Like almost everything, it starts off with a woman.
When I was 15, in the winter of my freshman year of high school, I was dating this lovely girl (let us call her Caitlin) who is a friend to this very day. In a November evening, around six o’clock, I asked my dad if he could drive me to Caitlin’s house in celebration of her 16th birthday. He agreed. I got out of the car and headed up to the front door.
“Be home by eleven,” he articulated.
I turned my head, nodded, and brushed it off my shoulder, assuring myself that it actually did not matter what time I was home.
Caitlin and I went to dinner that night at a local restaurant and then we went and saw Toy Story 3 together. After the movie ended, her mom (who was oh so kind to be driving us around) asked if we wanted to go bowling. The time was 11:30, half an hour after of when I had to be home. My father’s words echoed in my head:
“Be home by eleven.”
But this was Caitlin. Nothing else mattered to me; she was my world. All I wanted was to spend every second of my life with her. So I lied to her mother.
“One game couldn’t hurt,” I said, knowing full good and well it would.
We finished our game around 12:30. Her mother drove me home and I got out of the car, giving a quick kiss on the cheek to Caitlin, and walked up to the side door of my house to let myself in. It was one in the morning when I unlocked the door.
Remember that one James Bond cliché, where Bond walks into the room and the villain swivels around in his chair saying, “Mr. Bond, I’ve been expecting you.” (The exact quote is never said in the franchise and there never is a swivel chair, but you get the idea). Anyway, that is what happened when I walked into the house.
My dad was sitting on the couch waiting for me to walk in the door. He did not even turn his head from the television.
“You’re late” he said.
I tried to find the right words to come out of my mouth, but there was no real argument against the fact that I disobeyed my father. So I used a weak argument.
“Dad I’m 15. I’m old enough to make decisions for myself. I shouldn’t even have a curfew.”
My dad paused, then looked at me. I remember him saying in my early life that I am not allowed to even date someone until I was old enough to drive. I was already breaking that rule, and now I was breaking curfew. I knew I was going to lose.
“Okay,” my dad said, turning his head back to the television, “your curfew is extended to midnight, but no later. Don’t be late again.”
I stared at my father, one of the most ‘stick to his guns’ man I have ever known. But I was not going to question. I won. I was rewarded with an extra hour. I walked upstairs to my bedroom and went to sleep, feeling achieved.
And as for curfew, I never broke it again.