I did a lot of stupid things as a teenager. One fine summer day I was a bit more stupid than usual and my mom was furious with me (and rightly so.) She informed me I was grounded for roughly the rest of my life, and told me I had to go to work with her the next day.
Pro tip: If you’re going to be a dumbass teenager, make sure your mom doesn’t work at a juvenile detention center.
We arrived at the detention center around 9am. Up to this point I naively believed that she was merely bringing me with her to ensure I couldn’t get on the computer, use the phone, watch TV or otherwise do anything enjoyable. However, I was swiftly removed from the lobby area by a prison guard, who took me into the showers, stripped searched me and chastised me for hurting my mothers feelings, which isn’t exactly what you want to hear when you’re a pissed off teenager who is getting poked and prodded. I took my shower, put on my orange jump suit and flip flops and was escorted to my cell.
I was annoyed to find myself imprisoned, but slightly amused at the irony that I was supposed to be at band camp that morning, after which I had an appointment to tutor a freshman in math. However, after a while I realized I had a bed and could just nap all day, which was pretty swell.
At some point that morning my cell door unlocked and I was informed it was activity time. Some kids were playing XBox, some board games, but I decided I should create a memento of this experience, so I painted a ceramic bunny rabbit. I held up my creation to the window and, through 3 layers of bullet proof glass, tried to catch my mom’s attention at the front desk to show her what a lovely little child I was. I asked the guard to give it to her, but she seemed pretty positive that my mother would NOT want a memento of this experience, so she locked it away in the cupboard.
At lunch time, I was forced to engage in conversation with those at my table. I wasn’t the only new intake, so they were all sharing what had brought them there.
“I robbed a liquor store.”
“I got caught selling crack.”
Then they looked at me, quietly eating and trying at all cost to avoid interaction with my, uh, peers.
“Um. I pissed off the receptionist.”
The girl who stabbed her mom told me that the receptionist had been very nice to her on the day she was arrested and brought in, and advised me that I should show her more respect and be a better daughter.
The day was relatively uneventful otherwise. Other than discovering that you have to ask one of the guards to give you toilet paper, which they allocate sheet by sheet (ugh.) At the end of my mom’s work day, she took me home with her. I was never “officially” there. There is no record that I was in Juvie at all except… well… this. Oops.
Two years later, I had just started working at a telemarketing company (the one I went to after getting paid $100 to quit my job and then asking for it back to get a scholarship), and had given no thought to my stint in the ‘pen ever catching up with me. During the week-long training session, one of my new co-workers insisted that she recognized me. She did not strike me as the type of person I would have ever in my life interacted with unless by gunpoint, which, on second thought, seems like the type of thing she may have done.
“Hmm. Ever been to Al’s Bar?”
“Ever locked up at ::insert names of all local Juvenille detention centers here::?”
“I assure you I have not.”
“Wait! Not even for 8 hours?”