Forget waterboarding, nothing holds the candle to that time when you sassed your mom in 9th grade and got ye good ol’ silent treatment. You were dead to her. For a whole week you got your food cold, and I’m not talking about the stuff on the plate. The worst was when it overlaps pocket money deadlines or promise dates. Even your dad bore the brunt and stood by helplessly.

Well, once again I find myself at the receiving end of solid silent treatment. Except this time I’m getting it from a 9th grader who’s not even my own child? “Oh no he didn’t!”  Was the first thing I though once it dawned upon me that the curfew I reminded him of got me talk suspension time. What? I still can’t believe that it’s lasted two days so far.

So there I was, waking up this morning with the heartburn of 100% undiluted peeved-offness. What do you do when this pain comes upon you? You skype your most hard-core friend for a good dose of boundary establishing whipp-ass. I finished my oatmeal gulped down a cup of hot brown and marched toward the gladiator’s door. Rapped a few times on the door, just hard enough for him to know I mean business. He ignores me. “How predictable!”, I huff, before I push the door open to find him laying pathetically on his bed. I wonder if he thought his “I’m actually sleeping” strategy was going to fool me. Well, I did feel a little sorry for his poor defensive choices. While swallowing my laugh, I lay down the law in no uncertain terms. You know, “This behaviour is unasseptable” (Super Nanny)…”I refuse to teach you until you apologise” (Hard-core friend) and “I’m gonna call your parents” (my 5th grade teacher).

Somehow my rhetoric must have seeped through his combersome dreams and his silent treatment-cum-avoidance strategy has now fused into the “I’m actually actually sick” strategy. Sick enough for him to ask me if he was allowed to skip his math class. Ah, the age old headache excuse seems to cross cultural boundaries! I wonder if the UN has found this out. Actually, I did hear him call me pathetically through the door, but I made him get out of bed and come and find me. After making him squeeze out the words with as much pathos and politeness as he could muster in his frail condition, I swiftly informed him that he was to make his request known to the math teacher in person.

Hard-core friend is persuaded of his faltering courage, and cheered me on enthusiastically. I am feeling pretty victorious myself. Now for phase two, and tonight’s dinner of course…