Saturday, December 19, 2015

Worrying About My Madeleina

So your kid makes it through infancy, healthy, and you sigh in relief. They make it through kindergarden and elementary school without too many bumps and bruises and lots of papers saying they're good students and you sigh in relief. They make it through high school, there are some tears but they're not bullied, not molested, and you sigh in relief. And then my Madeleina is off to college, just an hour away, and has a good roommate, good classes, good teachers, and all is good. So now she's home and last night was the second night in the last week where she's come home between 3 and 4 AM. What to say? She comes home sober, doesn't go drugs, was just hanging with pals. So I say what every dad says: Nothing good happens after 2 AM. Remember that, Madeleina, and let it go.
    This morning she comes into my office, plumps down on the couch and announces: Dad, I might have a record.
    I ask, What?
    She explains that she and two friends were out in a nearby park. It was just after midnight, the park curfew, when they started walking back to the car. They weren't far from it when three police cars pulled up and told them the park was closed, then asked for identification. They scanned the IDs, asked if they had drugs or weapons, were told no, then were given a warning. Next time they'll get a citation and fine.
    Madeleina was indignant as she told it. We were so close to the car and it was only about six minutes after midnight and I wanted to give those cops a piece of my mind.....
    I reminded her that that's how people get tased or arrested. She said she knew, which is why she kept her mouth shut.
    I said good on her.
    The three then went to the home of the other girl in the trio to drop her off. That's when it got a little spooky, dad, she said. Because there was a man kind of pacing in front of her house.
    Was he on the road?
    No, he was in front of her house.
    Now the young woman's home is set back 100 feet in the middle of nowhere. There are other houses around but they've all got an acre or three, so it's pretty rural, and the road the house is on is very rural, very backwater and beautiful, but not a road someone could stumble on by accident.
    Anyway, dad, we pulled up and asked him who he was. He said he had no car but that his name was Ricky and he needed a ride. He had no phone either, which is why he was in front of the house: He was deciding whether to wake people up to ask to use their phone.
    Madeleina, it was about 1 AM in nowhere. He had no car. He wasn't walking anywhere. But he'd obviously come from somewhere. And if he came from somewhere walking, he could probably return to that somewhere on foot as well.
     Don't worry, dad, Lizzie lied and said we didn't have enough gas to go anywhere. Then he asked to borrow a phone, so we let him and he called someone and when they answered he said Hello, this is Bob. That was weird, right, because he told us his name was Ricky. Anyway, after that he walked away and we all went into my friend's house to make sure he left. And that's why I got home at 4 AM.
     Darling, did your friend L recognize the man from the area?
     Never saw him before, dad.
    So a guy with no car winds up in nowhere at 1 AM and needs a ride home? No. He had a ride. It was probably waiting in the dark just down the road. This guy was going to rob the house, and then signal his friend to come round with the car as he was leaving, so that there was little chance anyone would see the car long enough to get license plate numbers.
    Could be, dad. All in all, it was kind of scary when we got in the house and started talking about it.
    And that's why dads like me worry about my Madeleina.

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