Every now and again I win four numbers in Life’s Lotto and Teen2 calls me Dude.
It’s usually when we are raving about something we are both crazy about - like her dog Zwiggy - who is the nicest dog any person could possibly adopt from the Sandton SPCA.
“But Dude,” Teen2 says as we argue how severely Zwiggy should be punished for eating my new shoes. Or chewing a hole in the more significant parent’s favourite leather chair.
“But Dude...” Teen2 says, setting out her case for the defence.
I always wreck the moment by trying to hug her (Teen2 – not Zwiggy) or by dribbling with pleasure because she is conversing with me like I’m a real person and not the lady with baggy upper arms with whom she shares a gene pool.
And Zwiggy always gets off with a bad-girl-bad-girl and a wagged finger and a long walk to make up for it all.
Teen language is my kind of music. I can listen to it all day. But when I try to sing along, I’m scared I’m going to get the words wrong.
So it is when I’m writing Confessions of a Virgin Loser for Mr Steve Vosloo from the Shuttleworth Foundation that cold week in July that I throw myself on the mercy of Teen1 and Teen2.
Help me get it right. Don’t let me become the poster lady for ridicule and contempt among thousands of cellphone addicts who want to read books on their cellphones instead of using battery time to chat to their families. Help me speak the true language of a Virgin Loser, I beg.
Thus it comes to pass that Teen1 and Teen2 and their friends gather in my kitchen fuelled by airtime bribes and promises of mall trips and a bag of biltong for Zwiggy.
And they read Confessions of a Virgin Loser. And they argue about language and why people in different places coming from different spaces can say one thing and mean another.
How one boy trying to pop his cherry is another boy trying to peel his banana; one girl cracking up is another girl hosing and pissing herself while the rest of the group gets pissed and chunders and barfs.
And they read and they agree. That there are a million different ways for a Virgin Loser to tell his story. And however he tells it, whether in the words of a boy from Sandton or Mitchells Plain or in the words of a boy from a school with no windows or from one with three swimming pools – it’s the same story.
And they read Confessions of a Virgin Loser to the end. And they laugh. And then they laugh some more. And Teen2 says jeez, mom where do you get all this crazy stuff from?
And I say: I get it from you, Dude.