Sunday, October 3, 2010
Things I learned when my son went to college
I used to think that college was a time warp. Now I think I have it figured out. College is a completely different dimension. It’s a parallel universe where time has the ability to stand still, fly by or completely disappear.
When you’re the student, you’re completely unaware of time except when you’re shitfaced drunk and realize you have class in 4 hours. That’s when your math kicks in and you do some quick calculating. Not long enough to really sleep and get up, might as well stay up! Let’s have another shot!
Once you leave college, the memories fade. Until the time when your own kid goes away to college and as you drive away from that campus, it will all come flooding back with crystal clarity. Those moments that cemented your awesomeness in school (like puking for distance while hanging from your feet from a car doing 45 MPH) – those images will come back with a vengeance when your own kid goes to college.
This little dynamic is proof that Life has a sick, twisted sense of humor. This time, when you enter “The College Zone,” you’ll be on the other side. Don’t be scared though, I’m going to share some of the stuff I learned. You won’t find these tips in that cute little “parent’s guide” they give you. But if you’re smart, you’ll take notes.
Lesson #1 - The Window of Time.
When your kid is living away from home, there’s a window-of-time in which they MUST reply to a text or Voice mail from Mom (doesn't need to be anything huge, I’ll take a "k" or "I'm busy"). If that time expires without any answer, we fall into what I call "Mom Frenzy" where we imagine all of the horrors that can possibly happen (and we can be quite creative).
Example: We live in CT. Son O'Mine went to college in Baltimore. That’s 5 hours away. Multiply by the child’s age, carry the 4, divide by 36 to the 5th power… the window of time is roughly 2 hours. If I sent a text or voice mail, and got no reply within that window of time, we would begin the journey down the slippery slope into "Mom Frenzy."
It goes something like this:
"He's not answering - his phone is broken - we have no way to contact him - no, wait, some crackhead stole his phone – now that crackhead is making calls to all of his relatives in Columbia, running up our phone bill - the crackhead who mugged my son - and left him lying naked and hurt and unconscious in a ditch somewhere - GET IN THE CAR, WE'RE GOING TO BALTIMORE!!!!"
Husbands, there is no use arguing over this when Mom is in the throes of a frenzy, JUST GET IN THE DAMN CAR.
Once we all understood that it was either answer call/text within 2 hours or see my crazy face in 5 hours, we were good.
And that's how the window of time works.
Next time, we’ll discuss kids and money. Review your notes from this lesson.
There will be a quiz.