Saturday, March 29, 2014

His Third Degree Brown Belt

Have I ever told you that I hate people? Sometimes, I really do.

So today, Nick took a four hour test to earn his 3rd degree brown belt in karate. I was so proud of him. Even when he walked into the dojo, wondering if he would pass, I was proud that he had stuck it out for so long. Lots of kids take karate. Not that many study it for eight years.

I was too jittery to sit at a coffee shop and wait, so I decided to take the dog for a long walk in the rain. We headed to Marymoor park, where Teddy could run with the other dogs. As we walked in, I set RunKeeper on my iPhone and away we went, round and round while I thought about Nick. Five and a quarter miles later, I couldn't wait any longer. I had to head back to the dojo to see if they were close to being done. They weren't. I went through the drive-through at Jack in the Box and got a southwest salad and ate it in the car while I watched them. Thankfully, they had paired kids with other kids and adults with other adults. Nick is pretty solid, but I'm not ready to see him fighting an adult who's testing for either a brown or a black belt. They had brought the group outside in the rain where they sparred in what they called 'the gravel pit.' When they all ran back inside, they were filthy, yet, Nick had a grin on his face. I look for that. If he's got a grin on his face, then it makes me feel better when he's doing something this difficult. It's a sign that it's still worth it for him to be there.

The test ran four hours!

So, that's not what makes me hate people. I expect a brown and black belt test to be grueling. I do. Otherwise, it wouldn't mean a thing.

When I had eaten my salad and was on my way back into the dojo, I ran into a friend, Brad, and his son, Kyle. Now, Kyle has never been nice to Nick. That has always irked me. The family will invite us to dinner and Kyle will ignore Nick or make fun of him all night. It got to a point that we stopped accepting invitations to their home. Out to dinner was one thing, but dinner at their house with an hour or two of talking in the kitchen while the kids 'played' in the den was out of the question. It was miserable for Nick.

As we stood there in the parking lot, I got excited and told them that Nick was finishing up his brown belt test. Brad said, "That's great." And I went on to tell him how hard Nick had been working and how long the test was taking. Then, I asked them what they were up to. The movies. And did they like it? Yes. And so on.

But why was Kyle standing behind his dad, snickering uncontrollably? The kid is about an inch taller than his dad, so he had to hunch down to hide while he laughed. What the hell?

Suddenly, Brad said, "Ah, we have to get going, something we need to get done." And he hustled Kyle off before I had a chance to say goodbye.

What the hell was that?

I texted Mike, who was doing his Scoutmasterly duties, camping in the pouring rain. I explained what I had seen Kyle doing. He probably thinks Nick's training is a joke, Mike texted back. Oh yes, I do hate people. I hate some people with passion. I'm starting to hate some people's fathers as well because they don't make some people apologize for being so incredibly rude.

So later, I left Nick at home with a canteen of water and an ice pack on his shoulder. I had to run to the market for more hot cocoa for the Boy Scouts. It was a wet day out there. They'd run through their hot drinks. In the parking lot of the market, I ran into another acquaintance, Suzanne. I won't exactly call her a friend. Not now. We got to talking and I couldn't help myself. I really am proud of my boy. Again, I mentioned that Nick had just passed his brown belt test.

For a moment, her eyes went wide. Incredulous is the best way to describe her expression. Yes. That's the word, exactly. Oh, she rearranged her face in a flash, and we went on to talk about other things. Yet I saw that look. I saw it in her eyes and the small 'o' her mouth had made.

Did I tell you that I hate people. I seriously do.

Thank you for listening, jules

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