Tag Archives: Jack Kerouac

Tripping with My Ex-Boyfriend’s Daughter

Tripping with my ex-boufriend's daughter

Tripping

Does a stepparent relinquish their title, and the unspoken rights, responsibilities, support, care and concern, (often included in the character description) if the relationship ends in divorce?

And what the hell happens in a Girlfriend Mom situation… I don’t know either.

I no longer wear the sash and crown, but there are certain habits and emotional bonds that were formed during my halcyon days as the reining Girlfriend Mom, that have stayed with me nearly three years after the so-called divorce. The role will forever remain in my heart as the most unexpected, and enlightening that I have had the privaledge of playing. And I played Leper #2 in the musical, Jesus Christ Superstar in theater camp.

It was because of these unique relationships, (that seem to be defined, and then redefined every few months) that I took SN (the daughter) on a road trip last Fall from Portland, Oregon to La Jolla, California for her college graduation gift.

A few family members and friends thought it was strange that I was taking a trip with my ex-boyfriend’s daughter. These were some of the same people who thought that it was weird that I still saw the kids. SN’s mother thought it was a wonderful opportunity for her daughter and thanked me. I didn’t need to be thanked because it was my absolute pleasure and joy.

I wanted to make the trip more than SN. I knew firsthand how life affirming such an experience could be. I made the same excursion when I was her age, after my college graduation. After four years in Manhattan, side-stepping dog poop on the sidewalks on my way to class, knocking into Wall Streeter’s as they hustled to the subway, I  hit the road and drove across the country over the summer.

Ever since I was in high school, I wanted to drive across America. I read Kerouac’s, On The Road, watched both Easy Rider, and Lost in America, and the idea of living moment to moment; no plans or schedule was alluring and sexy.

I imagined driving through towns with populations under a hundred. I fantasized about having to get a waitress job in a honkey tonk (even though I’d never waited tables before) because I ran out of money. Perhaps I’d get hired to wax surf boards in a shop along the California coast, even though I’d never set foot on a board. I romanticized the road because I’d been dodging crack dealers on my way to my dorm. Anything would be better than that.

I’d learn how to ride a motorcycle. I’d pick up hitchhikers bumming for lifts. They’d teach me about the world; sharing their wisdom gleaned from years living according to their chakras and not in the chokehold of societal expectations, norms and conventions. These free spirits would regale me with pearls from the backseat of my car, while chewing tobacco, and using an empty Coke bottle as their spittoon.

To be twenty-two.

I used the money that I’d saved over the years in a giant pink piggy bank that my parent’s had bought me when I was nine years old, to fund my trip.

The bank lived on the bottom shelf of my bookcase in my childhood bedroom. It was so big that I doubted that it would ever be full, but I dropped coins into the slit on its back every chance I got.

My parents told me (although it was couched as a suggestion) to wait until the pig was full before I uncorked its underbelly. They assured me that it would be more exciting and gratifying than if I withdrew money every time I wanted another Bonne Bell 7-Up Lip Smacker, which was often.

What ten-year-old girl is going to understand the concept of saving, patience and restriction? It was friggin’ Bonne Bell. Yes, I dipped into the bank on more than one occasion.

As I got older and more disciplined, it became easier to resist the urge to crack open the swine before she was up to her snout in metal and couldn’t take one more thin dime. She did taunt me, especially when my babysitting jobs dried up in the winter of ’83 but I stayed the course.

By the time I graduated college, the bank had been full for several months. I suspect that my parents dropped a few shekels in while I was away at school.

Soon after graduation, I went into my bedroom, closed the door and pulled the weighty bank off of the shelf. I plucked the stopper, emptied the contents onto my medium pile chocolate brown shag rug, and began the laborious task of rolling the coins into their respective denomination wrappers. This was long before the coin machines in local supermarkets. I rolled until I lost feeling in my fingers.

It was mind-numbing and it required a gross amount of concentration and counting. Anyone who knows me, knows that I find counting mentally exhausting.

As I sat with my legs crossed hunched over mounds of coins (as a Pilates instructor I shudder at the visual) I kept having to remind myself of how many nickels were in a two-dollar wrapper. The whole ordeal made me dizzy.

As the rolls piled high, forming miniature pyramids on my rug, my anticipation increased—How far would the money take me? Would I have to get a job bartending? 

When the wrapping was complete, I went to the bank and cashed out. If memory serves, I had over six hundred dollars in dusty and sticky pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. I found several half dollars and a handful of silver dollars. I vaguely remember getting those as birthday presents from my grandfather. At the time, I couldn’t get over the fact that a dollar could be a coin.

I also found a peso or two in the mix, which was odd because I hadn’t been to a country where the local currency was a Pesos. Dad?

I had money to make a childhood dream come true and nothing felt sweeter. I was rich!

Once I climbed behind the wheel and was on the road, I tossed my shoes into the backseat of my Honda Accord and crossed over the first of many state lines. I felt as if I’d been infused with a dose of freedom. I hadn’t done a lot of traveling up to that cross country point and I was captivated by the enormity of the country, and awed by the vastness and the quiet. It was eye opening in ways that I had only read about or seen in the movies.

I imagined my foot glued to the gas pedal, never to return to New York. I’d only driven 700 miles from home, but I was convinced that I belonged on the road, and that I would be happy wandering for the rest of my life.

To be twenty-two.

Decades later, I hoped that SN’s experience would be as thrilling as my first time was. I’d play the part of the wise hitchhiker, imparting sage advice, only without the tobacco. I was anxious to see the roads of my youth, and to be seeing them through SN’s youthful eyes.

To be continued…

Teenage sex

Is Teenage Sex Happening Under Your Roof?

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REPOST… All new on Tuesday!

Would you let your teenage daughter, and her boyfriend, sleep together in your house with the potential of teenage sex also happening in your house? Would you even let her boyfriend sleep over?

A few years back, my boyfriend’s teenage daughter asked us if her teenage boyfriend, could spend the night. The first thing I thought of was that they were going to have teenage sex. My boyfriend knew where I stood on the topic. No f’in way!

After a bit of cajoling and guilt, I caved. We set him up in the basement on a futon. We also made it perfectly clear that this was not to become a habit. For me, the issue falls under the broad category of boundaries (mine) and speaks to the idea of respect, and what I’m comfortable with. We’re not running a brothel here people.

When I was a senior in high school, I asked my mens group attendee, consciousness raising meeting host, grass-toking, Kerouac reading, Woodstock foregoing because the traffic was going to be too intense, parents if my boyfriend could sleep over. It was after nine o’clock and he only had his permit. They agreed but I could tell that they weren’t excited about the idea.

He slept in the guest room down the hall. In the middle of the night, my boyfriend tiptoed the 50 feet down to my bedroom, and climbed into bed with me. We thought we’d pulled one over on my folks and felt oh, so grown up.

The next morning, we all met in the kitchen for breakfast. My boyfriend and I looked at each other, and then caught a glimpse of my mother’s face. Her look screamed disrespect, disappointment and two-bit hussy. Under breath but loud enough for me to hear she said, “How dare you.”

What could I say? I was royally embarrassed and I felt like a child. I was a child. Maybe that was the point. I had betrayed their trust in the most sordid and humiliating way. If there was anything that I held near and dear to my heart, and which remains the same today, is my unwavering respect for my parents.

This incident affected me deeply and from that moment on, I have gone out of my way (almost to a fault) to do the right thing and to never put my parents, or anyone that I care about, in an uncompromising or uncomfortable position.

Now, with my boyfriend’s children, I must see to it that it is I who is never put in an uncompromising or uncomfortable position. Ah, the circle of life. I know that the children aren’t mine, in the biblical sense, and I know that, just because I was a disrespectful hussy, it does not mean that the Girlfriend Mom daughter will be. I have my mothers steely look seared into my brain, and that alone ensures that there won’t be any sneaking down hallways, or co-ed sleepovers.

I know that this is a process, like everything else in this relationship. I’m confident that, as I become more comfortable around the kids, that my sphincter will release its grip. images-1