Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On "Slow Foreplay on a Fast Bus"

The other day I had a chance to read a wonderful short story by my friend Will Bevis, entitled Slow Foreplay on a Fast Bus, and because of that I'm using today's blog as an 'open letter' to him. Once you've had a chance to read this post, check it out-- or heck, take a moment now, and download the story from It's only 0.99 and well worth it.

Especially if you're a parent, or have ever been a teenager.

Dear Will,

It isn't often I read a story that resounds with me on so many different levels. Within the first few words I was hooked--sitting right there beside you on that uncomfortable bus seat. By the time the kids pulled out the blankets I'd remembered a similar bus ride during the late 90's.

My father should have written down what he'd learned that trip.

I was a sophomore in high school that year, and an active member of my school's NJROTC. A "Navy Brat" by birth it was a logical activity for me to be drawn to.

At the time, my father was my hero, and I wanted nothing more than for him to come with us on that twelve hour round trip from my hometown to Roseburg, Oregon.

He too sat in the back of the bus, away from all the other parents who congregated in the front chattering and gossiping like their children.

I chose to sit with him, as did several of the guys.

Looking back on it now, I can only imagine what he must have been thinking.

Everyone on that bus knew they knew everything they'd need for life. They were all 'adults' in their minds. "Grown up" with no need to learn anything more or listen to the advice of people like my father.

I was one of them.

Less than an hour into the ride, blankets were out, and the co-ed seating arrangements were obviously very...cozy.

Making out wasn't as obvious as it was on your trip, because we had two very intimidating Retired Navy Officers on board with us-- and they had eyes like hawks.

They were our instructors, and by the end of my Senior year were more like family to me than my actual family.

I still have nothing but respect for them.

Over a decade later, and I shudder to imagine what my father saw and thought that cold, wet winter day.It also makes me worry about what I'm going to see in nine years when my daughter is a pre-teen. I can guarantee I will be on all her trips, near enough to keep a hawk eye on her.

Not because I don't trust her, but because I do.

I trust her to be curious.

I trust her to push her boundaries and to want to experience all life has to offer.

I also trust her to be young, and naive, because that is how kids are supposed to be. They're not supposed to be adults in pre-pubescent bodies.

Unfortunately, I also trust her to  be too much like her momma was at that age.

As her parent, it is my responsibility to make sure my daughter isn't under a blanket with some hormone crazy boy and his roaming hands-- and that responsibility won't fall to some inattentive parent sitting at the front of the bus.

Thank you so very much, Will, for not only reminding me of a time when my father was the greatest person in my life. For reminding me of a memory I don't pull out and dust off enough, and for reminding me that my job is far from over. My daughter might not yet be four, but it's only a matter of time before she's on a long distance bus ride with her classmates...

And I intend to be on it.


Seriously, fellow blog readers. Check this guy out. He tells it like it is, and if you're anything like me, you'll be laughing while at the same time scared to death about what he'll reveal next.

Check him out on Twitter too. @willbevis

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