I have officially become the Barney Fife of my town. But more about that later.
We have a little partying problem in our neighborhood, you see. At the end of our street is a secluded area where all the teenagers go to drink and get high. When my husband and I bought our house here six years ago, little did we know that our street has been the place for teens to party since God was a child. (The realtor left out that little fact…hmmmm.)
Not only that, but kids drive at crazy speeds down our street — usually texting and blaring their radios at the same time. I know I sound like an old fogey, but here’s the problem — there are loads of little kids on our block, from babies up to 12-year-olds. I live in fear that one of them, including my son, might be hurt because of some dumb choice a teenager makes one summer afternoon.
Which leads me back to Barney Fife, the spastic policeman on the old Andy Griffith Show. When agitated, which was often, Barney could be seen running around town blowing his whistle, eyeballs popping out of his head, veins splaying out of his turkey neck. And now, I have officially become the Barney of our neighborhood. “Slow down!” I yell to the kids. I’ve also been known to call the police when I see kids smoking, and also on their raucous parties.
Today I went to the police station and picked up some traffic cones to put in the center of the street in front of our house.
The funny thing is, I’ve always been pretty laid back. I was not an angel as a teenager, believe me. (You can read more about that here.) But becoming a parent has changed all that mellowness, I guess, at least when it comes to my child’s well-being.
When I put the orange traffic cones out today, some teenage girls said, “God, that’s so anal.” I just smiled. Yup, I’m anal now. And I’m OK with that.
In fact, I’m thinking of getting a whistle.
What do you do when you see teens drinking, smoking or partying in public? Any advice for this agitated mom?
About Elisabeth Wilkins
Elisabeth Wilkins was the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of an 10-year-old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood (Singapore), Hausfrau, The Bad Mother Chronicles, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.