January 27, 2006

Pre-Syndrome Syndrome

It's quiet.

Too quiet...


The Vampire has hied himself hence to a friend's birthday party. **

And I mean 'hied himself'. He is now willing to walk a couple miles and back again on his own in order to visit a friend or group of friends. Another step towards adulthood, and the day that I am formally a member of the Empty Nest club.

It's very quiet and peaceful here in his absence, which to me is at least as obtrusive as Too Noisy To Think.

It's astounding how much Presence even a relatively quiet teenager manages to establish in a household. I'm not always aware how much I've adjusted to the sound of papers turning over, pencils scritching, humming-under-the-breath and occasional loud joyful singing, muttering of plots or script lines or complaints (or complaints about script lines), bumping against furniture, snack preparation, sound leakage from the headphones of the 'personal CD player', clinking from the ever-growing Dirty Cup collection on his desk and/or bookshelf, Gloating Maniacal Evil Laughter, expletives undeleted, phone conversations in pseudo hushed tones to girlfriend or normal tones to 'regular' friends,
random crashes, dice or other objects being thrown or dropped, and portentious utterances of 'Ummmm... Mom?'

Without the background noise and the Presence, the house seems terribly silent; in spite of the clutter, it almost seems to echo with emptiness.

It should seem peaceful. But I am a fretter, and as a fretter I am thinking more of the *truly* empty house to come than I am of the potential bliss of the moment.

Luckily for my state of mind, the Vampire will be back before 6pm. He'll slam open the door, throw his coat on the nearest surface, roar whatever news he has about his Party Adventures, clomp towards the kitchen and crash into several chairs in the process, raid the refrigerator, open the oven door, complain that the ribs aren't done enough, tease The Cat, complain that he has to spend the rest of the Pre-Girlfriend-Call evening on homework (History [Lee & Grant], Literature [Orwell's "1984"], Philosophy [I have no idea], Calculus [ditto], Composition [I think he's still working on John Brown] and SAT Prep), slam his bedroom door, put on his headphones, and start his homework (interspersed with as much RPG planning and plotting as he thinks he can get away with).

And I'll go back to my work, happy in my Presence-filled house, and leave my Pre-Syndrome Syndrome for another day.


** This is not the actual birthday party, mind you. This is a Cunning Plan of a party, a Decoy Party. The Captain of the Vampire's Epee team has declared himself impossible to surprise, so they are having a Decoy Surprise Party today at an early version of their regular Friday RPG session, with cards and presents and cake and everything, and then they will set up the *real* surprise party on his actual birthday on Sunday by ambushing him in the bakery/cafe where his family goes every Sunday after church. Of course, the cleverest Cunning Plan may still be the Captain's, as he is ending up with twice as much cake and presents as he otherwise would have gotten. That is, perhaps, why he's the Captain...


Blogger mrspao said...

Lucky guy! Two parties, two sets of cake = win win!

I like it when pao goes out for the day. I get to do all those things that he gets in the way for and when they're done it is strangely odd and quiet round here.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Eileen - Maybe you should be taping the Vampire's various noises to play in the house when he's away!

I'm used to a lot of quiet. Chaos can be very chatty and/or whiny, but there's plenty of still and peace. Ahhhh.

12:47 PM  
Blogger mE said...

I feel the same way when the Pirate goes out. It's the Vampire I miss, because (oddly enough) he's more intrusive when he's around.

Homeschooling does that to you; you get used to the background noise and the easy access to a (if I do say so myself) damned fine companion. The Pirate is a ton of fun, but unfortunately we won't be able to afford to retire when the Vampire scoots out of here. So the Pirate can't be counted on for spontaneous card games or trips to the Museum on most days.

Not only that, but he's a Rational Adult, so he probably won't provide as much amusing blogfodder. I don't imagine he'd be willing to grind glass into his eye in order to create entertainment for my Dear Readers...

(wait a sec... does it sound like I'm *complaining* about that?)

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Lady Blue said...

It does sound a bit like a complaint, yes. ;)

This Surprise Party/Decoy Surprise Party plan seems quite a complicated operation. I am not sure whether to admire or fear minds crafty enough to conceive it... a bit of both seems to be in order.

2:53 PM  
Blogger mE said...

L.B.~ Be afraid. Be very afraid.

If you choose to admire, I'd suggest admiration from afar. It's safer. And probably smells better, too...

3:06 PM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

No empty-nester yet, but the oldest is a junior in high school. It's like a big ticking clock that I can hear--numbering the days until he leaves. I'm not ready. I want things to stay like they are forever.

8:55 PM  
Blogger mE said...

WG~ I'm with you there... the Vampire is my only, so that clock is really isolated and LOUD. It seems like each stage passes just as I start to get a handle on it; I never seem to get time to really *appreciate* it as much as I'd like.

I feel as though I'm going slower and slower, while he is accelerating past me, leaving me further and further behind - soon he'll be over the crest of a hill, and that will be that.

I remember seeing 'The Homecoming' - the original tv movie that 'The Waltons' was based on - and one of the men (the father or grandfather) telling one of the boys about a cute little duckling that he had weighted down as a child, in an attempt to keep it small. Eventually it died of being crushed (hey, pressed duck!)... but I sympathize with the feeling. I'd definitely have slowed the Vampire down a bit if I could have done it without 'crushing' him!

9:19 PM  
Blogger mrspao said...

You've got me thinking about the parent-child relationship which I saw in March of the Penguins the other night. Such a lot of effort is put into raising your child that is no wonder that it is harder when they are not around. There is a part of the film where the father penguin and child penguin call to each other so that the father can find his child again. It made me think of what you said about the Vampire and the different sound he makes.

Thank you for the translation. If you've got a recipe for lefse, I'd love to try it :) pao doesn't like cheese so it is unlikely that we will be making a visit to a cheesemaker any time soon.

6:26 AM  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

I just came home and it appears that David has taken the kidlets for a walk...it's very, very calm and quiet here.

And tonight, Dave is going out, and it will be just me here with my (hopefully) sleeping babes.

Not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. ;)

12:42 PM  
Blogger mE said...

Hee... Dave taking them out is a GOOD THING. Sleeping babes are a GOOD THING. Being alone when the sleeping babes turn into either screaming babes or feverish babes is NOT a good thing. Try to avoid that last one. :D

12:48 PM  

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