Our neighbours are away on a trip to Europe for the next several weeks.  Their son Michael arrived home on Friday night with many friends in tow.  When I saw the cars, I had an ominous feeling, because Michael has established a strong history of his parties awakening us in the middle of the night.  We had a very early morning the next day.

Before you leap, yes, I was once a late-teen, early-twenty-something university student with few concerns but where the next party would be.  I couldn’t understand why people (then my age now) couldn’t lighten up and let me have a little fun.  In grade nine, I similarly couldn’t understand why my math teacher objected when Roberta and I sang, “Ti Amo” , sotto voce, during his lessons.  I thought and felt a lot of stupid things.  But that doesn’t mean that no one set me straight.  Lots of adults gave me the priceless gift of enlightenment.

When 2:30 a.m. rolled around, Michael proved true to form and moved the party outside.  I woke up, our daughter was crying, the dog was howling and my husband was trying to settle our daughter.  We all needed to be up at 6:00 a.m. for her to go and watch her hockey practice at 7:00 a.m.

I yelled, “Keep it DOWN!” out the front door, but the kids ignored me for several minutes before they went back inside.  I went back upstairs to bed, but our daughter was up for at least another hour because she couldn’t settle down.

When the alarm went off at 6:00 a.m., I snoozed it twice.  I finally conceded defeat to the radio DJ, who was cheerfully announcing that I was now 20 minutes behind schedule.   Exhausted, I crawled out of bed, thinking, “Fine for THOSE kids that THEY don’t have to get up at this hour!”

It was then that my naughty side took over and a slow smile spread over my face as I toyed with the question,

“or DO they????”

I crept downstairs in my nightgown, my ponytail bobbing on the top of my head, and pulled on my green puddle boots and a windbreaker.  I marched across the road in the crisp darkness of this beautiful fall morning, observing the peaceful scene before me; everyone was clearly sound asleep in Michael’s house.

I arrived at the front door and began pounding and ringing the doorbell incessantly.  A bewildered young man staggered into the kitchen shortly afterward and looked in shock at the crazed, middle aged woman standing at the front door in her nightgown.  He fumbled impotently with the door.  “I can’t open it!” he called desperately.  I kept smiling at him like I was psychotic, and continued to pound and ring the doorbell.

A few minutes later, Michael’s form pitched into the kitchen, looking around as though he thought something must be on fire and trying to find the source of the alarm.  He made his way to the door and, seeing me, seemed to finally understand what was happening.  I jerked my head toward the garage and he nodded.

He stood holding his forehead and apologizing profusely and I told him he was going to hear me out.

I began, “I bet you don’t like being woken up at 6:00 a.m., do you?”

His forehead holding continued and he nodded weakly, with his eyes squeezed shut against the garage light.

I continued, “Well my family doesn’t like being woken up at 2:30 a.m., are you following me?”

He nodded again.

“So if you don’t want me to wake you up very, VERY early in the morning, DON’T wake me up in the middle of the night.  Do we have an understanding?” I asked.

He began to plead his case that they weren’t outside for very long and I truly wish I had the where-with-all to tell him that our conversation wouldn’t take very long either, but…alas, hindsight only.

I told him that I only wanted to know that we understood one another.  It would be in his best interest NOT to wake up my family again.  He apologized some more and I bid him good night .

Or was it good morning?

Let’s just hope that natural consequences truly are the most effective.