Dinner is finished, and Anne is helping Nolan with some homework at the dining room table. I’m sitting outside by the fire pit, enjoying the fruits of our weekend of patio labor. I am surrounded by freshly-planted wildflowers, two types of tomatoes, and the sweet smell of lavender, roses, and just-turned dirt.
I was listening to Big Tracks on XM, through DirecTV, on our home stereo. I sang REO Speedwagon’s Keep On Lovin’ You a little too loudly while I sipped a Stone Pale Ale and digested the most amazing chicken soft tacos (marinated in tequila, lime, salsa and Tapatio) I think I’ve ever cooked, when Ryan came out to the patio from the kitchen.
“Can I turn off XM and put on Live Aid?” He said.
“No, you can’t,” I said, a little perturbed that my REO Speedwagon rocking had been interrupted.
“But you’ve been monopolizing the TV, and you’re not even inside,” he said. Very reasonable.
“ . . . I meant that I loved you foreverrrrr, and I’m gonna ke–” I sang. “Dude. I’m trying to get my rock on, and you’re totally harshing my mellow.”
“You’re trying to get your rock on . . . to REO Speedwagon?” He said, incredulous. Tough to argue with that. “You’re the only one listening to this, so isn’t it fair to consider the rest of the family?”
Dammit. I raised him to think like this. I’m so proud of him, but . . . Big Tracks, and Stone Pale Ale, and sitting by the fire pit! Shit. Shit. Shit.
“Did you ask your mom what she thinks?” I said.
“She’s going to say that she doesn’t care, because she’s helping Nolan with his homework.” He said.
REO Speedwagon ended, and Asia began: “I never meant to be so bad to you . . .”
“Okay,” I said, “let’s go inside and ask your mom what she thinks.”
We walked into the house, and found Anne and Nolan at the dining room table. Ryan related our discussion, and asked Anne if she cared if he changed the channel.
“I don’t care,” she said.
Ryan jumped up and pointed at me. “Ha! I told you!”
“I don’t care about the radio, either,” Nolan said, with a pointed smirk at me.
“Yes! I get to put on Live Aid!” Ryan said. He started toward the living room.
“Uh, wait.” I said, “we haven’t reached consensus.”
“Oh, we totally have, Wil,” he said with a grin, “you’re 25% in favor, and mom, Nolan, and I are
75% opposed. We have a majority.”
I was done. I’d lost, and now it was time to take it like a man.
“Dude, I have, uhm, extra . . . uh . . . powers.” I said.
“What?” Ryan said.
“Yeah, I went up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start,” I said.
“Okay,” Ryan said, “so you get extra lives on Contra. What does that have to do with the radio?”
I don’t know how he knew that it was the Konami code, but I’m sure he picked it up from me, somewhere over the years.
“Okay,” I said, “just because you knew that, you win. Go put on Live Aid.”
Queen is blasting out We Will Rock You, from Wembley Stadium in 1985, as I type this.