I’ve had too much to drink and I can’t drive home safely. Can you come and get me?
My friend has had too much to drink and she can’t drive us home safely. Can you come and get us?
I don’t feel safe and I don’t know how to get home. Can you come and get me?
I’m not a big fan of phone calls late at night.
Anytime the phone rings past 9:15 pm somebody’s breaking my mom’s rules about when it’s appropriate to use the telephone.
(Just FYI, that would be between 9am and 9pm, earlier if you are coordinating the carpool to a practice before school.)
You know that when the phone rings after 11 or so, it’s usually bad news.
That said, I have told my au pairs, as my mom once told me, that if they ever find themselves without a safe way to get home, they should call me. No matter what time it is. I will come and get them, no questions asked.
This is exactly what my mom told me she’d do for me. And not like I thought I’d ever need to make one of these phone calls, I twice had to take my mom up on the offer of that emergency pickup.
The first time, during high school, Lorilee and I got so drunk at a great party that we were unable to drive home from the town next door. We called my mom. She came and picked us up, drove us both home, and never yelled. Yes, I was grounded for two weeks or something, as if that did anything. (In my defense, the drinking age at the time was 18, so I was only one year too young.)
The second time I was old enough but not quite responsible enough. I got too drunk at an outdoor concert that lasted way into the next day, lost my car keys, and had to call my mom. I would have taken the bus or train home, but they stop running at about 2 am. Let me just say, the drive out of NYC at 4:30 in the morning, as the sun was coming up, was memorable for the silence as my mom tried to keep her promise of “no questions asked”.
Both of those situations taught me two things:
1. The 2 am phone calls must be encouraged.
2. A parent can keep her promises when you ask for help after doing something completely, totally irresponsible.
I have promised each of our au pairs that if they get in trouble and they need help, they should call me.
Even if it’s after midnight and before 7 am.
Only twice have we ever been called upon for emergency help– once when our first au pair hit a deer at 4 in the morning, and once when another au pair got too drunk at a frat party. It’s not like I was glad that the deer population of Albemarle County was down by one, or that the boys as Sigma Whatever eventually did run out of beer.
But, I was glad that my au pairs trusted me enough to reach out when they needed to.
And, I was glad that I trusted myself to be there when they needed me.