Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Day My Music Died

As I was walking my dogs tonight, the friendly neighborhood drug dealer passed me as he often does. Unlike the normal scenario where my dogs bark and he keeps walking in silence, though, after we'd both continued to walk ten to fifteen feet in our respective directions, he called to me. I turned, and he yelled something I could barely hear, something that after about a minute of repeated yelling back and forth, a lot of questioning on my part, and a bit of pantomime on his, I finally understood. After all this time, he said, we both look exactly the same.

The drug dealer, who I've been passing on the streets of my townhouse complex for probably about ten years (save for an absence of a year or so when he mysteriously disappeared), was right. Save for my ever changing hair colors, neither of us really looks any different from how we looked when we first "met."

When we first walked past each other, the drug dealer and me, I was in my early to mid thirties. At the time, Griffin and I were closer than I knew a mother and son could be. Ever Friday we had an after-school coffee date that neither of us would miss for anything. One Friday, Griffin actually got in a fight (semi-fight?) with the singer of his band because he wouldn't miss coffee to go to practice. Those coffee dates lasted for years, maybe five of them, from middle school to early eleventh grade.

Coffee dates, of course, weren't the extent of our relationship; they just typified it. I used to barely get through teaching a class without a text from Griffin: memes, photos, song lyrics, random facts (are you aware a kangaroo has three vaginas, everyone?), trivial conversation. Griffin used to never leave me alone. We did makeovers and took walks and went out to eat. Once we even drove to Savannah on a whim to see the spot where they filmed one of his favorite movies, Forrest Gump. I protected him from his dad (even when, admittedly, he probably didn't need protecting), and he protected me from his dad, too.

I believe I even have a blog post where I write something akin to, Regarding Griffin, can I just say soulmate? Nothing else to see, move it along.

I'm thinking your inference skills are probably good enough to have realized by now that between me and Griffin, something's gone wrong. Two years ago, things started to change. Saying no to hanging out with Alex wasn't as desirable as saying no to practicing with his band, nor was bringing her along like we did in their beginning, and our coffee Friday dates stopped. That was really the start. In that time, our relationship has deteriorated hopefully not to beyond repair, but in truth I'm not so sure.

I won't go into all the details, not for the sake of privacy or propriety because we all know I care for neither of those things but for the sake of space. There are just so many details, and in the end, do they matter at all? We're both to blame in different ways (in addition to quite a bit of help from some outside forces, and far be it for me to be one to name names, but if yours either starts and ends with an A and has an X in the middle and you used to have pink hair but now maybe sport a faded shade of blue or you're someone who runs a couple thousands miles a year or at least you used to, I happen to be talking about you).

Tonight when I pulled up a few hours and one day after a fight during which, among other things, shampoo was squirted all over the bathroom and the hallway; posters were taken off of communal walls; toiletries were hidden in a car; someone was forcefully chest bumped, grabbed by the wrist, and thrown into the hallway in addition to being called one of two emotionally abusive and horrible parents, a fucking idiot, and insane; and another person was called trash and his ex-girlfriend called a whore, I saw a box peeking over the wall in front of my house. Upon walking up, I saw a crate full of records, a guitar, a record player, and other things that escape me now.

Even though I knew, I had to ask when I opened the door. What's going on? 

I'm gonna go stay at my Dad's house.

I was afraid of the answer, so afraid of the answer, I didn't want to ask, didn't want to know:


He didn't know.


That friendly neighborhood drug dealer thinks I look the same because he can only see me on the outside. If he could see me on the inside, he'd know I don't look the same at all.

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Summer's started, and like the past two summers before this one, I should be settling into my hotel, getting ready for a week of reading AP exams along with thousands of other teachers, college professors, and instructors. I'm not, though. Despite having a hotel reservation, a roommate who requested me, numerous confirmation e-mails, and I'm sure a name badge that annoyingly says Miramar High School AND Miami Dade College on it because when I applied to be a reader, I didn't realize the submitted text would be transcribed verbatim and no matter how many times I've tried to change it because it makes me feel like an ass, be assigned to me for the rest of my AP reader life, I'm not there. Instead, I'm sitting at my sticker-covered table writing this blog, losing over $1300, and waiting for a phone call that apparently I'm not going to get tonight from a nurse at a  psychiatric hospital saying that I can come get my son.

In what seems to have become a matrilineal tradition now being transferred to the males of what I guess would properly be referred to as the Weinstein line, Keifer, like me, my sister, my mother, and my aunt, was Baker Acted. On Wednesday afternoon, I sat with him in a psychiatrist's office while he talked about his suicidal ideations and his willingness to act on them and then watched while despite his not having a plan, which is supposed to be a factor in being involuntarily committed, an officer frisked him against a police car, sat him in the back, and drove him to the nearest mental institution where he now resides with, among other people, a little boy who hears voices and stupid teenage girls who think cutting themselves is the thing to do. And now I can't seem to bring him home.

As if that's not bad enough, Kei being in a mental institution where he definitely doesn't belong because I promise you, that kid was not about to commit suicide this weekend, he's definitely been misdiagnosed, and instead of being treated for the depression he should be being treated for, he's being forced to pop Adderall two times a day for the ADHD he doesn't have even though Adderall, a drug that's banned in many countries because it's so dangerous, is one of the most addictive drugs around and people with drug issues aren't supposed to take it, and I keep telling his doctor and the doctor's PA and anybody I see in scrubs that Keifer has a drug problem and nobody will listen to me even though right now, right this very second, there's a text on the lock screen of Keifer's phone that says, keifer do you have OC, nobody at this godforsaken hospital will listen to me because Keifer says it isn't true and because he has absolutely no fat cells and a metabolism that enables him to be 5'10" and weigh 117 pounds his drug test came up negative (it's a thing, I promise), and what the fuck kind of psychiatric personnel listens to a fifteen-year-old who's in a fucking mental institution and gives him more drugs to add to his motherfucking potential-addiction list?

The word disaster is so overused that people don't realize the severity of one, but this whole experience has been a disaster in the most severe way. Not only is Keifer practically in prison being turned into a drug addict as we speak, but now he's completely distrustful of the entire mental health process and wants nothing to do with it. Whereas he previously wanted to see a therapist and get help because he was so tired of feeling hopeless, he's now afraid to ever again tell a mental health professional how he really feels, something that for someone with deep depression and anxiety could lead to the worst outcome possible.

At this point, I'm impotent. There's absolutely nothing I could do but wait for these people to let Keifer out of the hospital and complain (and what better way to do that than via this blog?), and I have to tell you, as a mother, it's plaguing me that I can't do more.