A Weekend Thing
By Lady V

So I'm sitting in this train, on my way to see my dad. It's not like I really want to go or anything. I mean, I'm missing this great party this weekend for this bullshit. But no, I had to go. It's a condition of my parents' divorce that I visit my dad every other weekend. Since I'm 15 and am considered to be worse than a baby where the court is concerned, my feelings on the matter were totally ignored. The family cars got more consideration than me. Just my luck that the party of the year just happened to fall on the weekend when I'd be away. Story of my life.
I know this visit will turn out to be a total waste of time. I'm missing a phat party for the express purpose of having my father scream at me about the way I dress and the way I act. Like, I know he's gonna carp about the ripped jeans I'm wearing. The homeless dress better than me, he says. He doesn't break his back to provide for me only for me to look raggedy.
And a few months ago, I got a nosering. It's not this big hoop ring; only a little tiny stud. You can barely see it from afar. But when Dad saw it, he had a total cow. He thought the nosering was unbecoming and looked tacky. Like, hello? This is the 90's. Noserings are, like, in now. My friend Lisa had her tongue pierced and her parents hardly said anything to her.
But see, I'm supposed to be like a saint, because my dad is practically on his way to being canonized. He's this prosecutor for the city. He sees everything in black and white. He thinks everybody should be as serious and as straitlaced as he is. Lord, you should hear him carp about how impulsive I am and how I never think before I act. I mean, I like to have fun. And I like to experiment with how I look. I like having pink hair one week and jet black hair the next. It's so boring to look and act the same way all the time. But according to Dad, I'm like this heretic. He's never totally ditched this Catholic guilt that got drilled into him as a kid. I mean, these nuns would beat him if he kept his desk sloppy or something else equally trivial. Talk about anal-retentive. I mean, didn't they consider that some kids do better with chaos? I mean, I do. If my room is neat, I can't find anything, but if it's messy, I can find what I'm looking for in seconds. Drives my folks up the wall. Why parents make such a big deal about keeping your room clean all the time is beyond me. I mean, it's my room, not theirs, right? Don't I have a right to keep it how I want it? But adults always say and do things that totally defy logic. Thank God my parents never put me in a Catholic school. I couldn't take wearing those uniforms every day. And not having guys in class? I'd die. They're the best thing about school.
The train enters a tunnel and the train car goes dark for a minute before the conductor turns the lights on. I'm only a few minutes away from Penn Station. My stomach starts to churn like a washing machine. Only a few minutes before facing the moment of truth. I think I'd enjoy myself more at the dentist or something.
The thing that I really can't stand about my dad is his insistence that I follow the crowd. You know, get good grades, go to some stuffy Ivy League college, then graduate and take some deadingly dull job and then live in some lifeless suburb, like he did; or what he did before he left Mom and me. It's like he doesn't even think I'm human. It's like I'm supposed to be like this robot. I'm thinking about becoming an actress when I'm older, since I like to pretend to be different kinds of people and people always tell me I have a flair for the dramatic. My dad thinks I'll end up being a waitress for the rest of my life and thinks I'd be throwing my life away. He wants me to be more practical. The fact that I have my own opinions about things doesn't matter to my dad. I mean, doing things just because they're expected of me is boring. I don't want to do everything that everyone else is doing. I might as well not have a brain. He claims he just wants the best for me. Doesn't Dad know that the so-called best things aren't always the right things? Or that people have different definitions of what's best?
And don't get me started about the guys I like to go out with. Dad thinks my boyfriends are losers. In fact, he thinks just about anybody with long hair, has body piercings and wears jeans, T-shirts and sneakers is automatically a criminal. I meanÉ what's that old saying? You can't judge a book by its cover? Yeah, that's it. But in Dad's line of work, most of the criminals dress that way, so he probably can't help but assume everybody who dresses that way is scum. But then, shouldn't he know that a guy can wear a three-piece suit and be totally disgusting, too? I guess it's an adult thing-you know, if you dress conservative, you're an angel and if you dress casual, you're this bad person. Besides, what would Dad know about relationships, anyway? He's hardly dated since the divorce, and that was six years ago. I'm not sure he knows that women can be sexual beings. If he's passionate about anything, it's his job.
The train is now pulling into Penn Station. My stomach now acts as if it's boiling something. I take a deep breath to try to calm down. The train stops moving and all of the passengers start to leave. I try to tell myself that I can handle anything. I mean, I'm Deirdre Stone. It's family conditioning, don't you know.


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