Many parents bemoan their teenagers’ moody personalities and ungrateful, complainer-puss attitudes. I am no different – I joined that club years ago, long before Chloe was even officially a teen (she’s always been precocious in that way). Chloe drives me batty sometimes. It’s the job of these half-children half-beasts, isn’t it, to drive their parents batty?
Lately, however, Chloe has been less exasperating than funny. Not always intentionally funny, mind you, but funny to me. Sometimes her brand of funny is of the laugh-out-loud variety and sometimes…it’s just weird.
Chloe’s brain is in constant motion. When I try to imagine what a physical representation of her mind would resemble, I think of something like the Maras Salt Mines in Peru:
A brain partitioned into hundreds of small compartments, where Chloe’s thoughts and ideas, once cultivated, are immediately replaced by more thoughts and ideas that are seemingly random, but are actually sort of connected if you think hard enough about them. Just like the hundreds of individual salt ponds that comprise the Peruvian mine, which are interconnected by channels carrying saltwater. The water eventually evaporates, leaving tons upon tons of salt ripe for collection.
Chloe’s ideas spew out of her mouth in floods of funny, astute and strange ideas. She let loose two such floods over the past couple of days, which I have reproduced, almost word-for-word, below.
The first flood took place during a 10-minute car ride last week, when we were returning home from buying several different kinds of moisturizing lotion (stick with me here, there’s a point to that detail – see #2 below). For purposes of categorization, we’ll baptize this first stream of consciousness monologue “Personal Hygiene.”
Chloe on Personal Hygiene
(1) The Celery and Water Experiment. “I think it would be really cool to eat nothing but celery and water for a week,” Chloe announced. I don’t think Chloe has ever even tasted celery, but when she mentioned her idea on the school bus the other day, a boy validated it by confessing that he had attempted the same feat last summer and survived. When I responded that she was apt to go nuts eating only celery, she mused, “I could always add peanut butter. But I guess that would kind of defeat the purpose. Besides, how bad could celery be? It’s a useless vegetable. It has no taste. It’s like crunchy water.” She paused. Thought some more. “Ok. Maybe not an entire week, but three days would be good.”
(2) Moisturizing regimen. During the dog days of winter, Chloe’s hands were very dry and more worrisome, a disturbing shade of purple. Literally. I asked her doctor whether she was getting enough circulation to her extremities. The kid is fine, but was told she needed to wear gloves and use lotion during the cold months. “I can’t wait to use the new cremes I bought. My hands are better now that it’s warmer, which is great because I hate hand creme. It makes my hands all greasy and you know, yuck. But my legs and arms need work. Our Disney trip is coming up and I need to be bathing suit-ready.” When I remarked that her her new regimen might require her to get up even earlier for school every morning, she scoffed. “It’ll be fine, mom. How long can it take? Oh, and my elbows really need creme. They look like an old man’s skin.”
(3) Brushing Teeth. “I think I’m also going to start brushing my teeth more. They’re too yellow for my liking. Every time I go to the bathroom, I’m just going to brush them for 30 seconds.”
That’s Chloe for you. Random ideas and observations. Occasionally logical, sometimes silly and often amusing.
Chloe’s second flood of bizarre and funny ideas erupted on Saturday morning and lasted for about five minutes. I’ve named it “Creative Life.”
Chloe’s Creative Life
(1) Philosophy. Chloe bought “Introducing Philosophy: A Graphic Guide” at the bookstore the other day, just because. The tome is full of fun facts about eccentric and erudite men (the women supposedly appear in a different volume about feminism – whatever) with hard-to-pronounce names. “Mom! Pythagoras was one crazy guy. He treated numbers like a religion. Did you know he killed one of his students because the student told other people about his discovery of pi? But Pythagoras didn’t want anyone to know about pi because it messed up everything he thought he knew about numbers!”
(2) Wordplay. “I have this idea for a project. There are lots of cool-sounding words I like. I’m going to create postcard-size pictures using those words and hang them on my wall.” What are some of the words she loves to say out loud? Wayfarer, efflorescence, beezlebub, fiddlesticks, woebegone, wherewithal, quintessential, effervescent, fetching, celestial, crestfallen, nefarious, diabolical, rendezvous and malevolence. It occurred to me that if she creates enough of these images, perhaps we won’t need to send her to expensive SAT tutoring sessions in a few years.
(3) Fashion. Chloe has been chomping at the bit to go thrifting in New York in order to augment her wardrobe with interesting clothing. “I want to start wearing cooler clothes. My clothes are fine, but some days I’m just not excited about what I have on. My goal is to get dressed and be all ‘Wow! I’m proud of this outfit!’ Every single day.” I like that she’s doing this for herself and not to impress others.
I have to admit that when Chloe talks, I often can’t keep up with her. She has no brakes. It’s an amazing thing to witness and I’m very grateful for her intellectual curiosity but, shit, it’s exhausting.
What floods of crazy thoughts have your teens shared with you? Do tell!