The backstory: Though he is often a very pleasant companion, sometimes I’m reminded that living with a 15 year old is still a landmine, as was the case when JT and I discussed the 10th grade summer reading list. It requires the students to read two books and then choose a third from a small list of classics that seems exceptionally appealing to boys (we’re talking All Quiet on the Western Front, A Farewell to Arms, David Copperfield).
Me: It looks like a pretty good list.
JT: The second list is short.
At this juncture, because his tone suggests that the short list is a grave injustice and I am aware that teachers often blow off the third summer reading book, I cheerfully encourage open rebellion. I do this because he’s a teenager, a sect known for sometimes enjoying a flouting of the rules. And because a short reading list of decent books seems just fine to me, a point I made when this conversation began.
Me: So read something from the long list instead.
JT (in an exceptionally scornful tone that suggests he is being raised by a simpleton who understands very little about formal education): We’re. supposed. to. read. from. THE. SHORT. LIST.
Me (now trying to figure out how this seemingly short throw-away conversation has turned into yet another example of how I don’t get it): Got it.