T.M.I., or “too much information”, happens alot these days. It is a phenomenon, mostly found on social media, where people just chatter on and on about themselves just a wee bit too much. Once that chatter is out there on the internet, there is no recalling or deleting all that STUFF… but sometimes an oral recitation of what’s happening can be just as bad.
As I was walking this morning I went down a street where clearly an exodus to the great outdoors was in progress. This was the same family and scenario I encountered and recounted in a blog post earlier this Summer, and as before, they were about to embark on a camping trip. You might recall my conversation with the chatty happy camper who told me how excited he was to be making S’mores. Well this morning, this very amicable young man decided to chat me up again as his parents packed the final fixings for the camping trip.
In the span of less than five minutes he told me all his family’s business and described how the house would be left alone for the next two weeks. He started out by telling me: “The dog and cat are going to stay at the vet’s office because Snoopy, that’s our dog, got lost in the woods the last time we went camping.” Well that info about the pets was innocuous enough until he added: “Dad says he hopes the neighbors remember to watch out for our house and water Mom’s flowers until we come home because half the time they never water their own.” If a thought bubble appeared over my head it would say “good thing I’m not a burglar kid because you just gave me the details to when your house will be unoccupied” or “good thing I don’t want to snitch on you to the neighbors about what you think of them”… but he didn’t stop there. Then, parroting one of the parent’s comments no doubt, this came out next: “Dad’s car needed a new transmission last week and he said it cost a ton of money but we’re still going on this trip because we need to get away for awhile. Grandma will loan us money if we get into trouble and need help; she’s good for it.” I winced at the last statement. Was this child never admonished like most kids that whatever is said in the house stays in the house? Do the parents know about this little motor mouth spewing out all the family news and views? OMG. Way too much information kiddo.
Ahem … not that I was a little angel in this regard. I slipped up only once. My parents were thirty when I was born – that was considered old back then. I had no siblings, was never spoiled and never lacked for attention, but my parents were strict with me and I was basically an obedient child. I knew my place in the family. My parents never had to raise their respective voices when rearing their only child, but one time they really took issue with me.
My best friend in the world from our toddling days until we moved to the United States from Canada in 1966 was Linda Crosby. The Crosbys were our next-door neighbors and Linda was the eldest of three children. She was fun and a great companion about 75% of the time. When things did not go her way she was a brat and she’d throw a temper tantrum. If she acted up at our house, my mother banished her to her house immediately; my mom would not tolerate a whiny, screaming child. We played companionably but Linda Crosby always wanted to be “in charge”. She was famous for grabbing my toys and misappropriating them for her own – my large-sized tricycle was one of her favorite items to snatch from me, even when I was sitting on it. “Gimme your bike now Linda or I’ll beat you up” she’d say and I’d hop off and say “here”. My folks would witness this behavior and were quite miffed over it. When they had seen the recurring scenario happen one time too many, at dinner that night my father suggested he would give me a dime for every time I beat up Linda Crosby. “Really Daddy?” I was excited. (Of course a dime went a heck of alot further in the early 60s.)
It was a Saturday a few days later, when the nefarious Linda Crosby “played dirty” and demanded I get off my large trike and take her small one. I got off and went right over and pushed her chest hard. She was caught off guard and toppled backward onto the ground and immediately started wailing. I pinned each of her arms down with my knees and then sat on her, all triumphant. Both sets of parents came running outside when they heard the ruckus. I stood there and at the top of my lungs shouted “Daddy, I beat up Linda Crosby – can I have my dime now?” How’s that for a precocious child? I got a licking when I got inside for repeating family business outside the house. I couldn’t sit down comfortably for quite a few hours and the smack- down story haunted me for years. It was subsequently dragged out and retold countless times to family friends and relatives through the years. Oops!! P.S. – I never collected my dime either.