Bonding with Your Teenager

This afternoon I blew the back tire on my bike. Since Max and Scott just went to the bike store yesterday for a flat tire on Max’s new BMX bike, and Scott was immersed in a load of Netflix work (on a Sunday), Scott absolutely refused to go to the shop again to get my tire repaired.

“I’m tired of flat bike tires in this family,” he exclaimed loudly as he turned back to his laptop. (As if I got the flat on purpose – sheeesh!)

Sensing he might be able to convince me to purchase the new bike helmet he’s been coveting for weeks, Max offered to accompany me to the bike store.

(Well isn’t that nice…a little quality time with my eldest son.)

It’s a short car trip to the bike store, but I made every effort to keep up a perky conversation, commenting on the familial state of our allergies, how pretty the blossoming trees on the median looked, the adorable blonde puppy (“Was that a lab or a golden retriever?”) peeking out at us from the passenger side window of the rundown truck to our left. Max was not amused, but he kept up his side of the conversation with pithy, one word answers. (He really wanted that bike helmet.) I saw his eyes roll twice (my peripheral vision is excellent) but we were almost to our destination.

It turns out my bike needed a fairly extensive tune-up and will be remaining with the bike docs for a tune-up over the next few days. While we were waiting to receive this assessment, Max and I wandered about the store, looking at this and that. A couple of the grungier bike dude store attendants, piercings all about their faces and hair many colors of the rainbow, chatted about some upcoming team ride. I turned my chatter in their direction and quickly engaged them in a scintillating conversation about NJ versus CA (my favorite topic of late). Greatly relieved, Max escaped to the far reaches of the store to look for his helmet….silently and alone.

Max got his helmet, the bike doctor reported that the repairs would not cost me much. Everything was on the up and up. I thought the return ride would be just as chatty and pleasant as the ride over.

Like an over giddy gal on a blind date, I filled the silences with comments about the bicycle riding dudes in the store, “Weren’t those guys funny…talking about the best pizza place in Mountain View?” I chirped. “As if they know anything about pizza,” I scoffed. “They don’t know pizza.”

Max admired his new helmet, applying the inner padding adhesives and ignoring my every word. But soon, he was finished with that project and was forced to register my babble once again. In my side vision, I saw him hold his head in his hands. Was he moaning?

“Are you okay, Max?” I turned to him. “What’s the matter?”

“It’s just that you don’t stop talking, Mom,” he hissed through clenched teeth.


“I’m just trying to connect with you, Max.”

“I prefer to connect in meditative silence,” came his snappy response.

(Well…there you go.)


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