Traveling with someone you have little in common with, aside from DNA, is a challenge – but after ten days on the road with the little bastard I can honestly say, aside from my choice of restaurant last night, "The Stinking Rose", it's been pretty congenial.
So, the kid hates garlic – but I'm not all that keen on basketball, endless shopping, or dining at places called "In and Out Burger" or "Bubba Gumps". So we're even.
Give and take. With a slight emphasis on give.
True, I dragged his ass through the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art yesterday, but let him spend extra time drooling over the iPads in the Apple store. And I made him climb a mountain trail in Big Sur, and the steps at Telegraph Hill. Twice. But I endured another round of popcorn shrimp. Okay, so that wasn't really torture.
This was always meant to be his vacation, otherwise my fat ass would be lying on a beach sipping sangria in the Costa del Sol. But he hates sitting still for 5 seconds unless there's a ball, puck or wallet being tossed about. So here we are.
I have learned the secret to happy travels with teenagers is to avoid that dreaded boredom stage where they morph into psychopaths and start checking their text messages every 30 seconds. Keep them busy (and a nice bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet close at hand).
So you sacrifice sitting and staring at the scenery – but sitting and staring at your happy kid watching Kobe Bryant is worth it. But wait a minute, isn't that Dustin Hoffman?!... and David Spade... and Danny DeVito... and Jack fucking Nicholson!? All of a sudden I like basketball.
The little bastard has a choice to make soon. Go away to prep school, or stay at home. The choice is his. Either way he wins. Either way, I will hang on to these memories and this last full day of dancing to the beat of his moody teenage drum.
If I suddenly burst into tears at tonight's Giants game, it will have little to do with Willie Mays, the cost of tickets, resisting the garlic fries, foul $12 beer, or the fact that the Giants suck.
It'll be all about loving him. And the moment.