Boyleing Points

Lots of kids headed off to college recently. That reminded me of a column from a couple of years ago:

My grandmother left Ireland for good at 16 or 17 years old (they were never sure back then) and headed to New York by boat. Soon after passing the Statue of Liberty, she hopped aboard a train and headed to San Francisco where she’d meet her brother and establish roots.  She did it all without texting.

It must’ve been so much easier on the parents then. The kids would head off and you wouldn’t hear from them again for six months.  You’d never hear about every close-call, mishap and weirdo or what they had for lunch.

These days you can pretty much stay in constant contact and all that does is drive you a little insane or a lot insane.  Some parents, if the kid doesn’t text or call every 20 minutes, call the FBI and put posters on telephone poles.

My 18 year old, who will go unnamed, headed back in the other direction, to Ireland, for a semester abroad just last week. His first message, via text, was: I’m going through customs. Broke my glasses on the flight. 

And so it began…

I have to admit I thought he’d get further than Dublin Airport with his glasses intact, but I’m not that optimistic so I packed him an extra pair.  A day later he sends another text: you sent an empty case. There were no glasses in it.

I wanted to fly over immediately, grab him by the neck, and point to the glasses I know were (and still are) in the case or the luggage bag. 

Kids like to annoy you and really like it when they’re across the ocean.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before he tells me about the missing glasses he shoots various other texts:

Irish food sucks.

Toilet doesn’t work, like there’s no flusher. And I just took one.

Me: There’s definitely a flusher. You just have to find it.

Him: It was under a vent.

I resist the temptation to say – your glasses are probably in there, too.

My roommates are a dwarf and a hick. And I met two people from Missouri.  They were as expected.

Great, he’s gonna cause an international incident, I’m thinking.

Somebody passed out outside my dorm room. I had to step over him this morning.

Irish people want me to go to a toga party…I’m in a frat now.

Me: A frat?! Who is this? What have you done with my son?

They just told me I was in. They said I look more Irish than they do.

They don’t think I’m American. They keep saying, do it for parish, lad!

I can’t tell if he likes it so far.

A commuter student got stuck on campus last night so I let him sleep on the couch outside my room. He left a thank you note and signed it The Tall Effin Ginger. 

I don’t know what to say, so I say nothing.

I went to a lock and key party. Girls have a lock and the boys have a key so you get to meet people. I got matched up with this stunning, modelesque girl.  But when she smiled, both her front teeth were missing. Not the ones in the back, the front.

There’s a big soccer game. The star on the other team everyone hates is named Boyle. Somebody asked me my name a minute ago and I said, “Donohue.”

I have my first class tomorrow.

Two years later, it ain’t any easier.

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