Friday, August 28, 2009

Velvet Goes to College

Velvet has been safely deposited in his dormitory with a minimum of upset. We did have a collective family meltdown on Wednesday when Buzz Kill insisted on working on the computer and putting away Velvet's underwear before anyone could eat. Since we were all starving, things got tense. All in all, we seemed to have a developmentally appropriate separation experience. Velvet heartily wished we would get out of his hair until it was time to say goodbye yesterday afternoon when he started finding things for us to do that delayed our departure.

The most charming moment, for me anyway, occurred on Thursday morning when I was fixing to go to breakfast with Velvet while his father worked on the printer. Velvet was packing up his backpack for the day and included the metal Sponge Bob lunch box in which he stores his paraphernalia. I simply watched him do it and once we were sitting down to a nutritious breakfast from the Dunkin Doughnuts in the food court at the student building next to his dorm, I asked him why he thought it was a good idea to bring all his paraphernalia with him.

He was concerned that if he left the Sponge Bob lunch box in his room, the maid might find it. Apparently someone at the orientation session said housekeeping came in daily to clean the communal bathroom, and Velvet interpreted that to mean the maids would be in every day to make his bed, vacuum and dust.

I'm proud to say that I did not laugh. I merely explained that the police frown on Sponge Bob lunch boxes packed with weed residue, papers, pipes, screens and Bic lighters. Most likely, if he didn't get arrested on multiple charges, the police would confiscate his supplies and he'd have to buy all new pipes. Velvet acknowledged that made sense and left his lunch box in the car when I gave him and the female he befriended the previous night a ride over to their orientation seminar about a mile away.

Some police officers were directing traffic as we approached the main campus because it was also Freshman Orientation at The Big, Beautiful Private school next door that shares all its services with Tree Hugger U - dorms, dining halls, gymnasiums, student unions, inter murals, clubs, libraries -- all that stuff. It's a great system because the Tree Huggers get all these fancy accouterments and we pay state tuition. Hallelujah.

Anyway, I was explaining to Velvet that Window the Libertarian Pot Head - one of my best buddies back in Austin who was a pizza delivery man well into his forties since that's what happens to Major Pot Heads - always says that the law and police exist to serve us. We don't serve the Law or Police, but we should be polite. Sadly, about thirty seconds later, one of the traffic cops waved me through without answering my question and I accidental shouted "Asshole!" out the window. Then I had to explain that it's generally a bad idea to call police officers assholes when there's weed paraphernalia in the car even when you're a fifty year old white woman. Police rarely stop and search the cars of fifty year old white women, but I didn't mean to holler at the cops.

Velvet's new friend Genevieve found this whole scene highly entertaining, calling me "way hardcore." I was a bit flattered since I normally get called a dumb ass. Fortunately, when we arrived at the next entrance to campus there was a friendly clerk in the booth to give us directions to our destination, and the students were on time for their seminar.

I then went back to collect Buzz Kill from the food court so that we could go shopping for a printer stand with drawers where Velvet could safely store his Sponge Box lunch box away from the prying eyes of any random maids that might wander into his room. As it happens, the college administration and the police both told the students at a Health & Wellness orientation that it is illegal to smoke anything inside the dorms because they are public buildings. And it's illegal to smoke weed, as everyone knows. However, they are seriously concerned about student drinking on account of alcohol poisoning and general alcohol related stupidity that leads to injury and/or death. It's my understanding that Zero Tolerance applies to drinking and to getting arrested in a way that tarnishes the reputation of Tree Hugger U in the press. Kids can get busted for smoking weed in Florida, for example, and it's no big deal unless the words Tree Hugger University wind up in any paper anywhere. Tree Hugger U has Zero Tolerance for Bad Publicity. Works for me.

As it happens, this policy is exactly the one I instituted in our home some right before Velvet started his junior year of high school. Velvet had been hanging out with friends from the Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp in Washington Square Park and came home with the news that his buddy Circle Seeker, aka Dime Bag, got him high. I told him then, and evidently Tree Hugger U just told him now: If you're as smart as you think you are, you can maintain your grades and smoke weed without getting caught.

The federal government needs to stop wasting money on a drug war and end this prohibition on weed. This prohibition all came about not because of legislating morality but because the cotton growers and other producers of major cash crops did not want any competition from Hemp. That's where we got the slogan, "It's rope not dope."

I don't know what to think about taxing weed, like they are suggesting to help with the budget in California. Many well informed, public spirited individuals at the Marijuana Policy Project can speak eloquently on that topic. I just don't want my kid to get arrested and lose his financial aid - which reminds me that I don't think Velvet ever registered for the Selective Service. Male children are required to register for the Selective Service in order to receive federal student financial aid. And there was a booth for the Air Force ROTC on the lovely campus of the Big, Beautiful Private School. Interestingly, the Military were not in evidence at Tree Hugger U.
For the record, I absolutely support the US Military in every variety - but I'm absolutely opposed to my kid getting shot at to protect American Corporate Interests. Life is filled with nuances like that.

We'll have a few nuances in the living room here at HQ tonight since the cast and crew of And Sophie Comes Too are coming over for cocktails. The production has been so successful that it was chosen as part of the Encore series in the New York International Fringe Festival.


Gail said...

Hi Trish-

WooHoo!! I am relieved you had a good transition despite Buzz Kill and that Velvet i settled in, Sponge Bob lunch box and all! :-)

And your cast party sounds wonderful - Congrats on the encore at the festival. nice.

Love Gail

themom said...

Oh how this brought back some memories for me. My son (the intelligent one) fell into the drinking and partying his first year at Case Western, thus "academic probation." Then on to the deans list till graduation. Learning of the weed smoking was a funny experience. Now, it is a family event!!! LOL

dissed said...

*applause* What she said.

Hope you have a splendid evening. Cheers.

CDP said...

I love all of your names for people and things. And I agree on legalization.

Comrade Kevin said...

When I was in undergrad, one could smoke in the dorms, then after I graduated they were all made smoke free. And as for smoking other things, I had all kind of tricks to get around that, too.

Anonymous said...

Your house must be a lot quieter now. I hope you aren't too depressed Velvet has gone away. And I do wish he'll visit you often. The Spongebob box is very cute :)

PENolan said...

Blissfully quiet and not a bit depressed. It's fun that the whole college experience for Velvet is bringing back fond memories for everyone.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Point of honor:
I have been stoned for as much of the time since Nov, '67 (when I first smoked really kick-ass Asian weed, wound skillfully on a bamboo chop-stick) as it has been possible for me to arrange to be...and that's not been that hard to arrange...

In the intervening 42+ years, I got four degrees (1 BA, 2 MAs, and 1 PhD), taught at two major universities, wrote for about a dozen major and minor papers, and became a journeyman carpenter (not in that order).

So, yeah, if yore as smart as you think you are, you can pull it off!

Go, Velvet!

PENolan said...

I'm going to turn your photo into a post card, Woody.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Over a printed legend:

"Momma's, Don't Let Yer babies Grow Up To, This?"


(The camera likes me, he added, modestly. But I haven't had any background gigs for almost a year...Bummed, slightly, cuz it's easy money, most of the time...and they feed ya purdy gud! I get into a LOT of "westerns," but they haven't been shooting many of those lately...)

PENolan said...

I've told Velvet that all we need to do in this life is pay the bills and stay out of jail, and that as long as he has a good imagination and good manners, he'll be fine.
You seem to have managed that well enough with a bit of panache ergo: You are a role model. Except for the manners part, I think. How come you keep getting banned from liberal blogs?

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"I'm proud to say that I did not laugh."

I did.

Sponge Bob lunch box - I love it. Congrats on getting that boy delivered.

Liberality said...

So what are your plans for YOU now that you can attend to yourself? Huh, huh? :~)

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

"How come you keep getting banned from liberal blogs?"

My "intemperate" opinions and the language with which I express them, probably.

I tend not to hold much back; i see no reason for 'moderation" in these matters--which, if you have pretensions of "influence" (FDL/Atrios/Corrente/l'orange/DU/Bart-cop/Slate, etc), could be thought to be "detrimental" to your image as a "serious" person, I suspect...

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

PS: I have not been completely successful at avoiding jail, though my periods of incarceration have been mainly measured in days, rather than weeks, months, or years...

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