Heartwarming Sunday evening conversation in Casa WestEnders:
Derek (yelling in an aggrieved tone from the hallway): "Mooooommmmm! Riley just told me he's gonna do some...SEWING!"
Practically quivering with indignation, he huffs into the room where I'm attempting to read my book, followed by his younger brother...who--seemingly in accordance with the bold accusation that's been leveled at him--appears to be carrying a piece of felt fabric, a needle, and a length of thread.
Riley (in a mild, reasonable manner): "Hey, it's homework! I'm behind on my assignment, and I need to finish this."
Derek (working up to full-on Taunt-Your-Sibling mode): "Shut up! No one spends their free time sewing on the weekend! How are you even my brother?" And then, for his grand parting shot, he scoffs, "No wonder the girls wouldn't talk to you at the movies!"
Okay, some quick background on that: Riley was invited to go out for pizza and a showing of The Scorch Trials on Saturday night with a group of friends. The boy who initiated the plans, according to neighborhood intel, has been...ahem..."an item"....with a certain young lady "since the Summer". So the attendees included the happy couple, one of the girl's pals, Riley, and another guy they're all friends with--you know, the typical Middle School "hang out in the safety of a crowd when the Opposite Sex is involved"...thingamajig. Now you're up to speed...to continue....
Riley, for once in his life, chooses NOT to rise to the tempting-but-dangerous bait that Derek is dangling in front of him, practically daring him to blow up and start an actual scuffle that would require parental intervention. (And by the way, about that...I'm. Sitting. Right. Here...Doofus...) Instead he shrugs and says, "It's my Art class. I like it. What, you got something against the Arts?"
Derek (beginning to sputter as his argument--never that well-formed in the first place--starts to seriously run out of steam and unravel) mutters something about "girls" and "knowing how to sew"....and then trails off when he's unable to come up with anything else.
By now Riley and I have officially ganged up on the teenager, who's clearly just ranting just for the sake of stirring up trouble, without any actual basis for his claims. Riley jumps in to point out that there are, in fact, both males and females in the class, and neither gender seems bothered by the whole "sewing project" in the least. I make sure to mention that being able to--at a minimum--perform some basic tasks with a needle and thread constitutes a valuable Life Skill that he would benefit from mastering. He (somewhat desperately, I believe) attempts to counter with, "Well, does Dad know how to sew?" I assure him that his father is indeed capable of re-attaching a button....and perhaps repairing a seam. (Although I'm not totally certain about that...but it sounded good, and supported my side of the story, so we'll go with it, yeah?)
He suddenly laughs, "If a button fell off...I'd probably just try to glue it back on! That would look great, right....if a suit jacket lost a button and I tried to stick it in place?" I (slap my forehead and) reluctantly admit that there are professionals who will take care of all kinds of...clothing-related issues...but you do have to pay them. "Oh, that's fine, then," he says breezily, "I'll just do that!"
Siiiiiggghhh. On the plus side, the potential for a Brother Brawl was effectively defused by this ridiculous little chat. However...the list of Things I Must Teach Derek Before College just keeps growing. At this rate, we're going to have to devise our very own Survival Course to test Derek on his ability to exist outside his home...where so far in his life, his mother and father have prepared his meals, washed his clothing...and fixed his occasional misplaced button problem. Alrighty, then...Household Chores 101...coming soon to a kitchen....and laundry room...near you!