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Rebel Without a Cause

July 26, 2008

My parents are of the protective sort. Not so much now that I live in a different country – the only protecting they can really do these days is to phone and urge me to eat something besides frozen food. But when I was a kid, it felt like I was bombarded with a long list of DO NOT’s.

Chief on my list of complaints was not being allowed to venture out of the house alone. Without an adult chaperone, I couldn’t go to the park, walk to a friend’s house, or even just stroll around the block. Looking back, I can see what my parents were probably concerned about. We lived on a fairly busy street with lots of cars zooming around and there were a few kidnapping cases in the news at the time. But at age 10, I felt that this was terribly unfair. Especially since I was sure that I was the only one among my friends being subjected to ridiculous rules like that. I mean, I was 10! A double digit age! If ever I was going to be old enough to play outside by myself, surely that was it! Once you hit the magical double digit number, you were practically a teenager!

Evidently I chafed at my perceived captivity. It didn’t take very long for me to decide to rebel. If my parents thought that they could treat me like a measly single digit aged kid, they had another think coming.

One weekend, my chance arrived. My father was out golfing and my mother decided to go shopping. I elected to stay home, with the excuse of uncompleted homework, so off my mother went with my baby sister. I was alone.

I had it all planned out. My father wasn’t due home for another two hours and my mother would spend anywhere from two to five hours at the shops. As long as I kept an eye on the time, I could sneak out and nobody would find out.

It was a glorious hour and a half of freedom. I did exactly what I wanted to do without having to worry about an adult looking over my shoulder. And underneath the excitement of sneaking out was a sense of triumph, of having put one over on my parents.

So it was a very smug 10 year old who sautered back to the house. The coast was clear, there were no cars in sight so my parents were still out. This could turn into a regular outing!

Then the phone rang. I answered it in my ‘stressed-out-from-so-much-homework’ voice. But before I could get further than a “Hullo?”, my mother’s voice blasted out.

“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!! I bought breakfast for you but you weren’t home! We’ve been looking everywhere for you! I’m coming home right now so you better not move!”

Uh oh.

But my father beat her home. After a frantic phone call from my distraught mother, he had dropped his golf game and raced back. He had been circling the neighbourhood for an hour, looking in vain for his missing daughter, and thinking the worst. Only to receive another call from his wife with the news that the daughter had returned on her own and was in need of a good telling off.

It was a very long and loud lecture. About trust and lying and scaring parents half to death. I didn’t hear much at any rate, I was too busy sobbing and feeling sorry for myself.

Finally, he finished the lecture. “Right, you’re now grounded for three months. So where were you? I went to the park, I checked with all the neighbours, I called your friends up, I even drove past all the houses with friendly dogs! Where did you go?”

Under his stern gaze and feeling utterly wretched, I buckled and confessed.

“I was at the bookshop!”

My career as a rebel was a short-lived one.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. vimalan permalink
    July 26, 2008 7:54 pm

    well good thing nothing had happened to you and pheww what a relief that you rebel-ness phase had passed.

  2. Chubby Zebra permalink
    July 28, 2008 11:58 am

    Lol, I was at a bookshop. Don’t think I would have met too many ‘bad’ influences there.

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