I went to a function at LilZ’s school yesterday. This was one of those mid-day events, so part of it involved me being able to eat lunch with him at the cafeteria. I used to do that all of the time when he was in elementary school, but this was the first time for middle school. I wasn’t even sure if he really wanted me too until I saw how excited he was to see me standing outside the door of the lunchroom. It was totally cool and boosted my ego exactly when I needed it. It’s nice to see I haven’t embarrassed him to the point where he hates me yet. This is the age where I wouldn’t even sit next to my Dad at the movie theater (Dad: Please forgive me for being an asshat) so I’m bracing myself for the phase where I’m supposed to not even act like we know each other when we’re in public.
It was a very strange experience. An anthropological study, of sorts. Me being the observer at this foreign tribes mealtime. They have to eat lunch with the class they were in before lunch, so I didn’t know most of the kids at his lunch table. One girl who LilZ described as “a little hyper” asked LilZ, “Who is THAT?” when I sat down. I thought, “Wow. That was confusingly rude, does she think I’m deaf?” Not that I think her looking at me and saying, “Who are YOU?” would have been any better..but still. LilZ said, “My Mom.” And then, she won my a little bit of favor by saying, “Aahhhh…she’s so pretty.” But again, kinda weird behaviour because, am I a dog? Why do I suddenly feel like an animal at the pet store? Kids these days…
The weirdest thing, however, was getting a feel for the barter system they have going on in their little cafeteria village. The second the girl who had a school lunch salad with strips of grilled chicken sat down – the group went into a frenzy. They were all offering her bits of their lunch for a piece of her chicken. CHICKEN. School lunch chicken. And they were FREAKING OUT over it. It wasn’t even fried. She got a yogurt-covered granola bar from LilZ, 4 Pringles from some girl, and a bag of grapes from another. And then, another girl tried to trade her jello dessert cup and no one would take it. I kinda wanted to offer her my laughing cow for it, but I didn’t think they had welcomed me enough into their tribe yet. I don’t think newcomers are aloud to shop at market the first day unless they have something awesome, like CHOCOLATE.
Some other girl dropped what looked like a three-day old breakfast cinnamon roll on the table saying, “You all can have this” and it was like a damn pack of starving wolves the way they all dove in for a piece of that thing. I think I saw blood drawn at one point. And grapes? Those are the things everyone wants. LilZ wouldn’t even trade his for a bag of potato chips, and he loves chips. It looks as though if you had a lunch consisting of strips of grilled chicken, grapes, and stale breakfast pastries – you would probably be elected their leader in 1.2 seconds flat. I think that’s what I’ll bring next time.
The experience was enlightening – although LilZ almost died when I dropped the word “damn” in the middle of conversation. It was an accident! I don’t think anyone noticed because no one was listening to me anyway. I’m the dorky Mom at the table – like I would have anything important to say.