Monday, November 05, 2007

Dads always know

I'm following up here to #2 in my "Weird and Random" post. Here is a thwarted sneaking out story, circa 1985 (me, age 15).

Some friends told me to meet them at "the pond," a gathering spot for some of the punks on the Southern end of town. They all would sneak out and meet there in the middle of the night to smoke, drink, and generally hang out. I didn't know most of them because they went to the cross-town high school. But, I was glad to be included and willing to give disobedience another try.

A plan was needed, to keep my parents off my trail. Certain things needed to be set in place. A squeaky basement door placed slightly ajar; a bicycle set behind the house; all details to be worked out ahead of time. When the hour arrived, I was ready. I went to bed in my clothes, to make a quicker escape. I swiftly made a sculpture of myself, sleeping, artfully created with pillows and blankets billowing just so. Admiring my handiwork, I wished I could take a photo of such a perfect sleeping figure. No lingering.

I left the bedroom. Step by silent step, I gingerly crept to the basement. Past my parents' room, down one flight of stairs, two flights, through the laundry room, out the squeaky door that ::SQUEAKED:: when it shut. But I ran to my bicycle and adrenaline rushing practically flew the five miles to the pond. I had never been there before, so I hoped that my recollection of the directions led me true.

When I arrived, the park was dark and quiet. With my heart beating hard and out of breath, I had to wait a few minutes before I could hear anything but myself. Finally some faint laughter and the tiny flicker of a cigarette lighter caught my scan of the area and I spotted the group many yards away. The man-made pond was in a basin-shaped area, bordered by greenscape and edged by residential homes and roads. Many houses backed up to the small park but were too far to be bothered by any careful teenaged rowdiness.

I walked my bike through the grass and made it to the group. I only knew a few of the punk-types there; I had an unrequited crush on a wealthy trust-funder named Bohdan who was there with his cousin. I found out later that he was more interested in the drugs that could be found among punks than the culture itself. My bike found a place in the grass and I mingled with some of the group, really just watching. I was offered beer, cigarettes, and declined because I was still on an adrenaline high.

Relaxed, I started chatting with my friends and told them the story of my blanket sculpture. They thought I was such a goof for going to such lengths. Their parents didn't seem to care if they weren't around, as long as they didn't get arrested. I don't recall how long I was there exactly—not very long, as I hadn't even sat down when a person warned, "there's someone coming!"

We all were silent, looking in the direction of the community pool's parking lot, at the far ridge of the park. As the figure approached, someone asked, "do you think it's a cop?" I replied, "I don't think so, he's wearing jeans." The man came close enough to be recognized.

It was my dad. He saw me and said, "get your bike." I got it. Dumbfounded, I asked him how he found me—I'd never been there before!—and he replied,

"Dads always know."

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