All last summer – in case you don’t recall – I was yours and you were mine, forget it all. -Robin Wilson
New Miserable Experience was released in August of 1992 and if anyone remembers a single song from the album, it’s probably “Hey Jealousy.” If they remember two songs from the album, they’re probably “Hey Jealousy” and “Found Out About You.” Both are catchy tunes and both are about failed relationships. Oddly, in adulthood, I feel like “Hey Jealousy” discusses the relationship between young adults, but “Found Out About You” seems specifically juvenile. The speaker in “Hey Jealousy” says “You can trust me not to drink and not to sleep around, and if you don’t expect too much from me, you might not be let down.” Those are obviously adult-ish concepts, but I suppose the cavalier attitude skews young-ish. In “Found Out About You,” though, the speaker mentions “whispers at the bus stop” and “nights out in the school yard,” which allude to high school drama. But I’m not going to write about any of that.
A couple of months ago, “Found Out About You” caught Madison’s attention. She likes to belt out the chorus with me, and I suppose I don’t mind – even though the song is about what it is about. Aside: One day when we were driving, Madison flatly informed us that one of her favorite songs was “Sleeping With a Friend” (by Neon Trees). I reacted poorly. I believe my body behaved as Switch’s did when she died in The Matrix. Philosophical Question: Does this reaction coupled with my harmonizing “Found Out About You” make me a hypocrite? But anyway, I’ve chosen the lyrics at the top of this entry because this is how I have recently felt about Madison.
Robin Wilson struggles to reconcile his past and present in “Found Out About You.” He feels betrayed by a partner who appears to have meant more to him than he meant to her. I assume a large part of the burn comes from the fact that everyone else seems to know it, too. Maybe he thought it was going to last forever. Nothing ever does, though. As you know, Madison and I have spent every single summer of her life together. For two glorious months a year, she and I embark on the same five or six adventures over and over and over. She and I are very close as a result. She’s taken on some of my personal traits – some good (getting ready ahead of time so we can leave early), some bad (changing the lyrics to songs to make fun of family members) – and despite this, I think I am generally doing a good job as a father. I suppose the only downside is the knowledge that it’s not going to last.
During the past three weeks, Madison and I have been at odds frequently because she’s having a difficult time handling disappointment. She’s been asking for things, to go places, to do things. When she’s encountered an answer she doesn’t like, she either growls and rolls her eyes, then storms off, or continues to ask the same question repeatedly, sometimes going back and forth between Lynnette and me. As always, Lynnette assures me that this is a phase, but I think I see too much of this kind of behavior at work to be comfortable with that answer. I have had repeated discussions with Madison in hopes of explaining what it is about her behavior that is unacceptable. She says that she understands, but I think what she really means is that she wants me to stop talking, already.
I have a very routine life. I go to work. Madison has dance class on Wednesdays. We try to enjoy the weekends. Repeat. Barring a disaster or wild turn of events, I imagine this is how things will play out for the foreseeable future. In most cases, I can theorize one or two alternatives, but they are trivial. Maybe we’ll eat at Genki Sushi. Perhaps it will be Kunio. We’re going to go shopping, or to the beach, but possibly hiking, and maybe to a nice restaurant. There are variables, but they’re always the same variables.
Madison is the only thing that fills me with a deep fear of uncertainty. I have hopes and plans and little else. Episodes like the one we’re dealing with always concern me so intensely because I have no way of knowing if it is a phase or the start of something much, much worse. Is this the origin story of a brat? Will my daughter behave with a baseless sense of entitlement? Is she going to be come the kind of person I can’t stand? No matter what I do? Is there anything I can do?