Monday, April 15, 2013

Witness to a Teen Rendezvous

The Actors

ANITA, stay at home mom of 3 girls in middle and high school

JAN, self-employed mom of 2 in elementary and middle school

CARLA, employed mom of 2 in middle and high school

JASON, junior in high school

“LAUREN,” unknown teen girl (Lauren’s a nice name to give her)

PAM, longtime friend of Anita’s and a stay at home mom of 3 in middle and high school

SCENE: Neighborhood where the women and Jason live

Act I

SCENE 1   The pool parking lot. (The pool hasn’t opened yet for the season.) Anita, Carla, and Jan are standing and talking. It’s about 10:10 a.m.

Enter Jason in his car.

Enter Lauren in her car. She parks and gets into Jason’s car.

Exit Jason and Lauren.

JAN   Hmmm… That’s interesting.

CARLA   Looks like they planned to meet here and go somewhere.

ANITA   Yep.

JAN   He’s a senior, I think. Don’t a lot of them get out of school early?

ANITA   No, not this early.

JAN   I see his mother biking around the neighborhood a lot; you know, the one who’s attractive with the reddish hair.

CARLA   Oh, yeah! I’ve seen her, too.

ANITA   Ohhh… her name is Crystal, and that’s Jason! I’m almost sure he’s a junior.

Anita, Jan, and Carla give each other “the look” that says they are thinking the same thing and chat a few more minutes.

Exit Anita, Jan, and Carla

Act II

SCENE 1   Anita’s home

Enter Anita

Anita’s soliloquy

I wonder if Crystal knows that Jason is not in school. She seems strict to me, based on the time I saw her fussing at her son when he was younger. She was so composed though; not too loud and animated.  Would she be really angry to find out that her son has skipped school to be with a girl? I’ll bet they went somewhere to have sex. I don’t know that for a fact. Why do I think that’s what they’re doing? But why did the girl park the car in the empty parking lot? Why couldn’t he have picked her up at her home; or she could have left her car at the school parking lot. When their parents get the automated message that says their child has missed at least one block, what excuse will the children give them? Anita, you are so suspicious.”

Anita laughs.

SCENE 2   Anita is eating lunch and having a “flashback” to a conversation with Pam two weeks ago.

Enter Pam

PAM   Oh gosh! Some of things I know and have heard about what the kids are doing!

ANITA   I can imagine. I hope mine isn’t one of them. But if you ever see or hear of one of mine doing something they shouldn’t be doing, please tell me.

PAM   You know… most parents don’t want to know what their kids are doing. They say they do, but if you try to tell them, they get mad at you or they don’t believe you.

ANITA   Really? I guess it can be awkward, but I’d really want you to tell me about mine.

PAM   Trust me. The parents really don’t want to know.

Exit Anita and Pam

Act III

Enter Anita, driving a car

Scene 1   Anita is driving past the pool parking lot on her way to donate blood at a nearby church.

ANITA   It’s 2:15. Her car is still there. They must be having big fun.

Exit Anita

SCENE 2   Anita is driving past the pool parking lot on her way home from the bloodmobile.

Enter Anita, driving a car. A stretchy, red bandage is wrapped around her arm at the elbow.

ANITA   Hmmm… 3:15. The car is still there. School gets out at 3:30. Maybe they’re waiting for then to come back to her car to go home.
Exit Anita
SCENE 3   Anita is driving past the pool parking lot on her way to pick up her daughter.
Enter Anita
ANITA   It’s 3:50. The car is gone.  I was right.
Exit Anita
Act IV
SCENE 1   Anita is home, summing up her thoughts and typing this story for a post on her blog.
Enter Anita
ANITA’s “Conclusion” Soliloquy
I really don’t know what those kids were doing. They could have met there to ride to a school field trip together; however, it looked like a little Afternoon Delight. What do they say, “Perception is reality?” I don’t know Jason’s parents well enough to tell them, but if I did, would I? I’d have to be really close friends with them.
I wonder what I should do with this information. It’ll probably be a “planned” teachable moment for my teen girls.
I’ll talk to three good friends, too. Two of them have told me to let them know if I see their kids doing anything that might be, uh, a little sinful… or a lot sinful. I’ve told them the same; even with Pam’s warning. Gotta make sure they still feel that way; don’t want to lose good friends.
Exit Anita
Is Pam right—that parents really “don’t” want to know?

This is a true story. The names and the description of “Crystal” have been changed to respect the privacy of all involved.
Image found on www.parentdish.com

14 comments:

joeh said...

Hmmm my children were such angels I never had to worry about that, except now they tell me all sorts of stuff that I never knew...glad I didn't now, but...

Tabor said...

I think it takes a village. And I think you should tell your friends that you want to know. It is a conundrum, and I really do not know what I would have done other than obviously stared at the kids and waved and called their names really loud.

Shelly said...

That's such a hard spot to be in. Of course, if she's a close friend, I would have told her, but probably not if it's just an acquaintance. I'm like you in that I would want to know if it was my kid.

Well written!

Hilary said...

Darn you Anita for making me think this early in the morning (7:00 here)!

;)

Since we don't do the freshman.. junior thing here in Canada, I had to look up what age a junior might be. If the source is correct they say 16-17. At 17, they're on the edge of adulthood. I'm thinking that's just on that border of whether to tell or not. Tricky.

My personal criteria for telling and/or wanting to know is:

- Is it dangerous? Are either of these teens at high risk to life and limb?

- Is it illegal? Could one of them be involved in something that could land them in jail?

- Is cruelty involved? Is the kid on either end of bullying, demeaning behaviour or a glaring lack of respect or concern for their own or others physical, mental or emotional welfare?

Appropriate or not, I do get why some parents would behave negatively when being told of their kids' behaviour. It can be perceived as intrusive. They feel exposed and judged. Someone else picked up on what they missed. I think it's part of the insecurity that many of us feel as parents. Plus now there's important information about their child to confront and deal with.

That doesn't answer your question though, does it? I'm not really sure. I think it depends on how well I'd know the parent in this particular case.

It's certainly not out of the norm for teens of this age to be sexually active and I'm pretty sure we've all skipped school a time or three.

If I were to decide to speak to his mother, I would not fill in any of the blanks for her. I'd allow her to jump to her own conclusions. I'd probably mention that you saw him meet someone at the parking lot and drive off together during school hours. That's just a fact and it doesn't say you think he skipped school (because that might not be the case) or that they had some afternoon delight (because she may just be a friend who needed someone to talk to that afternoon). I'd allow her probing or not to guide me to how much more she wants to know.

This parenting gig is never easy, is it?

Anya said...

Ah. This post makes me so glad that mine are 2 and -1. :)

But when they're bigger, I will move to your neighborhood!


You have great playwriting abilities, Anita! :)

Julie Magers Soulen said...

I think intent is important. What is your intent in telling Jason's parents? I think when kid's are in high school we parents like to think we still have control, but we really don't. The best we can hope for is that our children make good decisions and don't get hurt, that we have taught them well.

I honestly can't think of a good reason to tell the parents. It doesn't appear to be anything dangerous or illegal going on. I think telling would only upset a lot of people and produce no different results. Just me.

Dang, woman, I haven't even made it through my first coffee!! LOL

Cheers!
Julie
Julie Magers Soulen Photography

Abby said...

Ooooh, that's a toughy. (1) you don't really know what Juicy Jason and Lovely Laura were up to, and (2) you don't know Crystal all that well.

I would want my friends to tell me if they saw my kids doing anything suspicious. At the same time, I wasn't an angel at that age(!!)

I wonder about my kids - especially now with one in college living in a dorm with a buncha sluts ;)

Buckeroomama said...

Hmm, much as I know I wouldn't want to hear about this, I absolutely would want to know.

Linda Hensley said...

If it were me, it wouldn't really have occured to me to tell, but now that you mention it, that's probably the responsible adult thing to do. Course you run the risk of being blasted for being a busy body, and you know the kid will just lie and find a way out of it -- which doesn't mean you shouldn't tell anyway.

Back in the day, I would've been one of the kids cutting school. We always knew we ran the risk of getting busted for it. That's just part of the adrenaline involved :)

Barb said...

This is a bit off subject, but it reminded me that many years ago (1985 in fact), my son and his then-girlfriend bagged school. They were both seniors. The counselor called my husband at work. Bob confirmed that our son had left for school and wasn't sick. That evening, when Bob got home he asked, "How was school today?" Our son said ,"I didn't go. It was such a nice day, ____ and I went for a hike instead. This son has made us very proud, partly because he is so trustworthy. I happened to be in China for 3 weeks when this occurred, but the story lives on in our family. My son married another wonderful young woman, but I'm still also friends and keep in touch with that long-ago girlfriend. I definitely wanted to know what was going on with my kids. Sometimes though - on a really nice day - you just gotta take a hike!

Peaches Ledwidge said...

To tell or not... Hmmm. Teenagers. I like the way you tell the story. It reminds me of a time long ago.

Rebecca S. said...

I am catching up on blogs today! I've been working for two weeks at a temporary annual job (tulip festival) and just don't have much time for any of my normal activities!
Anyway, I suppose given the same circumstance (and I liked your play script here!) I would have handled it this way: if the kid was the son of someone I knew well, I would tell them. If not, then I would wait and see if there was a God-given opportunity for me to tell the parents - a chance meeting with the right kind of set up via conversation - I trust my instincts in these situations.
I DO want to know if my kid seems to be up to something suspicious, but I also appreciate it if the person telling me only has my child's interests at heart, as I'm sure you do.

yonca said...

I don't know if I want to know or not really..He is just 11..it is not so far I know but still I need time! We are not there yet:)

Tracey said...

Since you don't know "Crystal" well, and you aren't sure what was going on with the kids, telling Crystal would make you seem like a busy body. Even if everything you think happened, happened.

If Crystal were a close friend, you mention it to her. "Hey, I saw Jason at the pool."

If the shoe is ever on the other foot and you are confronted with a busy body, or a concerned close friend, appreciate their intentions.

If it's someone's husband or wife, even of a close friend, you drive all the way around town if you have to to avoid that parking lot for the rest of the day. But that is not the question you asked.