My parents keep a strict curfew. I have to be home by 10 pm or I’ll be grounded for a week. They’ve made this rule very clear, and I am well aware of it. But the truth is, I almost never follow it.
This would be terrible for me and my social life except that my parents are incredibly absent-minded. If they see me walking into the house, they will immediately check the clock and doom is upon me. But, if they don’t see me, I’m not sure they would ever notice I wasn’t there. I sometimes think that if I miss curfew, it might be better to come home the next day at 9:00pm so I wouldn’t get in trouble.
Instead, I have created a way to sneak in undetected. We live in an apartment on the 12th floor, so this is not an easy thing to do, especially since the front door is in the line of sight from my father’s TV chair. He is also next to the balcony door, just in case I could somehow Spiderman my way up the building or fly in by giant eagle.
It also helps that my parents are creatures of habit. They are unique, funny people but otherwise completely predictable. My dad watches TV every night while doing crossword puzzles on his phone. My mother plays an online game with some women in the neighborhood (and one in Belgium) except when she is browsing Facebook and Pinterest. They both get way more screentime than I do, just saying.
So what I did was put a remote switch on the modem’s power switch. For a few bucks, I got a thing that hooked it to an app on my phone. So now I can turn off the home internet from anywhere in the world, just in case I’m in Africa and really want to annoy my parents.
Let me show you how it works. Are you ready? It’s 10:50pm and I’m just getting home from playing pool with my friends. I didn’t mean to stay out too late, but it happens every time. I haven’t gotten a call or text so that means my parents haven’t noticed yet.
I’m in front of the door to the apartment. I pull up my phone and push the button on the app, turning the modem power off, then back on. A second later I hear the familiar howl of indignation from my dad as the TV goes out. There he goes, standing up to go check the TV in their room. I’ve got 7.6 seconds. I already have my coat and shoes off, and I slide the door open and throw them in a pile by the door.
I dive behind the dishwasher just as my dad re-emerges from the bedroom.
“Nope, it’s out there too,” he says. He goes into the office where my mom has her computer. 5.5 seconds. I turn on the kitchen sink full blast and dive behind the huge potted fern in the living room.
4 … 5…
My dad walks out of the office and stops.
“Why is the kitchen sink running?” he calls to my mom.
“You must have turned it on!” she calls back. He turns it off and goes back to the office door to argue the point, which gives me the cover to scuttle across the room to the back of the couch. By now the Internet has booted back up.
“It’s back on!” my mom calls and my dad goes back to the couch, grumbling about the cable company. I wait a few minutes until they’re both engrossed in their Internet activities before creeping out and across to my bedroom. I ease the door shut and turn on the light. I wait ten minutes before coming out of my room with a loud yawn or something they’ll be sure to notice.
“Have you been in there the whole time?” my dad asks, looking up.
“Yeah, I got home a few hours ago. I was just reading,” I say, going to the kitchen for a snack.
And that’s how it goes every time. I love my parents, but I’m sure thankful they’re not very bright.
* * *
God love her, but our daughter thinks we’re morons. We gave her a curfew since we figured we should, but she never follows it. What are we supposed to do, ground her every week? What’s the fun in that?
She came up with this ridiculous routine to sneak in, but we were so impressed at her initiative and creativity that we just play along. It’s worth a few minutes of the Internet being out to help her self-esteem and to make sure she gets in before midnight.