Toney flew to North Carolina earlier in the month, to spend a few days with her sister and cousin. It was one of those deals where it was planned far in advance, but when it came time to actually buy the plane ticket… she wanted to cancel and allocate the funds elsewhere. It’s the standard dance we do.
But I’d gone to visit my parents a few months before, and was amazed at how it had cleared my head, and improved my mood. Just occasionally stepping outside the swirling snow globe o’ boolshit that is our everyday life is good for the soul. So, I lobbied for her to go through with it.
And she was glad she did. She came back feeling energized and optimistic. In fact, we had a conversation about making a conscious effort to keep shaking things up, and not allowing ourselves to get mired in routine for months (years) at a time. We vowed to take day trips, and even some overnighters, when possible.
Then everything took a troubling turn…
We have this fantasy, you see, where we return to the South as soon as both our kids are away at college. We want to sell our house here, and move to Lawrenceville, Georgia – which is in the suburbs of Atlanta. How we arrived at that specific place, I cannot recall. But it’s been the plan for quite some time.
And Toney suggested we go there – just the two of us – and scout it out for a few days. It’s been a long time since we’ve been to the area.
“Sounds good, but what about the boys?” I asked.
“Oh, they’d be bored,” she said. “I want to just hang out in Lawrenceville, and maybe look at some townhomes and things. They’d hate that.”
“Yeah, but… what will we do with them?”
“They’re old enough to be left alone for a few days, don’t you think? They’re 18 and 16.”
And that’s when I almost drew a poop comma in the seat of my boxer briefs.
The reason I’m not down with the idea
When I was a teenager, I was a full-blown dumbass. It was a powerful cocktail of energy, hormones, dipshittery, and an insatiable thirst for mayhem.
My parents would occasionally go away for a few days, and there were shenanigans. In fact, on at least two occasions I came very close to being arrested. The only thing that saved me was the fact that my dad was the fire chief in our little town, and all the cops knew and liked him.
One time my folks were away, and I was out drinking with my friends Bill and Steve: drinking, while driving. It’s what we (and many of our peers) used to do… We weren’t returning from a place where we drank. Oh no. The entire evening consisted of nothing but driving around aimlessly, guzzling beer, and listening to Van Halen and Billy Squier.
It was really late, like 2 a.m., and a female cop pulled us over, in front of Keller Funeral Home.
“You took that corner pretty wide back there, didn’t you, Mr. Kay?” she said. Most of the cops knew me by name.
“I didn’t want to spill my beer,” I told her, which sounds smart-ass, but was just me being truthful.
“You might want to watch your mouth,” she continued. “How much have you guys had to drink tonight?”
“Not much. A couple.”
“A couple, huh? The whole floor of your car is covered in beer cans.”
“Um, a lot of those are from yesterday,” I lied.
We ended up taking drunk tests – all three of us – and were coaching one another: “C’mon, Steve! You can do it! Just concentrate. Take it slow…”
“SHUT UP!” the officer kept yelling.
She finally told us she was going to let us go, but would follow us home. And, she warned, if she saw us out again that night, we were all going to jail.
We got back in the car, and Bill immediately popped the top on another beer. “Want one?” he asked.
Needless to say, my dad knew all about this episode, within minutes of his return. And it wasn’t a very good couple of days for your humble correspondent.
Another time Bill and I were drinking in my garage, and shooting at passing cars with BB guns. Bill apparently shot somebody’s side mirror, it ricocheted off, and hit the driver in the face.
And the guy was pissed. He came charging at us, acting like he was ready to fight. However, once he got a good look at Bill, he decided he’d better take a different course of action. He was still angry though, and stood there yelling at us for about five minutes.
Then he went to the police station, and filed some kind of complaint, or somesuch. Again, nothing happened officially, but my dad was made aware of it when he got back to town. And he was not pleased.
There have been incidents
Bill, Steve and I laugh about those days. But I would be brought down by a massive stroke if my kids pulled even half the stunts I did. It’s a wonder nobody was killed, or had an arm sheared off like all those guys in Def Leppard (the whole band is missing an arm, right?). We fully and gleefully embraced the stupid.
Our boys are fairly well-behaved, but there have been incidents… Not many, but enough to trigger a mega-frown at the thought of leaving them alone for four days. Of course, if there had been NO incidents by this point, I’d demand a paternity test. But that’s a subject for a different day.
I realize it’s a little unfair to hang my 1980 idiocy around the necks of my current-day kids. But, tough shit. They can file a lawsuit, if they’d like. And I know the older one is 18, which is old enough to join the military, vote for president, etc. And he’ll be going off to college in the fall. I understand all this intellectually, but my instincts are still screaming, “Nooooo!!!”
I mean, the two of them alone for four days? With all their friends hanging around, safe in the knowledge we’re hundreds of miles away?? I have visions of MTV Spring Break happening in our living room, and us returning to nothing but a chimney, a toilet, and a big black circle where the house used to stand.
So, I’m not on board with this idea. Not at all. I’ve been a teenage boy, and understand what that entails.
But what do you think? In the comments section, please share your thoughts. If you have kids, have you ever left them alone for a few days? At what age? Did anything unusual happen? Also, when you were a teenager… did your folks ever leave you alone for extended periods? Please tell us about it.
And, I thank you guys for the support!
I’ll see you next time.