Last Friday I inform my thirteen year old son, Charles, that we are going to DC for the day on Saturday. He wants to know why. I say, “because if I leave you home alone with your sister for ten hours I’m worried one or both of you may die.”
Saturday morning I tell Charles to get ready. He’s pacing around. I can tell he wants to ditch the trip and spend the day with internet friends trying to assassinate zombies or alien lizards. Or his sister.
Charles asks, “What are we going to do?”
“We’re going to an assault weapon museum, dinner and then a concert that will blow your mind like the zombies you annihilate everyday.”
We arrive to the Sackler Gallery, a Smithsonian Asian museum. We take our seats in the auditorium. Charles looks at the program. “Buddha Overcomes All Obstacles.”
“Mom, what about the assault weapon museum?”
“They’re closed, honey. Who knows? Maybe Siddhartha will use an uzi to overcome his obstacles.”
The performance of Cambodian dancers and musicians begins. It’s as visually stunning as fireworks on a Key West sunset over a sea of diamonds.
I’m prepared to overcome the obstacle of Charles sitting through the performance. He’s mesmerized. He may have even been enlightened about the peace that could come to him by giving up his Cyberpower Ultimate Gaming System. Doubtful. Maybe he’ll sit under the big oak tree in the backyard with his legs crossed to achieve an emotional state of calm. One can dream.
That night we arrive to the concert. Charles asks what we are seeing.
“A blasting banjo, a banging upright bass, a blaring tabla and a mind-blowing Indian flute. Music for your head, man.”
Charles is into it. After a solo by the master tabla musician he turns to me and says, “Oh my god, Mom, did you see what he just did? That was awesome!” Then he shifts around his seat like he’s embarrased by his enthusiasm.
I’m in parental ectasy. Then last night I request he hand over his computer and phone. He throws a fit.
I say, “What would Siddhartha do?”
I think that may be the only time in the history of mankind that the phrase Screw Siddhartha was uttered.