Monday, April 2, 2012

Annual migration leads to my basement

It’s a fact of nature that animals migrate during the springtime.
Countless documentary type shows have chronicled the migrations of beasts large and small as they return from their winter feeding grounds to their summer homes where the living is good and the food abundant. And with the same regularity, many of these creatures migrate to the basement of my home. No, my house is not full of returning geese or migrating wildebeasts, but every spring my home fills up with teenagers – lots and lots of teenagers.
There is always a teen presence in my home year round, but in the springtime those numbers multiply – a lot. Previous years have seen the migration take on National Geographic proportions. They would come out of the woodwork and land in my basement.
Like their wild animal counterparts, they are loud, full of energy and are always on the prowl for food. Last year was the busiest on record with seven additional teenage boys spending most of Spring Break using my house as a gathering and feasting area.
Kind of like a natural oasis for teens. This year there is only four of them crashing in my basement for Spring Break, and saying ‘only’ is kind of like saying it was ‘only’ a tornado. If they are not hanging out in my basement, who knows where they would be gathering. It’s not that my son and his friends are bad kids, but they are teenage boys so they think and act accordingly. Anyone out there with teenage sons knows what ‘accordingly’ means.
First, it means they will eat everything in the house – and I do mean everything. Even the cat and dog start to get a little nervous when the feeding frenzy begins. I guess their primal predator survival skills kick in and they lay low until the frenzy stops.
We cook enough food on a daily basis to feed a small army, which is still not enough for a horde of hunger-crazed teens. Is it ever enough? I will have to get back to you on that one. Teen boys are also full of energy which they distribute throughout the world by doing stupid stuff – like jumping off the sun deck onto the trampoline, or trying to skateboard down a handrail that is 300 feet long, or seeing just how far they can jump their mountain bikes.
Teen boys are also loud – very loud. For some reason the louder they are, the more fun they are having and the more fun they are having the louder they are. The TV and stereo also must be cranked to a volume loud enough to drown out the sound of a landing jet liner.
For such young people they sure have poor hearing to need everything to be so loud. I have heard it said, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old.” If that is the case, I officially declare myself too old to deal with the noise. But there is just no way a herd of teens can do things quietly. I have accepted this as just part of how life is. The upside of my home being a clubhouse of sorts is I have developed the ability to block out unwanted noise. This skill has come in handy on many occasions at work.
 When some of my co-workers are stressed about all the ‘crazy’ background noise of the workplace, I can sit at my computer, happily typing away as if nothing were amiss.
 “Doesn’t all this noise make you crazy?” asked one frazzled co-worker during a particularly loud afternoon.
“I have teenagers, it will take a lot more than a few people talking on their phones to knock me off my game.”
Now if you will excuse me, I must go grocery shopping – where they know me by name and there is even some talk of getting me my own parking spot.

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