Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Late Night Calls, Police, & New Phones

Have you ever had it happen? That call that startles you awake in the middle of the night? You hear the ring, and your befuddled mind asks…”What the hell is that?” Time freezes and then you’re awake enough to realize it’s the phone. A split second later, you jackknife up, your heart is in your throat, pounding, because you know, good news doesn’t arrive in the middle of the night. This week, I had the unfortunate opportunity to experience not one, but two of those calls.

On January 15, my phone rang at 12:30 A.M. Of course, I hit the wrong button trying to answer. “Hello?” I finally say when I figure out how to use the phone. My heart is pumping, adrenaline rushes through my veins. My fear is for my nineteen-year-old son in Pennsylvania, attending a four- month school.

“Mom?” My son’s voice fills my ear—panic grips tighter.

“Are you okay?” I struggled to get my tongue unstuck from the roof of my mouth.

What he says next is something you never, ever want to hear your son say.

“Have you ever taken a breathalyzer test? It’s hard.” My mind tries to compute, to digest his words, but for sure, I’m getting mental indigestion.

I don’t answer before he continues, “Did you know I can’t touch my nose with my left hand when I close my eyes?” My indigestion worsens.

He continues and so does my indigestion. Only now, it’s not just mental. “I blame Dad for passing on his lousy balance and inability to walk a straight line. Oh, and tell Dad never to leave his sun tea in my car again. Cop says it looks just like whiskey.”

“Are you in jail?” I swear, I’d just been bragging that somehow hubby and I had convinced my son that he never, ever drink and drive.

He laughs. “It’s another funny Craig story.”

“I don’t think I’m gonna find this one funny,” I say in my maternal not-funny tone.

I was wrong.

You see, Son had agreed to meet one of his fellow students at a local pool hall. A BYOB pool hall. Son, underage and in Pennsylvania, hadn’t brought any beer, but it was being offered left and right. His friend was already pretty soused when son looked at his watch, figured out that he could have one or two beers and would be okay to drive in a few hours. “Mom, I swear I heard that little voice, you know the one you say you are always hearing? Anyway it said, ‘Don’t do it!’ So I didn’t. Not even one beer.” Then, not going to allow his friend to drive, he piled him in his truck and took off back to his apartment. Remember, son is new in town, and not overly familiar with the roads. The flashing blue lights show up a short time later.

The cop comes to the window and tells my son he was driving in the median. Son explains, he thought it was a lane. Son hands over his license and insurance. Drunk friend is passed out. The cop leans in and says, “You been drinking?”

Son answers, “No Sir.”

Suspicious, cop tells him to stay in his truck. He goes back to his car to run a check on son’s license and looks for warrants. Thankfully, my son doesn't have any.

Nevertheless, two other cop cars pull in. One in front of son, and one to his side to prevent him from driving off. “Mom, I swear it was fifteen minutes before he came back to the window. I knew I hadn’t done anything, but crap, I’ve never been in the situation before and I was scared.”

Finally, cop shows back up at the door and tells my son to get out. “Do you want to tell my upfront what you’ve been drinking?” he asked again.

“Nothing, officer.”

He has my son walk a line. God love the boy, he really did inherit his dad’s balance. “I swear officer. I’m just not coordinated. Mom says I get it from my dad.”

Officer gives my son his next instructions. Stand straight, arms to your side, close your eyes, hold your head up, start with right hand and . . .

“Mom,” son tells me. “I’m scared shitless because you know being dyslexic I don’t do well with oral directions.”

During the nose-touching event the kid in the truck wakes up and tries to get out. That creates commotion and the cops get super nervous. Which makes son more nervous.

Son had to be retold nose-touching directions. “I got my nose with my right hand, Mom. Missed by a mile with my left.”

Cop eyes him. “Son, before I give you the breathalyzer test do you want to confess what you’ve been drinking?”

“Seriously Sir, I’m just clumsy like my dad.”

Cop does the breathalyzer twice. He can hardly believe it. “Looks as if you were telling the truth. But what about your friend?”

Son is honest, though I did tell him he could said it differently. Son told the cop, “He’s pretty much shitfaced. Drunk as a skunk. Which is why I’m driving.”

“How old is he?” cops asks.

Son hesitates, knowing it would sound suspicious. “We just met at school. But I think he’s over twenty-one.”

When they open the door, to get friend out, a bottle falls out. A water bottle half-filled with whiskey-colored fluid. “What is this?” the officer asks.

“Don’t know,” says my son. Drunk kid just shrugs.

“Did you know it’s illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your car?” Cop asks.

“I know,” says son, but doesn’t say anything else because he doesn’t know what’s in the bottle.

Officer has them stay by the car while he tests the liquid.

He returns and hands it to my son. “It’s not alcohol.”

Son holds it up the light and sees the tea bag. “Oh, this is my dad’s sun tea he left in my truck.”

Officer discovers son’s friend is over twenty-one. Officer looks at my son and says. “You know, I really thought this was going to turn out differently. It’s rare when we stumble across a polite kid just trying to do the right thing. I’m not even going to write you a warning.”

I told my son I was proud of him.

January 16th, 4 A.M. Phone rings. “Hello,” tongue is on roof of mouth again, heart is pounding.

“You’re not my voice mail,” Person says

I recognize my daughter’s voice. My mind tries to compute, to digest her words, but for sure I’m getting mental indigestion. Wait! Didn’t that just happen last night? “What’s wrong?” Panic builds, real indigestion occurs.

She laughs.

“Don’t tell me? Another funny Craig story, right?

She laughs harder. “I woke up with a bad dream.” Daughter is over thirty. Does she still need me when she has a bad dream?

“I dreamed I left my purse at the restaurant. Then, because I’m a worrywart like you, I thought I had left it at the restaurant. I got up, found my purse, with my new phone in it. I saw I had a message from you. I hit the button to get the voice mail, but I must have accidentally hit redial.”

Two in one week is too much, even if they are both just funny Craig stories. What can I say, but that my kids are for certain just chips off the old blocks.

So, any excitement in your stomping grounds? Are your kids making you lose sleep? How many of you have taken a breathalyzer test? Come on, share a little.



Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Score one for the good guys -- that's you, Christie. You raised your son right. Awesome.

Christie Craig said...

Thanks, Susan! I am proud of him.


Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Too funny. Glad it all worked out and, it reinforced that 'don't do it' theme. Usually the only late night calls we get are for my husband, from his work. Luckily, we haven't gotten any from other peopel for a while.

Colleen Thompson said...

Two heart-stoppers in one week. Ouch!!!

My last horrible kid phone call I had was last spring. It was my son, sounding strained, telling me he'd just been thrown out of the dorm for the semester because his roommate had drugs and wouldn't admit they were just his.

I nearly had a heart attack before realizing he was sounding strained because he was trying so hard not to break out laughing. The date? April First.

Not funny, kid. Not funny!

But since I'd just played an epic prank and infuriated a bunch of people on my blog (who knew people would actually believe a "news item" involving an attitudinal talking beagle selling his bitter memoir about being passed over as First Dog for six figures?) I probably had it comin'.

Becky LeJeune said...

Oh, wow! Great story.

I've not had to take a breathalyzer before. Our roommate did last year, though, and called us. My boyfriend went back to bed without answering. When I reminded him that calls that late are usually bad news, he got up to check it out, discovering that roomie had called another friend who went to bail him out in the meantime. Said friend was also his boss and made him go to work at 5am as thanks for waking him up at 3 to get him from jail.

Edie Ramer said...

Christie, your son sounds like a great guy. I had one of those calls in the middle of the night, and it wasn't funny. My son wasn't driving drunk, but his friend was. That was years ago and he's fine, but it was scary.

I'm so short that I don't dare have more than one drink when I go out. I don't mind that I can't drink as much as a taller person, but I can't eat as much either without gaining weight. Not fair!

Mary Jo said...


I've had my share of late night phone calls from the kids. Two of them I'll never forget. First one, youngest son in an accident. Hurry to ER. He recovered without any serious effects. Second call several years later. Middle son in ER nurse says come quickly. Not good.

It wasn't. Twenty minutes later I'm at the hospital, but son had died while I was driving.

I hate hearing the phone ring at night.

Christie Craig said...


You are right. I reenforced the message. See even if you'd had one beer, you wouldn't have been able to pronounce yourself innocent. And I think my son is smart enough to remember it.

Thanks for stopping by.


Christie Craig said...


It's never funny when they do that to us. Well, not funny until later.

Thanks for stopping in.


Christie Craig said...


Yikes...calling your boss would have been tough. LOL.

Thanks for stopping in.


Christie Craig said...


Being short, I'm with you. I don't have one drink and get behind the wheel. We had a neighbor's brother who went to jail for runnning over a guy changing his tire on the freeway. The guy fixing his tire was crazy to do it, but the brother was drinking and that got him for it.

Thanks for stopping in.


Christie Craig said...

Mary Jo,

I'm so sorry. I think that is the hardest thing that could ever happen. My heart bleeds for you and I'm sending you lots of hugs.


Sandy said...

I loved it, CC. What good kids you have.

Tori Lennox said...

What a great kid you've got! :)

Nothing going on here that I know about. Thankfully, I don't have any kids to call me late at night. *g*

TerriOsburn said...

I just keep thinking those cops must have had a field day with his accent. (I used to live in PA then moved to AR. Big difference. LOL!)

Good kid! But I'd have killed the daughter. I hate that heart-racing panic!

TerriOsburn said...

Forgot to say I've never taken a breathalyzer, but I almost got busted drunk and underage once. I was in the backseat (not driving, of course!) and it was Halloween. The cop looked at me, asked how old I was (19) then asked if I'd been drinkig. I said, "Pshaw, no." With hand movements.

Thankfully, he chuckled and told me to have a good night.

Anonymous said...


I'm imagining Junior trying to walk that straight line and laughing my butt off. Poor kid. And poor you for getting awaken in the middle of the night with these calls. LOL.


Refhater said...

My family doesn't call with bad news, they post it on facebook.
Dad needs emergency surgery, Sister in law and toddler niece's plane forced to make an emergency landing after hitting birds, Grandma with dementia lost in the woods...all posted on facebook. Gotta love the electronic age!

I can't say that I've never gotten "Late night" type calls though. I did hear over the phone that my younger niece accidently amputated her thumb in a toy box lid, but that was 2 days after the fact when I called to tell my parents that my apartment flooded. (They were able to re-attach the thumb.) And when my mom called from the emergency room to tell me that one of my foster brother's had been murdered by his bio. father. He was 10 months old.

Christie Craig said...


I'm kind of proud of them myself.



Christie Craig said...


Sometimes "nothing happening" is a good thing.

Thanks for stopping by.


Christie Craig said...


And you don't the worst of it. He'd just come back from a month in Alabama. So his normal Texas drawl was extra drawn out with the Alabama twang.

And girl, you were lucky the cop had a sense of humor. LOL.

Thanks for sharing.


Oh, the daughter to sweet to stay mad at. She has a big heart, big smile, and so easy to like.

Christie Craig said...


Yup, I'm sure that was sight for sore eyes. Remember, he's up there close to Aunt Faye, he might just pop in.


Christie Craig said...


I'm not sure I would want to find it out on face book. Yikes. And man, losing you care about is hard, especially when they little. You have my sympathies.


Leona said...

Wow, I'm glad your son is okay!

Donna Marie Rogers said...

Your son rocks, Christie! :-)

I had a middle of the night call last year. My mom was in the hospital and needed to call me before an emergency operation. Her gall bladder had exploded.

Though usually when I get a 'bad news' call, it's during the middle of the day. Once, I received one while next door at my inlaws. It was a Chicago police officer; I live in Green Bay, WI. She insisted I sit down before she told me why she'd called. Which was that my dad had died. :-( I was almost 6 months pregnant, so that was hard.

Christie Craig said...


Thanks. And I appreciate you popping in.


Christie Craig said...


Your calls are the exact reasons I get panicked when the phone rings.

God love ya girl.


Anonymous said...


Like I told him, as long as he shows up with a shovel and can dig a path to my door, he's welcome. LOL


Brandie Nickerson said...

Sorry so late...my kids are too small, but that was too funny Christie!!!

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