Culture Shock

Culture Shock: A Discussion with Vampires and Werewolves

Sometime late this summer my son Garrett will move up from the dorms into a small house with three other college students. Two are like him. One is not like him.

It isn’t as if I have a problem with that. Three out of four of my daughter’s best friends are gay or undecided. The come in a variety of skin colors and sizes. They’re all cute and all Vampires and all smart so of course they’re friends. I love all of them just how they are.

Garrett’s future roommate is a little more complicated. She isn’t a Vampire. She isn’t a normal person (you know what I mean.) She is a Werewolf. At the tender age of sixteen some asshole bit her and turned her into a highly contagious dog-girl who howls at the moon. I know why her parents are so upset. So is her uncle. Her uncle is a Vampire. He is a Vampire of his own choice.

Yesterday the uncle, a guy named Jeremy (same name as my dad) called and asked if we could meet. He and Bailey were coming up from the Bay Area for the day and thought it would be a good idea to meet.

I could tell Jeremy was a success as a Vampire right away. He had the calm confidence of our kind, but also gave off the vibe of being hyper aware of his surroundings. Nobody else would have know this sandy haired guy with a warm smile and bright blue eyes was a blood sucking creature of the shadows.

He said Bailey had dropped him off and would be back shortly.

I poured a few glasses of chilled spiced blood and we sat on the deck.

“What happened to the Werewolf who attacked Bailey?” I had to ask.

Jeremy’s mouth set in a grim stance. “She was put down.”

“Any reproductions from the Werewolf community?”

“They know the rules. If Bailey had become anything it should have been a Vampire, not a damned Werewolf.” He paused trying to gather his words. “It hit Bailey hard. She knew I was different, but she had no idea. This was all fiction to her before she changed. The Werewolves have been no help at all, at least none that I know.”

Culture shock is hard on a teen, not to mention the physical changes when becoming, for better terms, something else. There are feelings of sadness, loss, anger and fear. They wonder if they’ll be able to live among people unlike themselves. They fear someone will find out. On the flip side some see it as an opportunity and have fun exploring their new life and meeting others like themselves. Unfortunately there are not always a lot of folks like them. Vampires are rare and Werewolves are  even more rare.

“We have friends who are Werewolves. They’re kind of out of the dark dog culture but they have their own support system. They’re cool.”

“Garrett told her about them. I guess he has friends who are Werewolves.”

I could hear my old dog yelping her happy somebody-is-here song.

Bailey wasn’t what I expected. I don’t know why I expected some dark eyed waif with a heroine chic look. She was about 5′ 8″, wearing jeans, a flowered pink camisole style shirt and bright pink Vans. Her pixie style hair and eyes were the same color as Jeremy’s.

“Wow, you’re Garrett’s mom. You look so young,” she said.

I was charmed. “I’ll tell you a secret. I’m 155.”

Both Bailey and Garrett looked surprised. Oh well. We talked for a few hours until I had to pick Clara up from the high school.

As I drove up to the school I could see two older boys, graduating seniors walking along and laughing as teenage boys do. They were two of the dozen Vampires at the school. Just typical kids with big time family secrets.

Bailey had mentioned that she’d dropped out of high school after she’d been turned into a Werewolf and homeschooled for her last year. Everyone assumed it was from her injuries. They were partially right. The boys I was watching were born into Vampire families. It was safe for them. There was nothing to be scared of. For Bailey there was everything to be scared of.

I told Bailey that Garrett, his best buddy Randy and their other roomie would watch out for her and help her navigate her new world as a young adult. I hope I’m right. They’re still learning. But like Randy’s mom and I have discussed – our kids are also good about learning from their mistakes.

When we look at people who are different, either by culture or other differences, we have to give them a break. At the same time when we are surrounded by people who are different it is a good time to learn something new. It is a good time to get out of your own skin and experience something different. It is a time to share. Not always, but take the positive.

Of course being a Werewolf is just plain creepy in my book. I look down at my own hands on the keyboard and can’t even imagine growing claws and dark brown thick hair on them.

My friend Adam once told me that he wished he could take a full moon off and walk through the night as a man, and not a wolf. He said it would be nice not to smell blood (I beg to differ for obvious reasons.)

Being the odd one out is difficult. I know how that feels. My wish is that Bailey and others like her don’t feel it so much. My wish is that they don’t feel it at all.

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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