Saturday, March 04, 2006

Random Chess Thoughts

So I’m at this chess tournament thing for Brennan. And we’ve never done this before. And it’s exactly like I thought it would be. Like on searching for Bobby Fischer. All these kids, in a room, with signs on the windows telling the parents to stay back. I’m looking around at all these kids and their parents and this is a totally different set of kids and parents than the ones that you see at the Basketball games or the baseball games - things like that. Those parents always make me feel nerdy. Like I don’t really fit in, and they’re all in their team tshirts and yelling and screaming and telling their kids what to do and I’m always just sort of observing, and quietly, in my head, praying for my child and praying he will do the best he can and just nervous. Too nervous to chit chat with the other parents and then you get the looks. Looks like “she’s the one whose kid is making us loose”. Becuase quite frankly none of my kids have ever been very good at sports. And you sign them up for all these teams when they are young because you want to give them a shot and see if they have any aptitude and because they beg to do it. But then they’re on the team and it becomes painfully obvious that all these other parents are spending a lot of time teaching their kids the fundamentals of the game and all these other parents are obviously throwing a ball around in the back yard a whole lot with their kids and well...I was never any good at sports and I’m just not that mom. And quite frankly, Kirk has never really been that dad. So now I’m here. On my laptop, which seemed a novel idea, but actually the place is filled with parents on their laptops. Which I find amusing, because I’ve never seen a laptop at a baseball game. But be honest, I am defintely not fitting in either. Because I’m not a big enough nerd or brainiac or whatever for this. These parents are actually practicing chess with their kids on portable chess sets before the tournament starts and they are all dressed for comfort. Which can mean a lot of different things but there are a lot of Tiva sandals and fleece jackets and occassionaly bad track suits. Once in a while there’s a mom with a Dooney and Bourke bag and carefully coiffed hair and expertly brown and blonde dye job who looks at her child like “how did I wind up with a nerdy kid like you?”. But I don’t really fit here either. Because, I don’t know, I’ve got on my black converse and my damaged jeans and a tshirt and levi jacket. These are the same black converse that Kurt Cobain was wearing when he committed suicide, or when Courtney had him killed, depending on which version you believe. And that’s just it, I’m pretty sure nobdy here is really up on the controversy of whether or not Courtney Love might have had Kurt Cobain killed because he was about to divorce her lipstick smeared drugged out ass. And I’m also pretty sure nobody here would care. So me and my obscure knowledge about where John Cusack is buying his latest apartment/penthouse and the ins and outs of the Seattle “Grunge Rock” scene’s beginnings are not really the norm here. To be honest, I’m not really sure they’re the norm anywhere - because frankly I’ve never been able to figure out just which kind of parent I am. I’m not really the cool parent who thinks underage drinking is just the norm and “fine with it - they’re going to start sometime” (these by the way are the same parents who freaked out when their kids rode their bikes without their bicycle helmets). And I’m also not the over-protective huvering type. I like to watch children challenge themselves and I don’t know, I just don’t have it in me to panic if my kid is riding his skateboard without his safety pads. But I’ll buy the safetypads. But I don’t have it in me to worry about the lot of things “normal” parents seem to worry about. So I don’t know what that says. I’m not the parent who wants my kids roaming the streets unsupervised but I’m also not the parent who freaks out to leave her nine year old home alone for an hour, if neccessary. As a parent I often feel an odd mixture of being over-involved in their lives and under-involved. Selfish and self-less at odds with each other all the time. But I’ll sit here for 4 hours while my kid plays chess, my butt on the hard pavement, typing this out on my keypad so I don’t really have to interact or talk to any of these other parents. So I guess I’m that parent.

There are teenagers who look like they just don’t quite know where they fit into society yet. Or maybe even where they will fit into society. And that’s interesting to watch. Because you just wonder, is this kid going to turn into the next Bill Gates or is this kid going to wind up in some sub managerial role in a small firm just content to enforce the “rules” of the office. Like Dwight on “The Office”. There is a group of five boys roaming around who are probably 13 or so and I just realized one of them is a girl. Her legs are shaped slightly differently from the boys and ilook freshly shaved, f you look really closely you can see that she has prettier softer features. Not like a pretty boy but like a girl who is trying to just hang with the guys. Her hair is the same length as all her guy friends, but all her guy friends have should or chin length hair. She’s wearing skater clothes, baggy sweatshirt, cutoff jean shorts and skater shoes in black. It’s so easy to miss that she’s a girl. She blends in so well. But not in that butchy tomboy girl sort of way, although I’m sure she considers herself a tomboy. But more in a, this is my comfort zone, kind of way. For now, for this little bit of time, I am a chess nerd. Later she might be a raving beauty. But for now, she hangs out with the guys and plays chess and probably skateboards. And I heard her make the comment “I should make a documentary called ‘The Freaks I Hang Out With’. Which made me smile.

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