Every teenager at some point ponders the question, “Just how stupid ARE my parents?” The query is usually related to some activity the teen has in mind that they’re fairly clear the folks wouldn’t approve of but which they really (like, REALLY) want to do anyway. So assessing the stupidity quotient of mom and dad is critical to the process.
Some close friends have finally achieved their dream of travel now that their last kid is in college. Their 19-year-old daughter, however, is prone to come home for the weekend when mom and dad are out of town and have a few close friends in for what is advertised as an intimate soirée. But somehow, a party always seems to take place instead. Sometimes several.
The rule, of course, is: Absolutely NO parties.
But what defines “party” really? Number of people? Noise level? Squad cars? It’s such a nebulous term.
Considering the number of times she’s been caught out (a neighbor actually called her parents on their Black Sea cruise at 3 a.m. to report that the daughter’s exceedingly inebriated guests were at that very moment anointing his dahlias with bodily fluids), you think she’d get the idea that having clandestine social gatherings was more problematical than she realized.
Before my friends left on their latest 10-day trip, they hired an elderly relative’s former caretaker to stay at the house at night while they were gone. No way is their daughter going to party with the caretaker there.
Daughter mentions that since finals are approaching, she might come into town to have a weekend of quiet studying away from the noise of her high-density roommate venue. Grades, she reminds her folks, are her utmost priority.
Olof and I laughed out loud when we heard this. But the parents had faith. This time they had it covered.
Imagine the parents’ dismay when they arrived home and knew fairly quickly their offspring had a party in their absence. Daughter was equally dismayed they found out.
She’d been so careful! She made everyone stay inside (those double pane windows are marvelous noise insulators). She had most of the people stay over so there wasn’t a lot of 2 a.m. departure noise waking up the neighbors. Absolutely no dahlias were harmed. She even removed every bit of trash from the trashcans and buried, er, relocated it elsewhere. How could this have happened?
Well, here’s a short list:
1) The caretaker your parents paid to stay at the house? She came by the next morning to return part of her payment saying she couldn’t take money for the three weekend days when you maintained you were preparing for a Zen meditation final which, it goes without saying, required being completely alone.
2) The cheapest place to shop for booze may be your parents’ Costco-stocked garage but this time they actually counted the stash before they left. They had to admit after the fact that they admired your friends’ taste in vodka.
3) Making the beds was a thoughtful touch. Washing the sheets might have been a more thoughtful touch. Recognizing that Mom is a precision bed-maker who does hospital corners and can spot a bed not made by her from 30 yards, priceless.