Zippy the Monkey Boy and I were eating breakfast at a sidewalk cafe in San Francisco. We’d just rented bikes to cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge and wanted to fuel up. I was about to dig into my omelet when I found I could add another job to my resume: freelance parenting.
Here’s what happened.
Zippy the Monkey Boy and I were sitting outside next to an older couple. They were eating as well when they got interrupted. The girl was youngish, maybe in her early 20s, blonde and a bit hesitant.
She spoke to the older lady. I’m paraphrasing here, but I think I’ve got the general gist of it, if not all the actual words. It’s pretty close to a quote.
“Hi. I’m sorry to interrupt, but, see, I need some help? I think I’ve got an ear infection? I know I do? But, see, normally I’d ask my mom what to do? But I can’t get ahold of her? She tells me what to do with these kinds of things? But . . . can you help?”
I am completely, 100 percent serious about all this. I’m not making up anything. That’s pretty close to an accurate quote. This young woman interrupted the breakfast of an older couple to ask these strangers what she should do about an ear infection, based solely on the fact that the woman was older. All because she didn’t have access to her mom, who, even though the girl had probably graduated college, didn’t know how to take care of her own health.
Frightened would probably be a mild description of my state of mind. I just couldn’t believe I’d heard that. I think the older lady was a bit shocked as well since she didn’t answer.
I had no such problem, of course. I stepped right in. I educated her on ear infections, what they’re called, and what they can do if left untreated. Then I suggested a course of treatment (antibiotics) and how to go about getting them (go to an urgent care center or try a pharmacy as many of them have pharmacists capable of prescribing low-level antibiotics) and the suggestion that she should get them as soon as possible, as well as getting some ibuprofen to deal with the pain.
“Uh, yeah,” said the older lady. She looked at me, gratefully. I nodded.
Freelance parenting, dudes. It’s all in the ability to make it look like you know what you’re doing.
I’m still, more than a week later, shocked that this young dudette couldn’t take the most basic steps toward taking care of herself without leaning on a parent. It’s shocking that this girl was let out into the world in such a state.
After talking to Zippy the Monkey Boy, I felt a little better in that he described a series of (different but acceptable) steps he’d take if he didn’t feel well and was out on his own. But still. . .
We all need to have a series of talks with our older young dudes and dudettes. We need to make sure they are prepared to deal with, or at least know who to go to for help in dealing with, minor health issues such as this. We parents aren’t going to be around forever and they might not find another freelance parent around when they need one.
Independence is more than a goal. It’s a necessity.Share on Facebook Tags: A Dude's Guide to Kids, A Dude's Guide to Life, A Dude's Guide to Teens, ADD, Ahold, anger, Antibiotics, Bikes, Bridge, college, dude, Dudettes, Ear Infection, Ear Infections, Freelance, Gist, Golden Gate, Golden Gate Bridge, Health Issues, mom, Monkey, Monkey Boy, Older Lady, Omelet, Own Health, parenting, parents, Pharmacists, richard, San Francisco, Sidewalk Cafe, Suggestion, Urgent Care Center, young dude, Young Dudes, Young Woman, Zippy, Zippy The Monkey, Zippy the Monkey Boy