My poor little cousin Levi had his heart broken a couple weeks ago and to take his mind off of it my Aunt suggested he come stay the weekend with me. I was immediately excited, then I panicked.
What the heck am I going to do with a 16 year old?
I can't take him out drinking, most of the shows are 21 and older, he lives in Washington so I didn't want to take him to the touristy spots, but mostly I had no clue how to balance being the cool older cousin while still touting the importance of enjoying his youth without being totally lame.
He arrived on friday evening and I took my Aunt and him to Dicks as neither had ever been. It was cold but we still stood outside on the long metal counter set up under the iconic sign. There is an art installation in the empty lot where the light rail will soon be and we watched the laser lights run up and down the space while eating and chatting. At one point Levi's napkins flew out from under his burger. I didn't hesitate to run and grab them as they flew down Broadway but I heard my aunt say behind me "they recycle everything up here". It was the first of many comments throughout the weekend that reminded me how the Middle American mentality is still prevalent in my family.
I took Levi over to the tall one's house and we waited for him to get home before heading over to Dodi and Michael's for another fun round of Apples to Apples. It was a small, slightly impromptu, get together and I was grateful for it as I still had no idea what to do with the kid. However after chatting with him I heard things from him that, shockingly, reminded me of myself when I was his age. There were times when I wanted to bestow my wisdom upon him, explain that he doesn't have to be angry and yes it's hard living with your parents but suck it up because soon you'll be gone and you'll hardly ever remember that time...but I mostly just kept quiet. Same thing when talking about his ex-girlfriemd, I remembered how much it sucked to have adults trivialize the pain I was feeling when I broke up with boy who's name I can't remember right now but was the LOVE OF MY LIFE!!! OMG!!!! I WILL DIE NOW FROM A BROKEN HEART!!! I'M GOING TO PLAY SKID ROW UNTIL I CRY MYSELF TO SLEEP!!!
Yeah, Skid Row. What? I grew up in the era of hair bands, so sue me.
Saturday Levi had a few places he wanted to go so we began the longest day ever known to man at a Ski and Snowboard expo at the Convention Center where we just happened to run into the tall one's ex. Ugh, that girl is everywhere. I feel lucky that he and I never run into any of mine, but even if we did I'm positive they would be civil. I hate the awkwardness. I was eager to leave after that so we did some quick searching for the local ski resorts before heading out to REI.
Oh, the downtown REI. I hate it because I covet most of the crap that they sell there and I loathe all the fleece wearing eastsiders who walk out with massive amounts of gear when I can hardly afford a hat. Spending anymore than 20 minutes there gives me a headache, but we spent a good three hours in the surrounding area. The entire time looking at things that I will never be able to afford. It sucked, but Levi was enjoying himself and that's all that matters. He decided to get a membership as he wanted to climb the rock wall so we wandered around to Feathered Friends and another ski shop to wait until his appointment with the wall. He climbed up that thing like a monkey and when he got down he was shaking like a leaf.
I'm thinking the shaking was from not consuming anything other than a Monster energy drink all day...but that's just me.
Shopping for that long always makes me exhausted so we headed back to my apartment and the old ones took a nap while Levi played Wii. I really wanted to get a show in while Levi was here and I remembered an article I had read in the Stranger about a band called Fences and they just happened to be playing at the Vera Project which is all ages. Yay! After nap we headed over and grabbed tickets and then killed time before the show at Easy Street.
The bands were incrementally alright. The first guy made me want to gouge my eyes out, Fences was decent but didn't meet my expectations and the headliner Hey Marseilles was fun, but didn't blow me away. Still, for $10 it was worth it to see the smile of Levi's face. I think he enjoyed himself and that was the point.
We wrapped up the weekend at Dim Sum and then drove down to Southcenter to meet up with my Aunt so I didn't have to drive him all the way to Orting.
Other than a few funny/odd moments...
Me to Dodi: "This is the first time his Mom let him hang out with me. She thought I was a bad influence."
Dodi to me: "I can see why!"
I turn around to see him in the kitchen with a shot glass full of whiskey
...and an interesting conversation about Jesus being black that may have blown his small town mind, I think he had fun.