Things don't always turn out the way you want them too. And Smartmom has learned that lesson again and again.
Needless to say, Teen Spirit didn't get into the high school of his choice. It looks like he may be going to private school. He really liked the place - the alma mater of his beloved Groovy Aunt. This could be a blessing in disguise.
Smartmom has a strange personality combine: she has bad luck AND an incredibly optimistic outlook. It's really a survival mechanism. Maybe she's had it all her life. Things aren't that great but they have to get better.
Which isn't to say that she doesn't do her share of self-pitying rants and tears. Because she does. A lot. And she had a few good cries yesterday (not in front of Teen Spirit, of course) because she was disappointed by the outcome AND because she felt that she had, in some way, disappointed her son.
Like many a mom, she took it on herself: the blame, the sense that it was fundamentally HER fault that Teen Spirit didn't get into the high school of his choice.
THE JUDGE was around from the moment Hepcat read the letter to Smartmom over the phone. Nastiness oozed from his tongue: "What did you expect, Not-so-Smartmom? You're not an A-list kind of person and neither is he." (Ooh that hurt, is it any wonder she despises THE JUDGE?)
SHOULDA WOULDA COULDA, appeared too and chimed in with: "You coulda been more savvy, shoulda found an "in", coulda been more strategic, shoulda prepped him more."
And wouldn't you know it, MS. MEAUREMENT stopped by too - "So and so had better grades, so and so had better scores, so and so looks better on paper. And so and so GOT IN."
Smartmom let them follow her around for hours. She was listless, tired, without the energy to force them away.
Fortunately, she began to feel her inner-optimism emerge during her late-afternoon workout with her wonderful physical trainer. Lifting weights made her feel strong and powerful, like the fighter she is. ("I'll drop these ten pound weights on you, JUDGE, MS. MEASUREMENT, SHOULDA WOULDA COULDA. Shoo Shoo. I'll punch you all in the head.)
Her inner-optimism came in strong after two, count 'em, two Margaritas at the Miracle Grill with Groovy Aunt. In her semi-drunken state, it dawned on her that she knew Teen Spirit's top choice was a long shot; she'd prepared herself for months for the eventuality that he might not get it. It's a de-humanizing system, she reasoned, 5000 kids applied to the school he wanted to go to. 5000 little universes reduced to cold, hard statistics.
So what was it that was making her feel so sad, so put down, so ANGRY.
The power that the piece of paper had to make her feel like a failure. The power that the piece of paper had to make her feel like her son was a failure. The power that the piece of paper had to make her feel like moving out of the city and living in a trailer in California. The power that the piece of paper had...
She ripped it up. Right there. And set in on fire in the ashtray.
Not really. Resaurants don't have ashtrays anymore. But she did burn it. In her head She really did. She burned it. In her head.