Wednesday, August 05, 2009

So much trouble..

So this morning Gary told me a story. A true story. It happened last night and it goes like this:

Last night 3 of Brian's friends (well, two friends and a friend of one of the friends) all did something at one of their houses and then came over here, late-ish, to spend the night. At some point in a late night of video gaming they realized they would really like some soda. There's a chain drug store just two blocks away. They sell soda. One guy has twenty bucks. So the five of them leave. One boy is really, really tired. From a distance one might wonder if he is high or drunk. One boy is hyper (per usual). He is wearing socks and playing "Mission Impossible," tiptoeing along the side of a building.

And the police drive by. They stop. They get out. They say in their radios that they might need back up.

"Do you boys know there is a curfew in Our Small Town?"

The boys are separated. They are asked about drugs, weapons, made to show what they do or don't have in their pockets. One officer, looking at the younger boys, says, "Any of you on probation?" Gary decides that they aren't looking at him and so aren't asking him. He says nothing, knowing that if they ask him directly he will have to tell them.

At this point in the story I have to tease Gary. "That's your third felony in as many months."


"Yep. Two D's and now out after curfew."

"Oh, yeah, technically the D's can be counted as two."

"Yep. You're bad."

Gary though is having a great time telling me how each boy reacted. Brian is apparently a really bad actor when he is scared. "No sir, we didn't know there was a curfew. We tried to Google it, but we couldn't find it."

The littlest guy (the one playing Mission Impossible) is trying to act tough. The exhausted one, a boy with a mop of curls is saying as little as possible. The police tell them they should take them to the detention center for the night, or at least call all their parents, but they will give them 2 minutes and 30 seconds to get back inside our house. Clearly the police believed their stories.

So Gary was laughing, telling me the story, knowing that I will be cool about it. He said that the kids were so worried that the police would tell their parents. I said, "I'll do that."

For the first time Gary is worried. He told all the boys not to tell anyone. How can he be the one to tell? I said, "Don't worry. I'll tell them the cops called to verify their story." I also advised Gary to tell his girlfriend. Brian and one of the other boys goes to the Art Charter School. She will hear about it.

So I went downstairs. Friend One (a boy who has been part of every serious misbehavior in which Brian has engaged. As Brian said when he was four, "Well... [Friend] put the idea in my head, but when it was there I wanted to do it too") says, "So, I hear Gary told you what happened last night."

"No. The cops called to verify your story, then I talked to Gary."

"Oh." He's got the oh-man-this-is-serious face.

"So, everyone is going to tell their parents, right?"

All three nod. Friend One has that practiced sincere look that impresses adults who haven't known him since he was a baby. Little Guy is just looking at his lap. Curly-headed guy looks nervous. I say, "Because you know that I WILL call them to make sure you've told."

This gets through to Little Guy, whose eyes open wider as he nods again, still not making eye contact.

Curly-head guy introduces himself. Yep, we've never met. I told him my name and then I said, "I have a policy. When kids do something really stupid and as a consequences of doing it they realize how stupid it is, I don't punish them." They all sighed. "Of course, I have no control over what your parents will do." Anxiety returned. "I do want to know though, can I trust you all to spend the night again? Will you promise that you will not go out after curfew, that you will not leave the house without our knowing?"

They all promised.

Brian was asleep during this. As I finished writing the above he came to the kitchen for breakfast.

"I heard you had some fun last night."

"We just wanted to get some soda."

"And what did you learn?"

He grinned ruefully, "The police are everywhere."


  1. Hello Yondalla,
    I have literally spent the last 2 days reading your blog and I'm still not finished!
    What does this say about me? That I'm interested in the things you post, that I'm interested in doing foster care, and that I have no life! HA!... all are true!

    I wondering if you'd allow a "newbie" reader of your blog to have access to your private blog?
    If so, I'd be grateful. If not... I understand.


  2. Brandy, it took me Yondalla's entire vacation to read from her first post to her return from vacation last year (which is when I originally started reading). I then had a dream that I was being fired. Hmmm...

    Y--Brian is hilarious. I have my own curfew story, involving a police officer checking the ID of a friend who was 20 and then thinking that the ID must be a fake. I'm sorry, but who has a fake ID that says they're 20? We had a good laugh at that one.

  3. My reaction is one of indignation. Those kids were minding their own business, going to buy soda. I don't know where you live but in our town there's only a curfew for kids under eighteen on Halloween and Mischief Night. That seems to be sufficient to protect the innocent populace from the predatory young.
    Doesn't it seem like your tax dollars would be put to better use than in paying police officers to ride around and hassle kids who are walking to the store? I firmly believe in consolidating municipal services so each little hamlet and wide place in the road doesn't have its own police department, water department, superintendent of schools and so on. It's a terrible drain on the tax payers and you're not being any better served.

  4. Miz Kizzle,
    Our Small Town has had a curfew since before I moved here. There is enough gang activity that I have always accepted it as ... well ... acceptable.

    Besides, I don't actually want the kids leaving the house without my knowledge, after I've gone to sleep, which is what they did. I don't mind the cops sending them on home.

  5. ROFL at "We tried to google it . . ." AH HA HA HA HA!

  6. Thank you! Other Mother.

    It was so funny here...Gary had me laughing through the whole story and somehow I was not able to mostly capture the humor when I wrote it.

  7. We tried to google it cracked me up something fierce!

  8. As long as you're okay with it. I'm a criminal defense attorney and the idea of cops ordering kids to turn out their pockets makes me edgy. As a nation we have an unfortunate tendency lately to hand over our civil rights without a whimper because we're terrified by buzzwords like "terrorism" and "gang activity."
    It's too bad that some of our kids can't enjoy late-night walks with friends and harmless goofing around because Big Brother is watching them. We relinquish our freedom in the name of a nebulous "safety" that doesn't really exist.


Comments will be open for a little while, then I will be shutting them off. The blog will stay, but I do not want either to moderate comments or leave the blog available to spammers.