There are towers of CDs by bands with names like the Swingin' Utters (actual band name, by the way. I'll let you know when I'm making something up). There are sheaves of papers with hieroglyphic drawings and strange scribblings, codes that couldn't be broken by the most veteran spymaster. If these walls could talk, they would mumble. In some alien tongue.

This place is somewhere I don't understand and don't belong.

And as strange as it is to me now, it will only get stranger. At 13, he and I have a long way to go.

The room, like he and I, are a work in progress. As the scientists at San Diego State University have informed us, the teenage brain starts returning to normal around the age of 18.

Teenagers, I think, might dispute that. It's my guess that they'd argue, as I did when I was their age, that adults, parents specifically, are anything but normal.

I don't know if there exists such a thing as parentphobia. But there ought to be. For if teenagers seem like odd creatures to parents, surely parents strike teenagers as at least that weird.

Who are these bizarre organisms in human form, teens doubtless wonder, who make up silly, arbitrary rules designed for no other reason than to bully and torture? Why must a person sit up straight? It's much more comfortable to slouch. Why should shirts be tucked in? Shirts are cool untucked. Why would anyone eat three meals a day? Snacking on cold pizza, chips, and packaged cream-in-the-middle cakes is less effort; they taste better, to boot.

Why doesn't science do a study on why parents are so weird?

Maybe it's parents with the nerve-wracked prefrontal cortex. Ever think of that? Huh?

Throughout time, teenagers have always seemed like some scary, alien beings. Their bizarre fashion sense. Their slang. Their evermore abrasive music.