Thursday, April 01, 2010
Hangin' With the Teens
Since I have three teenagers of my own, I am well used to hanging out with teenagers, usually surly with high expectations, but sometimes surprisingly helpful and interesting.
I came to Florida with my daughter and her friend Sarah. Another high school friend was staying at St. Pete Beach a few hours away from us. His mother texted and asked if he could come spend the night. We were game and the kids spent some time in the pool and another few hours watching a movie on the patio television as it grew dark. We gave them the living room and I heard them laughing into the early morning hours.
We were driving to St. Pete Beach the next morning and I made plans to have lunch with a friend. I didn't count on the time it would take for these teens to drag themselves out of bed and get ready. I dropped them at the beach where the boy was staying with his parents and hurried to lunch with my friend. An hour late.
After I had a leisurely lunch and drive down the coast, the teens were ready for some action by the time I reached the hotel. They wanted to go to The Hurricane for grouper sandwiches. The parents opted not to come along and I immediately felt irritable. I'd just had lunch and I was going with the kids. Surely the parents could keep me company. I'd met the mother for drinks before to talk about all the happenings in our small town. In my own passive/aggressive way, I said nothing but headed out to the car with the three teenagers. I ordered a pina colada to assuage my grumpiness.
The Hurricane has long been one of our favorite restaurants on Pass-a-Grille beach south of St. Petersburg. When Earl and I worked for the Tampa Tribune we haunted the place. Then it was a little grubby but had the best grouper sandwiches ever. Now it has gone upscale and charges $16.95 for a grouper sandwich and a cup of coleslaw.
After the restaurant, I drove the kids to play miniature golf at a place with a giant Easter Island head. I sat in the car and read a book, wondering why I felt so grumpy when the Gulf of Mexico was on one side of me, the intercoastal waterway on the other and pelicans flew overhead. Surely I should just get over it.
I texted the mom to come pick up her son because we were driving back to my parents after mini golf. The kids sat on the curb waiting after they finished playing. Only two more days and they'd see each other back at home.
As we drove back, along an arching bridge, the girls squealed to see dolphins emerge in their slow arcs.
"That made my day," Grace said.
And, when I put aside my grumpiness, I have to admit it was a pretty amazing day.
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