M went to a friend’s house after school today. At 5:45, he called home.
M: “Hi Mom. Sorry I missed your call from work earlier. What did you want?”
Me: “No problem. I’d been wondering if you wanted me to pick you up on my way home from work.”
M: “Yeah, that would be nice.”
Me: “Um, OK, except that I’m already home. Remember? You called home to reach me?”
M: “Oh, yeah. OK. So, um, can I borrow the car? Me and my friends want to go out for dinner tonight.”
Me: “OK, except you’re there and I’m here with the car, so how do you want to handle this?”
Eventually we work out that I’ll drive to his friend’s house, pick up him and the 3 other friends there, drive back to my house to drop me off, then they can head out with the car. As we’re sitting in the driveway waiting for the last couple kids to get out to the car, I ask, “So where are you planning to go for dinner?”
M: “Um, we don’t know yet.”
Friend in back seat simultaneously answers: “The food court.”
Me: “Food court? You mean the mall?”
M, who realizes he’s sunk: “Um, yeah.”
Me: “No, you’re not going to the mall! The roads are too snowy and slippery, and they’re going to get worse. If you and your friends want to eat somewhere local, that’s fine, but you’re not going to the mall.” I decide not to embarrass him in front of his friends by saying that I don’t trust him to handle city traffic, in the dark, with a carload of friends.
The last couple kids pile in the car, just as the mom who lives there asks what their plans are. The last two kids say, “The mall.” I reiterate — to all 4 boys and the mom — that the mall is not on the list of approved destinations for the evening. Mom approves. Boys are disappointed.
They’re now all out with the car, theoretically to eat at a Mexican place just down the road. I realize that I don’t actually have any way to stop them from going to the mall, but I do trust M not to drive somewhere I’ve specifically forbidden, in front of so many witnesses. Especially when said witnesses all know that M is the only one of them who’s been licensed long enough to drive the whole gang around, but it’s dependent on me being willing to lend him the car.