Tag Archives: teenagers

Uber Teens

Uber is a service that allows you to use an app on your smartphone to book a ride with a car service. Right now the service is available in several large cities around the country so it's not currently relevant here in small-city North Carolina, but the reason it hit my radar is a blog post a mom wrote about why she signed her teenage daughter up for the service. An excerpt:

When I met the Push Girls last year I noted that four of the five women I met were in wheelchairs because of car accidents. The accidents were all excessive speed or alcohol fueled. If a smart phone app can get my child home without risking dangerous driving conditions I’d be a fool to not use it.

Parents of teens: I’m going to ask you to do something we should all do at least once a day. I want you to be still and quiet and try to remember being 14 or even 17. Now put yourself at your friend’s house and their parents have just left. All of a sudden 5 other kids appear and they’re thinking about drinking a beer and smoking some pot. What does the 14 year old you do?

The only answer I have is that I know the 14 year old you doesn’t call Mommy for a ride home.

Now imagine the same scenario. The 14 year old you pulls out a smart phone (it’s probably already out) and texts for a town car. 14 year old you can hop into the back seat of a limo and get home. My credit card information is already stored in the app, no money changes hands and your private driver gets you home.

Boom. Done. Decision made.

That logic is pretty sound to me. In our household we have a similar rule in that any of our kids can call us for a ride and not risk getting in trouble. Sure we'll have a talk about it the next day and we'll push to make sure they avoid getting themselves in similar situations in the future, but I'd rather get a 12:30 a.m. phone call asking for a ride than risk having them hop in a car with an inexperienced driver who may or may not be inebriated. Still, how many kids actually believe their parents won't come down on them like a ton of bricks if they call for a ride in the middle of the night? Not many, which is why I like the idea of a kid having a tool at their disposal that can help them do the right thing.

There's another part of the blog post that was really horrifying to me as a father and it's about teen girls dealing with other dads who play grab-ass:

Then Laurie and I started talking about why every kid should have Uber on their phone and when we got to the part about being a teenager and on occasion not wanting to get into a car with a Dad who plays grab-ass the new Dad looked at us with horror in his eyes. Even though 100% of the adult women at the party sort of nodded and knew what that felt like I was all, “Oh but times have changed. I’m sure it will never be an issue.”

For the record it's my opinion that while having a service like Uber to get my daughter out of harm's way at that moment would be a good thing, it would also be of utmost importance that she inform me of the offending father's actions and allow me to use another tool at my service: a large can of whoop-ass.

Teenage Labor Force

Our oldest, Michael, was interviewed for Richard Craver's story in the Winston-Salem Journal about the difficulty teens are having finding work.

Being an early weekend riser wasn't exactly what Michael Lowder had in mind when he began pursuing a part-time job for the summer before heading to UNC Charlotte this fall.

But after filling out dozens of online applications and getting only two responses, Lowder, 18, said he felt fortunate to be hired for the 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekend shift for the breakfast buffet at Embassy Suites

Lowder's experience is all too familiar to working-age teens and adults trying to find temporary or permanent employment in the tight job market.

Like many adults with jobs, Lowder landed his position primarily because of networking, in his case a neighbor who is in management at Twin City Quarter.

When asked his advice for other teens, Lowder said don't be afraid to ask a neighbor or a friend's parent who runs a business if they need help.

"Honestly, I got lucky," Lowder said. "It seems, at least from the combined experiences of my friends, that small businesses are your best bet for employment."

I have to say I've been proud of Michael for dragging himself out of bed at 5:15 every Saturday and Sunday morning, and now that school's over, several days in between. It's not easy, but at least he has a job and that makes him one of the lucky ones.

Hanes Mall to Require Parental Supervision for Teens?

I read an article in the Winston-Salem Journal this morning that said that Hanes Mall is likely to require anyone under the age of 18 to be accompanied by parents after 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.  As the parent of three teenagers (17, 16, 13) I have just one question for the mall's management: What took you so damn long?

Teenagers are palatable, barely, when they are singled out from the herd.  Heck, you might even be able to take them in groups of two or three if you limit the exposure to under ten minutes, but you get them in large groups and they're as bad as any group of human beings around.  Actually they're more like zombies on speed, and knowing that and knowing that they have the same attraction to malls that zombies have I avoid that place like the plague.  Sure I avoid the mall as much as possible anyway thanks to my aversion to shopping and Sbarro, but knowing that there are teenagers there in abundance absolutely seals the deal.  

The only worse place than a mall to be on any given day is a high school or middle school, but we pay people to pretend to do something worthwhile with them in those places and for the most part we aren't expected to actually breathe the air there unless our children do something remarkable like achieve more than altered states of consciousness.  So really schools don't count.

Hanes Mall management, on behalf of all normal human beings in the Winston-Salem vicinity I want to say "thank you."  Of course there might be an unintended consequence that my wife will expect me to accompany her on shopping forays on Fridays and Saturdays after dark, but I'm well prepared with enough exaggerated illnesses and household tasks that I think I can fend her off for the near future. When I do run out of excuses I'll just add a requirement that we eat in the food court if we're to shop there.  That ought to take care of it.

What Would Vacation Be Without a 5:00 a.m. Wake Up? or On Traveling With Teenagers

It's hard to complain about anything when you've been able to take a few days off and escape with the family to a semi-abandoned timeshare in the land of over-landscaped golf courses.  That said there's something very un-relaxing about spending those days ferrying around three teenagers who can't be bothered to see where they're going because they're sending text message number 8,423 of the day to their boyfriend, or playing game number 2,500 on their DS or simply going whatever place in their vacuous heads that teenagers go that gives them the glassy-eyed stare of a decade-long heroin addict.  Let's just say yesterday didn't provide a very Cleaver-like moment and I let the kids and everyone within a 20 mile radius know that I wasn't cool with it.

Let me be clear: I blew a gasket.  It wasn't an epic gasket-blowing, but it did involve threats of packing up and heading home a couple of days early.  It did include the time-tested "you have no clue how lucky you are that we're able to go on vacation" line that's been used by every parent for generations.  I even threw in the "you kids just don't appreciate what your Mom and I do for you" line.  I don't think the latter two statements had much of an effect, but I think the threat of a 7 hour drive with a pissed off Dad did have a sobering effect.  We ended up having a nice dinner.

And as always when I lose it I crashed early, had a fairly restless sleep and popped awake at some gawdawful early hour (5:00 a.m.).  At least I get to enjoy a quiet cup (or twelve) of coffee. 

Merry Christmas Eve everybody.  And yes, Mom, I do appreciate the irony of all this.

Apparently Everything is Stupid

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but at some point in recent memory a couple of children I happen to know very, very well came to the conclusion that everything in this world is, I quote, "stupid."  Seriously, you can't talk about anything around them without them saying something like, "Yeah dinner was good, but yesterday at lunch Billy Bob said <fill in the blank>, and, you know, it was soo stuuupid." 

Essentially the tactic seems to be:

  1. Identify something, anything, in the current conversation that can somehow be tangentially related to a conversation or observation that contained something easily identified as stupid.  Preferably that conversation or observation should involve a person who everyone just knows is stupid, but if that isn't an option then an episode of Family Guy is an acceptable substitute.  
  2. Relate said conversation or observation in a style that takes twice as long as it needs to and contains approximately 42 uses of the word "like" and about half as many uses of the words "you know."
  3. When parents or other adults don't reply with an appropriate level of laughter and instead look at you like, you know, you're stupid, simply think of another instance of recent stupidity and relate that one.
  4. When the adult points out why something may not be stupid then look at the adult with an expression that says "In the near future you're going to be the subject of a stupid story." 

This really kind of bothered me until I remembered that they are 16 (almost 17) and 15 (almost 16), and that every human at that age seems to be possessed of incredible certitude without an ounce of wisdom.