THAT picture is so BERSHON!!!!!!!

Nov 09, 2006

Yes, totally bershon.

My sister was the one who usually stole my dad's clothes in the 80s, and when she moved from sawing the arms off of his shirts to stealing his boxers to wear under her nylon shorts, he absolutely freaked. I remember him turning purple and yelling, "IS NOTHING SACRED? GIVE ME THOSE!" Melissa also wore a ponytail on the side of her head and modeled for Benetton and was the epitome of cool.

Actually, SHE ALSO WORE A BOWLER HAT! What was I thinking?

Also...I have a headlamp for camping. And my friend has one for working on his motorcycles. Headlamps are cool.

Nov 10, 2006

I just peed in my pants and woke my kids from their deep sleep, I am laughing so hard!

Nov 10, 2006

WHAT is the child in red wearing? I mean, you look like you were trying to be all Party of Five like, but the child in red? Is killing me.

And who is the other kid? We know about Tom and Suzie, and you obviously, but there is an extra person in the picture.

And the house you are standing in front of? Could I please buy because hot damn it is beautiful.

Please tell us more about your past - where did you grow up? What do your parents do that they travel so much? Is your dad a spy? A SNIPER? Not to be internet-stalky but I am just interested.

Nov 10, 2006

I had that shirt too, I think. Or my father did. Whatever.

I may have also stolen his jeans and worn them belted so tightly I looked like I was wearing a sack around my waist, but thankfully there is no photographic evidence of such.

Nothing But Bonfires
Nov 10, 2006

The "child in red" is my brother Luke (Susie's twin) and he's wearing a Santa outfit. Please note that it can't have been anywhere near Christmas, because the rest of us are wearing clothes that would NEVER hold up to the December cold in England. It was probably, like, May and he just felt like trying it on because his older sister had decided to dress up as Eddie Vedder that day so, you know, what the hell?

And you can read about my traveling sniper father and his mission to move his family all over the world here in the second part of that long list of questions I once answered. Except by "traveling sniper father" I actually mean "father who works in HR." So don't get too excited.

Saucepan Man
Nov 10, 2006

Hmm, I prefer the sniper image. It's a major piece of the work in HR - getting underperforming employees in your sights and firing (at) them

Nov 10, 2006

is it a little awkward that i want to be your best friend?

Nov 10, 2006
Nothing But Bonfires
Nov 10, 2006

Beks, I wish.

Nov 10, 2006

I love how pissed off you are. Like, you're FURIOUS that someone would dare take a photo of you with your family, because GOD, you have more important things to do, like run off and find work boots with bigger soles, or maybe slamming your Doc Martens into a car door to soften them up.

Which, as others have noted, is classic bershon.

Nov 10, 2006

Wait - wasn't it you who had a kitten nearly abducted recently by little kids at the door? Or am I thinking of someone else? I have no idea where this thought is coming from so please forgive me if I'm hallucinating.

But if it is you: wow, that kitten is in demand!

Nothing But Bonfires
Nov 10, 2006

Actually, YES. Oh my god, I\'d forgotten about that; I think maybe you read it in a comment I left at Laid Off Dad\'s site. These kids came trick-or-treating (ON OCTOBER 27TH! I mean, really!) and one small child ran straight through the hall and into our living room, IGNORING the basket of candy I was shaking in his face, and chased Daisy around for a bit, before attempting to carry her out in his Halloween Pumpkin. (She didn\'t quite fit. Maybe that\'s why the girls requested plastic bottles instead.)

That Daisy sure is in demand. Thank you for reminding me; I\'ll go and lock her up before anyone else can trap her. Right after I stop commenting ON MY OWN BLOG.

Nov 10, 2006

At least you look sufficiently pissed off about it.

Nov 10, 2006

uhm hee hee? and definately lock up the cat. and god yes - my poor father lost a lot of clothes in the late 80's... infact I still have his grey hoodie.

Nov 11, 2006

Ah. That makes sense - I did see it at LOD's site. Confusion solved!

Wouldn't it be cool, though, if Halloween extended beyond candy and you were allowed to take whatever you wanted from strangers' homes? Like: I really like that ottoman. I'll take that. Or: Oooh, you just made lasagna? Thanks!

Or maybe not. But anyhow, yes - lock up the kitten!

Nov 12, 2006

Oh God, this post will be a classic in the Nothingbutbonfires Anniversary Collection Book. Thanks for giving me a good laugh!

Nov 12, 2006

Love the Santa Outfit. In a non-Santa time of year.

Thanks for saving me from googling, "nothing but bonfires sniper dad" and finding NOTHING... not like I would KNOW or anything.

Nov 13, 2006

It took me three solid minutes of staring at the photo of three boys and that little girl in the blue dress, wondering why you thought she/you looked like Kevin Federline, until I realized that the boy that looks like Kevin Federline was YOU.

Damn, you beez sum kinda brave, girl!