August 16, 2006

"Space Boy, Fly Girl, living in the Underworld..."

Originally uploaded by Citizen Rob.
I'm sort of a bad person, because when I have to attend meetings for parents at Schuyler's school, I last about ten minutes before I start twitching and spazzing and fucking off. I'm that one person who can't sit still and who sighs dramatically when other parents ask questions like, "So on the days when it gets up past 100 degrees, do you take the kids outside at recess?"

I wish I were making that up.

So when we went to the big First Grade Parent/Teacher End-All Hootenanny of Hootenannies, Julie paid attention and actually learned some stuff while Schuyler and I mocked the principal's presentation by making the little "blah blah blah" talking hands at each other. (Imagine David Byrne in his big suit in the "Once in a Lifetime" video; "You may ask yourself...")

So yeah, we were a bad little scene, but I'm not sure what to tell you. Schuyler and I are the same in so many of our personality quirks, and our impatience with time wasting is one of them. I can't speak for Mister "Stupid Hot Day Question" Dad, but I don't actually require, when handed a handbook for parents, to then have all the teachers take turns showing it, page by page, in a PowerPoint presentation while READING it aloud to me. I thought we did pretty well, considering I'll one day be lying in bed, old-man-stinky and dying, and one of the last things I'll wheeze out in a raspy voice will be, "Goddamn it, I wish I had that hour back right now..."

I think Schuyler's going to fare pretty well this year. As always, she wasn't the slightest bit apprehensive about going back to school. Schuyler feeds on the new, and she loves meeting new people. Some kids don't handle change very well, but Schuyler is almost the opposite, like me. She gets bored with routine, and when she senses me getting bored, too, well, it's time to break out the David Byrne hands. The nice part is that when the other parents stare at her, which a surprising number of them were doing, the chances are at least even that it's not just her enthusiastic but non-sensical Schuylerese they are reacting to. It could be her pink punkass hair or her father-induced squirrelly behavior. Not everyone knows what to do with a beautiful freak.

Finally, after sitting through the meeting for about seven hours (internal measurement; one actual hour), we left the school and went our separate ways, Julie to go to the store and Schuyler and I to go home. In the car, Schuyler and I sung and danced around to our current favorite "Father/daughter funk track", which coincidentally, is a song by David Byrne, "U.B. Jesus". If you're not a David Byrne fan, I don't know what to tell you. You might just be dead to me now.

We always save our most enthusiastic jumping around (and get the most stares from the No-longer-quite-so-young Republicans and MILF-wannabes in the cars around us) for the part where the song kicks into overdrive.

Jump Back, Jump Back
Givin' me a heart attack
Fall down, Fall down
Sweeter than a cherry bomb

Sweet Thing, Sweet Thing
Steppin' on your violin
Space Boy, Fly Girl
Living in the underworld

When I sang that last part to her, she clapped and laughed her little head off.

"Who's Space Boy?" I asked her. She pointed at me.

"And who's Fly Girl?" She pointed to herself in triumph and started dancing some more.

So there you go. Same as it ever was.


Anonymous said...

You guys are awesome! And she IS a beautiful freak, with the emphasis on the beautiful. And with a positive spin on the freak. Because who wants to be normal? Not me. Schuyler ROCKS.

Photoplasia said...

Excuse me, while I go dig some 'Talking Heads' off the CD shelf...

Anonymous said...

Wait until your wife starts making up excuses for you as to why it's more important for you to do something at home than attend school meetings.

I'm sure the inanity of these grade school presentations is like a universal constant. Still the ones in north Texas are especially absurd.

Erin said...

I'm with ya... what's the point if you can't have a little fun? I love reading your stuff. Thanks and keep it up!

eightk said...

I heart David Byrne so much, and I've had the privilege to see him live and be in the pit three rows back. Man is amazing to see in concert, and not too expensive. I bet it would be a fun father/daughter concert to attend when he tours again.

P.S. to Schuyler: Shine on sister!

Erin said...

There's nothing wrong with being a bit of a renegade, life is too short to be dull and boring.

As for David Byrne, perhaps one of the finest performances I've ever attended and I've already starting schooling my 5 year old on the musical significance of the Talking Heads.

grandefille said...

Once in a lifetime, dude. And I'm so glad this is y'all's lifetime.

By the way, my dad was the one doing the same thing you're doing in meetings, and of course I was his partner-in-crime. My mother finally gave up on us the night he turned the little chair over. (Of course he was leaning back in it.) And I turned out fine. Ha!

Hugs from Tennessee!

Anonymous said...

Will Schuyler be main-streamed this year? You've said that she has some developmental delays related to the fact that she isn't verbal, but from all I've read here that seems minor. I'm hoping you'll say yes that she'll be in a regular classroom. And I just want to say about all those labels, ordinary, normal, etc. if I apply one to Schuyler it will be extraordinary! Or maybe wonderful.... awesome? I think she's just great.

Bev Sykes said...

I think you've just discovered one big perk of having a non-verbal daughter--you get to "talk" in situations where speaking out loud would be considered impolite. I remember learning the sign language alphabet when I was a kid and talking across church with people. Great fun.

As for David Byrne, he was always a god in this house. My son met him one time and was too embarrassed to speak to him.

You may enjoy this story about our kids and the Talking Heads:

Anonymous said...

I loves me some Talking Heads.

And "Jesus Howard Titty-Fucking Christ" just about made me burst a blood vessel, man.

Robert Hudson said...

I was feeling eloquent.

Anonymous said...

Got to see David Byrne live once. Very very briefly. About 1998 or 1999, he played the Music Midtown festival in Atlanta. Seven stages, 3 days kind of thing. Each act got, I think, 45 minutes onstage and that's it, next! Mr. David Byrne was about 20 minutes late for his 45-minute set. The crowd was SERIOUSLY unruly by the time he came on, with the chanting and the booing. But then, bless his heart, he made the very savvy decision to come out in a big pink-fur suit (IIRC) and launch right into "Burning Down the House." And we all, of course, forgave him his tardiness.

What're you gonna do when Schuyler gets old enough that her hormones command her to believe that 1) Dad's music is uncool simply because it's Dad's, and 2) the 2011 reincarnation of N*Sync is a) totally talented and b) totally hot? I get sad thinking about it and I'm not even her dad.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll admit it, I don't get why Retarded Dad's question was so retarded. Was it because, duh, obviously you wouldn't send kids out on a 100-plus-degree day? Or because, duh, you would obviously send kids out on a 100-plus-degree day? Or some other reason I can't quite grok?

Our kids' preschool doesn't send them outside when the heat index is over 95. I am fine with this, as playing outside for even five minutes in any kind of heat makes my Aryan Nation children flush bright red and look like little tomatoes.

Robert Hudson said...

Today's high is supposed to be 106, and tomorrow, too. I don't think the law even allows them to go outside in this kind of heat.

Nightfall said...

I am so jealous of your relationship with Schuyler. I wish I'd had the guts to form something like that with my daughter when she was small, maybe we'd both be a little more well-adjusted now.

Anonymous said...

High school football, two or four hour practices, two per day, in this kind of heat. With maybe one brief break per practice for water. When I played, water deprivation was used as punishment. There was no reward.

I hated football. And you wonder why.

Robert Hudson said...

I hated football. And you wonder why.

My dad was a football coach in Odessa "Friday Night Lights" Texas. No wondering at all on my part.

Anonymous said...

I found this quote in a book I was reading (The Diviners by Rick Moody - overall I don't recommend it), and it immediately made me think of you and Schuyler. It is a man thinking of his son, who I think is autistic, although they never quite explain exactly. And this is the quote: "[His wife] says that their son is a learning-disabled boy, which is not a term he cares to use. He prefers to think that his son is a sorcerer's apprentice, so advanced in the studies of his craft that he has no time for the things of this world.

Anonymous said...

Ummm... I can tell you the teachers were as thrilled as you were about being made to have meetings like that and answer those ridiculous questions... no matter how much they smiled. I can also promise at least 50% of them ran out of school between dismissal and the meeting and chugged a beer or two or several glasses of wine. I dread those meeting more than any other parental encounter all year long. So, the feeling is likely mutual!

:) We miss y'all!

kitykity said...

"same as it ever was..." *violently shaking my head from side to side* :) Jamming with kids is awesome. I heard my daughter the other day sing the entire intro song to "Danny Phantom," it was adorable!

Anonymous said...

"My dad was a football coach in Odessa 'Friday Night Lights' Texas."

Oh man you poor bastard. After four hours at least I got to go home where there was no Texas high school football coach. Of course there was a father who always wished he'd played high school football -- back when they wore leather helmets -- and thus made me play, but still there was a layer of abstraction.

You know, the sad thing, before this as a boy I'd really gotten into the Americana of football, really almost mythic for me up to this point. We lived in a small village in New York, near West Point, went to Army/Navy games in the cold rain. Cheered for the Cowboys on TV no matter where we lived. Then small town Texas high school games, drank Dr Pepper and ate Frito pie made right in the little single-serving bags. Magical really, in its gritty way. I was developing an Exley-esque sort of lifelong appreciation for the game.

Then I actually started playing and discovered the cruelty, things tantamount to torture, watched some of the coaches *punch* guys *in the face* for missing blocks, other similarly awful behavior -- you know Woody Hayes just got caught, that's all. Did not tarnish it, but ruined it.

CameraDawktor said...

ah, sweet! i can just see you and schuyler grinning and acting all smartassy doing the sign language thing.

haha...secret father/daughter code!

hopefully nobody knows the b lah blah sign!

i am so glad we don't have any retarded handbooks that have to be read for an hour stuff to go through. just drop the kids off and go!

maybe you need to move to washington!

think said...

I cannot wait until you publish your book. I do hope you include stories such as this one because, in all honesty, Schuyler is just an amazing character. Except she's REAL. How cool is that!

Tiny Tones said...

I'm a teacher and let me assure you it's no more fun on our side of the desk. I used to work with a woman who threw up before EVERY parent-teacher night! Lovely blog - nice work!

Anonymous said...

Schuyler is awesome, and as I live in the area I refquently keep an eye out for an awesome little girl with her badass pink hair. I wouldn't come say hi because of your previous experiences with effheads from the internet, but I would give a little wave in my head and be glad that when there's so much crap around me, there's one amazing little girl living somewhere close by, changing the world, breaking rules, one hair color at a time.

Anonymous said...

"Today's high is supposed to be 106, and tomorrow, too. I don't think the law even allows them to go outside in this kind of heat. "

ah, but Rob, I live in Plano. And the teachers at both the private daycare and at the public elementary school are tragically unaware of that one. Many of them have never heard there is a "too high" limit, and act very surprised at hearing it. Of course, they are sitting off in the shade with their bottled water when they make the kids go play. Really.

Anonymous said...

Psst, don't tell anybody, but even teachers find those powerpoint things deadly boring. (I used to be one)...
Also, an observation: if you have 2 parents seeing you about their kid, only one of them does the talking. The other one just listens, supportively, or pretends to do so.If you were the other one, I'd guess that the David Byrne routines must make it bearable.

Anonymous said...

Music is essential for the soul.. I have a Wrangler and lets just say people(?) know us.. LOL!< this is how my UNIQUE family kills "DEMONS" and,, F'EM ....sometimes ya just gotta sing. Maybe even flip off the crossing guard on a bad day OOOPS! < did the "mommy-clan" see that ??? ;)

bexybeans said...

my daughter loves the talking heads, which makes driving with her that much more fun. i'm glad to know that other parents in the north dallas area are driving around blasting david byrne and teaching their children how brilliant and enjoyable music really is. my daughter is also quite possibly the biggest beatles fan on the planet. she thinks she's going to marry paul.