Don’t Punch Teenagers

I hadn’t had a long weekend in a while. I love my job and the media consumption that comes with it, but after report after report on political craziness, dead people, crime, animal abuse, and statewide financial problems— I needed to unplug. Cue a four day weekend that coincided with N’s spring break. If I could do I back flip, I would have done one.

My excitement translated into social media posts counting down the hours to my mini-vacation. It is, after all, the fastest way to let the world know about my sunny mood, whether or not the world wanted to know. Every time I told someone I was headed to Lawton I was met with confusion. I’m not sure what’s in Lawton, but people’s responses didn’t do a good job of selling the place. To be more clear, I wasn’t going to Lawton, but to the Wichita Mountains near Lawton, and that seems to make all the difference.

In the car on a Saturday morning we loaded supplies, the dogs, and plugged in the address into the GPS. Ninety minutes to nature– not particularly far, but the flashing 90 minute trip estimate took me back to my time in Colorado where I lived 15 minutes away from Pikes Peak and countless trails. I was uninterested in regular hiking trips when they were easily accessible, but now I daydream about it. The whole thing makes me sound like a walking stereotype, but really it’s my dogs’ fault.

The majority of my time in Colorado I had cats. They were happy to just chase lasers indoors, and continue to be. My dog Mila is from Colorado, but I didn’t get her until a few months before we moved away. I do remember my interest in hiking picked up after getting her. Now, we have Magnus, a 100 lb ball of energy, and he only knows how to relax after a long walk or day of sprints at the dog park. I think Mila misses the mountains because she really comes alive when we get to play in Oklahoma’s version.

That Saturday was a really great day. I couldn’t get online much because the service is spotty out there, so relaxing and enjoying the moment was really my only option. The company was good, the weather was crisp, and the bathrooms in the visitor center were clean. No matter how much I’m starting to like being outside, going to the bathroom next to a tree is never my idea of a good time. That day will remain in my thoughts for some time, not just because it was peaceful, but also because it was the same day I almost punched a teenage girl.

Man, that sounded intense, didn’t it? What I mean is that I was filled with the overwhelming urge to punch a teenage girl, though I doubt I ever would. I’m more the ‘wound with words’ type. Besides, she was far too tall for me to actually reach her face, and punching people in the stomach seems like such a waste.

To be fair, at her age I was probably an insufferable jerk too. Here is what happened…

I was wearing a jammy pack. It’s basically a fanny pack with the added cool factor of allowing you to play music from your phone through a little stereo system. I did look ridiculous, but the unbelievable convenience won me over. Also, I wore it backwards because I vaguely remember that being the cool way to do it in the early 90s. Anyway, I was walking into the Visitor Center, and this six foot tall pretty girl wearing skinny jeans and ballet flats to hike looked at the jammy pack and started laughing. We make eye contact, and she walks off with her parents. You might be thinking, ‘Mireya, why would this girl’s minor outburst get in your head?’ Good question dear reader. I don’t think that’s what happened exactly. That brief experience, that was such an unimportant part of my day, remains memorable because I wasn’t sure how to react.

I have few problems with confronting people, and can clearly tell a person how what they have done has made me feel. If that exchange were with another adult I would have likely said, ‘What’s your bleeping problem,” but the person was clearly a minor, perhaps even half my age. In that split second I went with an emphatic eye-roll, and went on my way. The main take away for me is that I have no idea how to act around teenagers. I think there is no world in which I could have told this girl she was rude, and not looked petty. My husband often says teenagers, “are playing at adulthood.” Older teens like to pretend they are grown-up in the way they act and talk, but can really just be snarky jerks. Tip of the hat to those people that have to deal with teenagers regularly, and my apologies to those who had to deal with me at that age.

I find the experience, and thoughts that came after it comical, which is why I’m writing about it, but I sincerely hope that girl, and any other jerk teens, turns out to be a decent human with a good life.

In the hours that followed, I went on to see some longhorns, roadrunners, and even elk. We picked a trail, and explored. Mila and Magnus had the chance to play off leash at the top of a small mountain, and almost had a Looney Tunes moment when they caught sight of some wild animals, and seriously thought about heading off the side of a cliff to catch them.

After all of that, I had a belly full of tacos for dinner, and drove back home with the sleepiest dogs I ever did see.




She Has a Doggie

I just returned from 7/11, where health nuts regularly buy their dinners. There, I came face to face with some kid and lost! I should have kicked that little brat.

Just kidding, I don’t kick kids, but I do want to, sometimes.

Here is the deal: I had a late lunch and didn’t want a real dinner, so I thought butter toffee almonds and a diet coke were the most logical choice. I live like two blocks away from a convenience store that has these things, so off I went.

I grabbed what I needed, but didn’t beat a mother with two loud children to the cash register, so I waited. I was silently judging the woman because she came to the convenience store with her kids specifically to buy them some ding dongs or twinkies or something, fully ignoring my own reason for being there. I’m a jerk.

Anyway, the woman’s daughter kept staring at me in that unnerving way children tend to do. I made extended eye contact with her a few times to make her stop, but it didn’t work. The little blonde was just staring, and even looked a little judgey standing there in her pink Bratz pajamas holding her pre-packaged pastry.

I couldn’t figure out why she kept looking at me, so I just stared back with a scowl for good measure. Finally the kid said, in the loudest voice possible, “Mommy, look, she has a doggie.”  Her mother just ignored her.

I panicked for like a second. How does this little monster know I just got a dog? Is she a creepy psychic? Of course not, I’m educated, I don’t believe in those things– but wait, what if she is…

I look down, confused, and realize I was entirely covered in dog fur. Like, my black lulu’s look grey. It was gross, but I hadn’t realized I needed a date with a lint roller before I left the house.

I started laughing too loudly in the store after what the kid said, and her mother and brother turned to look at me as if I was crazy.

I realized, I had gone face to face with some kid, and lost. It wasn’t just because she totally burned me, but because to her I wasn’t even there. My clothes and their condition were just a mystery to be solved, which she managed to do very well. She never even talked to me, she just stared and wondered what was wrong with this woman’s clothes, and she made the right call.

Lesson learned, kid. I need to buy and use more lint rollers.