Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Why are teenagers compelled to lie?

My son and I have been getting along pretty well recently. I was feeling pretty glib about the situation. Bad idea. The Fates notice that kind of thing.

This afternoon, Grendel called me to tell me that he was home from school. I asked about homework. Then I asked him to do a couple of things (really minor things) that would have taken him less than five minutes. He did one: he got the mail. He didn't do the other: rinse out the pots in the sink. The third thing I asked him to do was to call the Red Cross to arrange for his final test for his life saving certification.

When I got home, I noted the pots in the sink. I mentioned it to him. I then asked him if he'd had dinner. He said 'yes'. So, I asked him what he had. He said an apple, something else, and a little bit of pasta.

Grendel had a meeting at school this evening. He needed to be there by 6pm. At 5:25 I yelled for him to come downstairs. He came downstairs and looked confused. I reminded him that he had a meeting at school. I told him that if he didn't want to go, to let me know so I could get comfortable for the evening. He immediately started putting on his shoes.

I had been harboring a suspicion of late that Grendel has not being putting in his contact lens. He asked to switch to a contact because he didn't like wearing glasses. This was over a year ago. However, nearly half the time we've checked he hasn't had his contact in his eye. So, tonight I decided to do a spot check starting with "Where's your contact case". Grendel pats his pockets and then goes over to his backpack and immediately riffles through every pocket. Finally, he comes back with his back-up contact case and starts putting fluid in it in preparation for tonight's removal of the contact from his eye.

My suspicion increases. "Let me see your eye" He holds his face close and looks up so I can look in his eye to see the contact in his eye. No contact. He starts poking around in his eye and acts shocked and annoyed that the contact is not in his eye. I start out the door, but don't say anything else just yet.

In the car, I asked him if he called the Red Cross. He said 'yes'. I asked how the call went. He said he had to leave another message telling them that he needed to arrange the final test.

A few minutes later, I realized that there had been no pot for cooking pasta when I'd cleaned the kitchen before we left. I asked him how he had cooked his pasta, pointing out that I hadn't seen a pot in the kitchen when I cleaned it (the mess he was supposed to have cleaned). He said he had used the microwave. (uh huh) I asked him 'How long did you have to cook the pasta in the microwave to get it done?' 'I don't remember.' Then I asked him 'What bowl did you use to cook it?' He got irritated and asked me why it mattered. I said that it really didn't matter to me if he ate dinner or not, that it was his stomach that would be hungry during his three hour meeting if he hadn't eaten enough.

I then proceeded to lecture him about the contact and how some states won't let people drive without glasses if they are as blind as he is in his right eye without glasses. And, if they get caught driving without the proscribed glasses that they can lose their driver's license. I also told him that the Service academies will accept candidates with correctable vision, but that if he didn't wear his contact on a regular basis that his right eye wouldn't be able to muster the strenght to pass a vision test when push came to shove.

We did not exchange another word. I dropped him off in silence.

When I came home, I checked our land line and his cell phone records. He had not called the Red Cross like he said that he did. So, he didn't clean the kitchen and then he lied to me three times in the course of an hour (dinner, contact, Red Cross call).

None of these were Earth-shattering issues. Had he said that he 'forgot' on the call, I would have been irritated but not nearly as pissed as I am right now. On the dinner thing, I really don't care if he wants to walk around hungry; that's his problem. As for the contact thing, if he doesn't get it, I can't do a damned thing about that.

I really despise being lied to over things that it's easy for me to figure out that I've been lied to about. It makes me feel like the person lying to me has no respect for me, that they think I'm stupid.

I told my husband that he will be the one picking up my son after his meeting this evening. I have no desire to lay eyes on him at this point. It may seem like a trivial thing, but lying is a pet peeve of mine. I don't know why he feels so compelled to do it.

1 comment:

Summer said...

I hate being lied to also. I always told my kids that lying to me would be much worse than telling me the truth that they think I will be mad over. Maybe he lied just so he wouldn't have to deal with you giving him the business as to why he didn't do what you asked. Kids can be such a pain at times.