The clunking sound of pans and plates being rocked by the spray of water in the dishwasher covered an annoying chatter of television sports announcers emitting from the adjoining room. Fortunately, the rotating whoosh sound fairly drowned out the strange mentions of “dog legs” on golf courses and commentators’ snappy banter about ball scores and one another’s tie on the cast that day. Her son’s attraction to such boring fare was beyond her understanding.
She asked him, “Why don’t you go outside and play, honey?” Apparently the boy was in rapture of the reporting and didn’t answer. She raised her voice to get his attention. “Hey, there! It’s a beautiful day outside. You ought to go ride your bicycle,” the woman suggested. Imagining the silence in the house, she relished the idea of sitting at the kitchen table with the enormous cat dozing in her lap at the chance of reading the final pages of her book.
“Oh, come on, Mom. I’m watching ESPN,” he told her. Personally, she’d rather listen to the sound of jackhammers outside the door than the squeak of athletic shoes on a basketball court or another jaunty jingle in a beer commercial. The same stereotypical advertisements filled the network’s breaks between segments. Maybe programmers knew their market, but her boy didn’t need to choose shaver brands quite yet.
“I just can’t fathom what you get out of watching that stuff,” she said. “Can you explain it to me?” No reply came. He was lost to the eagle putt again.
Back in her childhood, she loved roaming the neighborhood. All the other kids played in their yards and waved at her walking their dog around the block. Sometimes they’d join her to place pennies on the railroad tracks, which they’d flock to retrieve later in hopes a train had smashed the coins flat. She stayed aloft and out of her parents’ sight in the tallest oak tree if sought for causing trouble.
Remembering those shenanigans made her smile. Being outdoors had been her absolute favorite pastime. Why didn’t kids feel the same way nowadays?
Barely within her realm of acknowledgement, she heard an ad announcer say, “A healthy erection will not last more than four hours.” “Great,” she thought, “here we go.”
Her son called, “Mom?” She closed her paperback and froze in fear of the next question. Being out of his line of sight, maybe he’d think she left the room.
“Mo-om,” he persisted. “What’s an erection?” She remained silent. She’d dreaded this day coming. He was too young to know about these things yet. “Damn, you Golf Channel marketing department,” she pondered. “Why did you make this conversation necessary so soon?”
She remained perfectly still. Maybe she didn’t have to respond. Looking out the window, she wished she could climb the nearest tree and hide.
*Studio 30+ writing prompt – shenanigans
Image: Katy B.