Once and Again

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Reefer Madness

Karen climbs into the minivan and launches into her concerned-parent lecture, saying, "Do you understand that your father and I are worried about you? That it's not about pot -- it's about your life!" Eli mutters that he can run his own life. "I'm not so sure you can," Karen says with a disappointed shake of her head. She looks straight ahead instead of at him. Eli wants to know what she means. "Things have to change, Eli," she says again. Jesus, shut it off, already. "And I'm sorry," she starts (and she so isn't sorry at all), "but starting now there's going to be structure in your life. You decide: Evanston Community, or find a job. Either one is fine, but now you're going to do it! We need to know where you are when you leave the house." Eli breaks from biting his nails and rolling his eyes to say an offended "excuse me." The ass-pole's on a roll, though, dictating fast and furious, and there's no time for interruptions: "And you need to be home by ten every night." Eli protests that he's eighteen years old. Eyes flashing, Karen snaps, "And you live in my house!" She's scary right now. Eli thinks so, too. Karen offers a bogus compromise, saying that after he gets a job, he can move out. No shit, genius. Like he needs your permission to pay his own rent. She adds that, until then, she's not going to sit back and "watch him head down the path to destruction." Okay, this drill-sergeant bit is so not how to deal with a kid in this situation. Karen needs to send away for How To Talk To Your Teen About Drugs. Or better yet, How To Talk To Your Teen, Period. Eli's boiling, but manages to keep it in. Karen's winding down, feeling the waves of hate radiating toward her. She adds, "One more thing. And I'm sorry, Eli [and, again, no she isn't], but, no more music." This snaps Eli to attention. "What do you mean, 'no more music'?" he demands. "Just what it sounds like," she says. "No sessions, no gigs, no rehearsals. Not until you put the rest of your life together, period." Oh, does he ever hate her now. He can't even speak, he's so full of loathing. Karen shakes her head slowly, knowing he despises her, and says calmly, "Eli, I know what this sounds like." She reaches out to touch his shoulder, but he jerks away. "But it's not a punishment, really," she continues. "We're your parents. We love you. And this is the best way we know how to show it." What's with all this "we" crap? She adds that he's "just going to have to try to accept it." She waits hopefully for a response. There isn't one, unless staring straight ahead, glowering, and grinding his teeth counts.

Cut to the kitchen of Manning Manor. "How come you didn't get arrested?" Zoe demands, like it's a total rip-off. Grace, sitting at the table with Jessie, answers impatiently, "Because, the stuff was in a boy's jacket." "Did Eli cry?" Zoe asks. Even more impatiently, Grace says that he didn't. She says to Lily that the cops "had no right to search that car." Lily says that's not the point, but Grace won't let it go. She argues that it's not constitutional, and asks, "How would you feel if some cop came up to you and didn't like your look and started searching your car?" Lily's unconcerned. It's inconceivable that some cop wouldn't like her look, after all. Especially when she flashes a little bra strap. Grace isn't surprised that Lily doesn't have a problem with it, saying, "You're not black and you're not a teenager, so they wouldn't stop you." Lily looks disturbed, perhaps because despite her wardrobe, someone noticed she's not a teenager. Zoe pipes up that some kid she knows smokes pot. "An eleven-year-old?" Lily cries. Grace taunts, "Mom, eleven-year-olds are not smoking pot at Zoe's school. Twelve-year-olds, maybe." Lily tells her to shut up. Grace is loving how uptight Lily's being, and gloats, "It's all around. That's just the way it is." Lily asks the requisite parental question: "If everyone you knew was blah blah blah..." Oh, sorry, automatic reflex. She gives the old jumping-off-a-cliff scenario. Grace patronizingly says that pot doesn't kill you. That's right. The cancer does. Lily stares at Grace and tries to remain calm. "Are you saying you use it?" she asks. What a square. Who "uses" pot? Jessie finally looks like she's enjoying this exchange. Suddenly, Grace isn't gloating anymore. She says she doesn't "know if [she wants] to answer that right now." Lily clutches her pearls and asks what Grace means. Grace says, "Because it's very private. And if I said no, you'd think it's because I think it's wrong, and I don't know if I think it's wrong. And frankly, I have to make that decision, not you." Lily's looking at Grace like her head is melting. Grace adds, "And if I said yes, you'd just kill me." Jessie sidles over and offers, "I've never smoked pot," with a grim little shake of her head. Great. Here's a lollipop. Zoe pipes up that she hasn't smoked pot, either. Lily doesn't react. She's too busy trying to keep the room from spinning.

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Once and Again




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