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Shoelessness: A Father's Shame

In my growing quest to remain calm, no matter what, when dealing with my teenage son he seems to have ramped up his efforts to make me dropkick him in his chest...

Last Tuesday or Wednesday (I've done my best to block the day out of my mind) I pick this kid up from football practice. He moseys over to the car as usual. Nothing out of the ordinary. After receiving my normal blah greeting from him I run down the handful of errands we have to do before we go home. He looks straight ahead through the windshield as I'm speaking when he suddenly seems to process what I said.

"Can we go home?" he asked with alarm.

Figuring he had a date with the toilet I told him he can use the bathroom at our next stop.

"No, I need shoes."

I asked why. We weren't going anywhere special.

"No...I need to put on shoes," was his reply.

My face twists up and I swerved a little on the road as I try to make sense of what he's saying to me. My logical mind fought against the insanity of what my son was suggesting until finally I gave in.

"You don't have shoes on?!"

"No, cuz you told me to leave my running shoes in my football locker. And I wore them today."

"Huh? (half-second pause) What?! Lemme see."

He lifted up his leg a bit and he truly wasn't wearing shoes.

"Yeah, and I thought I had my shower shoes but I didn't."

"So you left the school without shoes?! Yes, I told you to leave your running shoes at school, but not if you were wearing them! You actually left the damn school without shoes?! Are you out of your mind?! Un-(oh, how I wanted to curse, but didn't)-believable!"

At this point I have one hand on the wheel and I'm no longer looking at the road at all. I thin my gaze on him and said, "Not even your country cousins would do something this country."

He began to laugh, completely tickled by his buffoonery.

I took a deep breath, collected myself and returned my focus to driving. "I'm going to need you to not speak to me until we get home," I told him. He continued trying to explain but with every attempt I yelled gibberish over his words until he finally gave up.

When we arrived home I should've done the right thing by going upstairs to bring down a pair of shoes and continuing on with the errands we needed to run.

Nope. I told him his mother and I spend too much money on him for him to be walking around without common sense and looking homeless in our presence. But he was welcome to do so on his own. I sent him on his way and waited in the car until he returned with his shoes. And he was astonishingly okay with that. I called the wife and let her know how her son left school.

I do remember being a teen...but not like this.

When my wife arrived home, she kissed our daughter, gave me a kiss, calmly walked up to our son and smacked him in the back of the head.

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