School hasn’t even been out for a full week, and our oldest kid is already in trouble.
In fact, school hadn’t been out even an hour when I discovered our son had been happily tweeting for at least a couple of weeks without our knowledge.
This violates a major internet rule in our house.
It’s a simple one — social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook are off-limits to kids unless mom and dad are given the option of ruining the experience.
Since we were never informed, I made Twitter just about the last place he wanted to be.
I signed up and followed him.
Yea, I know. I’m a real twit (sorry about that but I couldn’t help myself). But as I told our son, ruining things like Twitter is one of the joys of being a parent.
“If it makes you feel any better,” I told him. “When you get older, you can do the same to your kids. It’s part of what makes parenting worthwhile.”
I don’t think he believed me.
Our son’s decision to “forget” to inform us of his activities in the Twitterverse is not what really bothers me. It’s more the fact that I was forced into creating a Twitter account at all.
I already waste too much time checking Facebook status updates and wondering why my FB friends think pictures of what they are having for dinner are interesting. The last thing I want to do is start obsessively checking Twitter for similar photos of favorite meals.
So what did I do to make myself feel better?
I bought a car.
I was so despondent about having to become a Twitterer, that when I drove by the dealership, I couldn’t help but stop and have a look around.
My wife and I had been talking about downsizing, anyway. Gasoline doesn’t seem to be getting any cheaper, so with my 90-mile commute to Washington, D.C., it was either get a new car or start operating my own backyard oil refinery.
Since the whole refinery thing seems extreme, I opted for the car.
It was a good choice. My wife is now driving our Jeep and I’m getting more miles for the money than ever before.
So why do I feel like I just graduated from college?
I guess it’s because I’m back in a small car. When I was fresh out of college, I drove a bright red hatchback Toyota Tercel EZ (sounds sporty but it stood for “Easy to Own” and it was tiny).
Even though it didn’t have air conditioning or even a radio, I drove that car (in silence) for years. I was still driving it when I got married, when we bought our first house and when we had our first child.
Then one day, my wife suggested I needed a bigger car. We were expecting a second kid and she didn’t care to watch me shoehorn both our babies into the back seat.
That’s when I came home with my first grownup car. It was a white Jeep Cherokee. I loved that vehicle, but with gas prices and my commute, it eventually had to go, too. We traded it in a few years ago for the smaller Jeep Patriot that’s now parked in the garage.
We may be downsizing as gas prices supersize, but even small cars come with lots of bells and whistles these days. Compared to my old stripped down Toyota, our new little Nissan is impressive. It even has a dock for my iPhone.
In the future, maybe someone will come up with an easy way for drivers to use their cars to safely update Twitter and Facebook accounts.
That way, I could annoy my kids while keeping my friends up-to-date on the gourmet Sheetz sandwiches I pick up on the long drive to work.