Disaffected Youth

Theo on Telegraph

Theo on Telegraph / © 2011 neo serafimidis

Is a picture really worth a thousand words? If so, which thousand? Who determines which thousand words it is, the author, or the viewer? Or someone else?

The day before Halloween we went down to the vintage stores on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley to find costume material. The first store we went into was having a closing sale and all items were $5. I scored a complete costume for $10. I figured I’d saved about $30. We were out in a jiffy, and afterwards, Theo and I waited outside while Sarah fought the lines in the hat store.

We goofed around and took pictures. I asked him to go stand by the wall. He walked over and turned around. I don’t know where he learned to put on this look of teenaged disaffection already. He constantly walks around with his jacket hanging off his left shoulder like this. It drives me absolutely crazy, but no amount of my pulling it up and zipping it up, and telling him to straighten up has any lasting effect beyond about about three minutes.

But appearances can be deceiving, as we all know. Beyond this obliviousness to his own appearance, and genuine stubbornness–thanks mom, for passing the genes along–he’s actually still very affectionate, concerned with fairness, and does not like cursing.

While we were taking our pictures and waiting for Sarah, our meter expired just a hundred feet away. As Theo and I walked up to the car to sit down and wait still more for Sarah to come out of the hat store, I saw the envelope. We had a $40 ticket, quite literally within 2 minutes of the meter expiring. How? Where had they come from? Did they sneak up? Did they get an alarm when the minute  passed?

Immediately, the disaffection ran upstream from the son to the father. I dropped f-bombs in disbelief.

And just as quickly, I was chastised, “Hey! You said bad words, Daddy!” I looked at him with his jacket hanging down, and an expression at once concerned and mischievous, and I said, “I’m sorry, Theo.”