30 August 2011

The odds get even

The daughter has seemingly settled into her new school. Last week was a little rough, and she felt a bit lonely and lost. I assigned her a project which entailed bringing me the name, conservatory and class year of a new person each day. Of course, this meant she had to talk to at least one new person each day. There was a prize involved if she completed the project--a coveted pair of red high-top Chucks--and I eased the way by making some suggestions for conversation topics.

Then I gave her a conversation starter.

When we went for orientation a couple of weeks ago, we noticed a couple of Rush t-shirts in the crowd: one on a student, and one on a middle-aged man (surprise!) who appeared to be a parent. The daughter was amused because the middle-aged man was wearing one of the t-shirts she happens to own.

(Admission: there are a horrifying number of Rush t-shirts in this house. I could probably open my own vintage Rush t-shirt store.)

One of the reasons this school was attractive to the daughter was because the student body is a little different. Most of her former classmates walked right down the middle of the road, their tastes in music and culture never deviating from the usual suspects. The daughter (like the rest of her family) danced to a different drummer (or three), and reveled in Dave Grohl throwing a misbehaving audience member out of the Foo Fighters' iTunes Festival show over the summer. ("That was so satisfying!" she crowed as we watched. But then, she's seen her mother knocked off her feet at two different concerts by drunks. So yeah, satisfying.) She was pretty pleased when she came home one day last week and told me, "I met someone who listens to Muse!"

(Muse, bless them, provided the soundtrack for the little film she made that she screened for her audition.)

Still, the girl seemed cowed by the sheer number of people at her new school, and hesitant to interact with others. Like her mother, she can be paralyzed by crippling shyness (unlike me, she just hasn't learned yet to refuse to admit that she's shy. It works for me most of the time.)

Thinking things over, as mothers do, I went digging in one of my bureau drawers. I have so many t-shirts...

"Here," I told the daughter, handing her the item I'd gone in search of.

"But Mommy," she exclaimed. "You don't have to give me this..."

"Well, if you don't want it," I shrugged, holding my hand out.

"No! I want it," she said said, grinning and clutching the tee to her chest, turning partially away from me.

She wore the shirt to school the next day, a mint condition Vapor Trails tour women's tee.

(I actually had two, and I kept the long-sleeved one, which I bought at the merch stand at the show in Manchester all those years ago).

The story as I heard it was that a nice girl from the music and theater conservatory noticed her shirt and said, "You know Rush deserves so much more recognition than it gets."

And the daughter had found a lunch buddy.

The Chucks arrive today.

Go listen to some good music: "You Bet Your Life" from the album Roll the Bones by Rush.

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