Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hard time.

Have you ever done one of those things in your life, even if it was a million years ago, that whenever you think of it your stomach knots up and you feel sick?

Here is (one of) mine…

The summer before eighth grade I spent a lot of time with a girlfriend of mine that my parents did not care for very much. This drove me crazy at the time but looking back, I would flip out if my 13 year old daughter was hanging out with this “type of girl.”

This "type of girl" was my friend, Lori Lauper.

Here are some reasons my mom and dad were not so hip on Lori:

• She dressed really slutty. She wore tube tops and short shorts.

• Her parents both worked, which meant her house was available for us to do bad things at after school and all summer long.

• She attracted boys, OLDER boys, like magnets. She was always wearing a different boy's name plate, high school letter jacket, or ring around her neck.

Here are some reasons I was super-hip on Lori Lauper:

• We had the same name, so people referred to us as “the Lori’s”. How cool! I felt like part of some girl gang duo.

• Her last name was Lauper – like Cyndi Lauper, which was cool. And if people associated Lori with Cyndi Lauper and associated me with Lori, therefore they would associate me with Cyndi Lauper. Do you see how my mind worked?

• I liked her style - she wore tube tops and short shorts.

Lori had that flirty come hither look. If Lori and I would have met years later in college we probably would have ended up dating. She reminded me of Minnie Mouse. She was very voluptuous with a china doll complexion, jet black hair and big brown eyes with looooong eyelashes. One of her tube tops was red with white polka dots, and she really reminded me of Minnie Mouse when she wore that. A super sexy Minnie Mouse.


But here is the ultimate reasons my parents didn’t like Lori…

During that summer, she and I would take the bus to Tampa Bay Mall. We hung out there, window shopped, ate hot dogs on a stick and picked up boys. It was kind of like an eight hour work day - waking up, getting all dolled up, taking the bus, and working it all day long to see who could get leave with the most phone numbers. Tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

It was summer, in Florida, what did you want me to do, go outside?

But Lori and I started to get tired of being at the mall all that time with no money to spend. So we started to shoplift. It started small, like a Wet ‘n Wild lipstick here, a pair of earrings there. Then we moved on to bigger items, like clothing.

It was so easy! We were literally walking into Contempo Casuals or Rave with empty bags, filling them up and walking out. We were so good at it we started to get cocky.

My mom would ask, “Where did you get that top/pants/earrings/pair of neon socks?” She bought my clothes for me and was no dummy, she knew they weren’t mine. “They’re Lori’s” I would lie. That worked for a while, because at that age my girlfriends and I were swapping clothes like crazy. But after a while she started to give me that look, like that really??? look. That look made my stomach hurt, and should have made me stop, but I liked my new legwarmers too much to consider it.

One day while in Lerner New York, Lori and I were doing our usual routine. I held the bag while she shoved leggings, headbands and tube tops into it. I was generally the bag holder, not the one putting the stuff in the bag – that somehow made me feel better about the whole thing, a little less guilty.

We casually headed for the door. As soon as our feet touched outside of the store we had hands on our shoulders. A deep male voice said, “Girls, would you mind coming with me?” A man in a police uniform was behind us. I felt sick. This was it, the big shakedown. I knew it couldn’t last forever. How could I get out of this without my parents finding out? I started to shake and sweat. I thought I might vomit as the policeman escorted us to the back of the store while everyone watched. He of course absconded our bag of goodies and led us away.

Lori and I were then handcuffed together and made to sit behind the cash register of Lerner New York so paying customers could gawk, laugh, and make an example of us.

“See little Susie, you never want to steal because that is what happens to you, you will go to jail like those two bad girls.”

Oh God, I thought, am I going to go to jail? Will I make it to jail before my father kills me? Lori and I held hands and cried during our public humiliation while we waited for our impending doom.

They asked for my parents' phone number so I gave them our home number, of course, knowing my mom could come pick me up and try and help to diffuse the situation with my dad as much as possible. I guess my mom wasn’t at home that day so they called my dad at work. I also guess that my dad wasn’t at his desk, so my dad’s secretary paged over the loudspeaker something to the effect of:


What a shitty secretary. She must not have had teenage daughters.

I heard from the policeman that my dad was on his way. I wondered how I could get the handcuffs around my neck so I could off myself before he arrived.

When my dad got there he was beet red, and I knew I was in deep trouble. Probably the most trouble I had ever been in. I remember vividly him saying to me “Say goodbye to your friend Lori Lauper, because you’ll never see her again!” I wanted to say, “But we have the same teacher for ninth grade, I’ll see her in a month,” but I decided it would be best to keep my mouth shut.

The car ride home was awful, all of the yelling. He was so disappointed in me. My mother was also so disappointed in me.

What could the punishment possibly be? Obviously I was no longer allowed to communicate with Lori. I was also on restriction and not allowed to go out with friends for the rest of the summer. But the worst punishment was my dad giving me the silent treatment and asking my brother to pass the salt at the dinner table when the salt was sitting right in front of me. Ouch. After what seemed like a lifetime of being ignored I remember falling into his arms as he sat on the couch sobbing hysterically, “I’m sorry, I’ll never do it again, it was the first time I had ever done that (lie) I’m so sorry…aaaahhhhh.”

He cried too, and then life went back to normal.
Except I wasn’t allowed to see Lori anymore.
Or go anywhere without my parents. We saw lots of movies together that summer.

I also had to go to a juvenile detention hall hearing and was sentenced to community service. I volunteered at the humane society, hanging out with smelly dogs and changing poopy litter boxes for a few months.

I never ever had the desire ever again to take something that didn’t belong to me.

Being handcuffed behind the cash register at Lerner New York will have that affect on you. For the rest of your life.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE this story!!!
    (sorry so late to comment - was in jury duty for 3.5 weeks of my life in June)
    I had a Lori, her name was Josie. I think I mentioned her before in a post - she's the one who let me tattoo her with indian ink and a sewing needle. Love them bad girls. I was always too goodie-goodie to do anything bad though. But believe me, she did enough for the both of us! Ha ha!