Some punk kid flicked a lit cigarette at my windshield as I slowly & carefully drove around his group of friends standing in the middle of a neighborhood street in the dark. I dropped my kids off at home and then drove back to the block where he was. He and another kid had started walking down the street, so I rolled down my window and told him that I didn’t appreciate him throwing things at my car.
He snapped back, “I didn’t throw nothing at your car.” I resisted the urge to correct his grammar and said I knew he did, and he needed to act his age. He said, “Dude, I’m more mature than you are.”
I was thiiiiis close to coming back with, “That’s DR. Dude to you, punk,” but I told him to cool it off unless he wanted me to find out who his parents were and go talk to them. He shut up, and I drove back home.
Our neighborhood is a pretty peaceful area, which is perhaps why tonight’s episode rattled me like it did. I’d like to think I scared him straight and hopefully didn’t just make him more mad. It gave me flashbacks to a kid named Vernon in my childhood neighborhood. Looking back from a grown-up perspective, I can see that Vernon must have been a very troubled boy in desperate need of mental health services, but back in the day, I only saw him as a menace. He used to throw mayonnaise jars at people’s front doors and even went on a Christmas light cutting spree one year. It’s a wonder he didn’t get electrocuted. The last I heard of him, he was allegedly scheduled to go to juvenile, but his family moved seemingly overnight and left town. I hope he got some help.