Sidewalk Chalk and the Police.
As I mentioned in my last post, two good friends from my past are getting married. You’d think I’d be closer to the girl in that couple but I’m actually closer to the guy. For privacy purposes, I’ll call him Dan.
As I also mentioned in my last post, Dan was like a brother to me. I had gone to school with him since kindergarten but it wasn’t until high school that we became friends — when my best friend started “going out” with him. That of course, didn’t last long, but he stuck around in our friend group.
Anyway, back to what this story is about: Being a nerd.
My friends and I weren’t typical high-schoolers. Sure, some of us went to parties and experimented with drugs (nothing crazy) and alcohol but not enough to be considered partyers or burn-outs. Most of us got pretty good grades. We were part of Future Business Leaders, Leadership, the charity club, the soccer, tennis, basketball and football teams, student council, homecoming court, Associated Student Body, and those super smart clubs who compete like the mathletes in Mean Girls but with all subjects instead of math. We got along with pretty much everyone, and had friends in pretty much every stereotypical group you’d find in most high schools.
I’m not really sure where we got the idea, but Dan and I had decided, for fun, to “chalk” our friends’ driveways. I know, I know. Please try to contain your envy when I detail you our exciting adventures.
Armed with a deluxe rainbow box of “Sidewalk Chalk”, we hopped in the car and headed for our friend Paul’s house. We dressed in all black (we were really badass that way) and parked a block down from his house. We stalked up the street, our favorite colors in hand, and started writing half funny/half cryptic messages on his driveway. Paul had been acting weird around the friend group so we decided to put in some jokes about that. We drew some pictures, and then we left. As nerdy as it was, It left a rush with me. Maybe it spoke to my inner rebel who wants to do things without getting caught. The excitement of someone telling us to get off my lawn!! –err, sidewalk riveted me. I wanted to do this again.
The next day at school we heard Paul talking to other people in our friend group about the chalk. Paul didn’t have the best sense of humor so he was upset about a few things. Dan and I snickered behind his back and decided the who our next victim would be.
The following weekend we parked near the entrance of a neighborhood belonging to our friend Kevin on a Saturday night after all the lights were out. It was known that Kevin had been hanging out with the, for lack of better words, school slut. She had decided she wanted to take Kevin’s v-card and Kevin (also being a good friend of mine) had divulged to me when and where these events took place. Being teenagers, their locations were a bit creative and so in his driveway I made references to her and these locations. Nothing, of course, that his parents would get should they see it. We were nerds, not actual rebels, remember.
Again, our chalking became the subject of the lunch table chatter. Kevin was suspecting the girl he had been hooking up with did it. She had also been linked to Paul so it wasn’t too much outside the realm of possibility. And, she was kind of crazy. He rambled on about his parents not liking her and this proves it and how he felt a little creeped out, but nothing TOO serious. Again, we just laughed to ourselves and continued plotting.
Even though all we were doing was drawing on sidewalks and driveways, there was something exciting and entertaining about going out at night and creeping people out a little bit; Having them talk about it during class. We thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this mystery because what else would a couple of nerds love more? In the end, it was all really just harmless fun so we could frolic around in the night with the only concern of being found out by our friends. Until one night.
Our mutual best friend Melissa’s house was at the end of a long driveway that tucked the house into a large wooded area. On the road outside her driveway, there were other smaller houses but they were spaced out by large yards. Because her house was off the beaten path, there were no streetlights. Definitely no regular traffic passing by. Knowing this, we decided it was best it we cut the headlights while driving down her driveway. Again, clad in black, we stopped the car half-way down the driveway. We popped the trunk, grabbed the chalk, and crept up to her house.
This time, we had created our best masterpiece yet on her driveway. It was full of inside jokes that could possibly point to us, weird drawings that could have only been crafted by Dan and I, and just random messages (I think Dan wrote a poem or music lyrics or something). I don’t think we cared if Melissa knew it was us because she had a good sense of humor and would probably just laugh it off.
The trouble came however, when we decided it was time to go. We blindly jogged back to the car, threw the chalk in the backseat and turned the ignition. Just then, I saw a figure running toward me on the passenger side. I freaked out “Dan! WHO IS THAT. Should we just go? What should we do?! AHHH!”
Before Dan made a decision the figure had made it to the car. A man in his 40s or 50s, big, kinda gruff looking. Us, two teenage punks dressed in black hoodies who just got into our car parked in the middle of nowhere. Obviously causing trouble. My window was already cracked so he leaned forward, obviously scanning our faces for descriptions to tell the cops. Asian boy and blonde girl. Unlikely combo, he probably thought to himself.
“Can you tell me what you’re doing out here?” he was practically shouting in my face.
“Oh, uh we were just visiting our friend Melissa, she lives at this house down here” I stammered out, pointing toward the house.
He looked over us again, still scanning noticeable descriptions probably, or trying to figure out if we were full of shit. Luckily we *did* know the occupants of the house and she *was* a friend. Whether we were visiting or being weird was, luckily, not a question we had to answer.
“There’s been some break-ins recently so I called the cops when I saw you cut your lights and park. It looks suspicious, you know.”
Oh shit. Shit Shit. Shit!! We had gone from being a couple of weird nerds to criminals! We were getting the cops called on us! Oh my god, I’d get arrested. They’d cut me from the tennis team! I’d lose my drivers license! MY PART-TIME JOB AKA SHOPPING ADDICTION FUND! Okay, maybe not all of that but when I’m suddenly faced with consequences I start to really panic and my imagination goes wild.
I can’t remember what I said to the guy but my diarrhea-of-the-mouth was going everywhere. I named everyone in our friend’s family. Told him how long we knew each other, just random bits of information regarding her and her family I could get a hold of. I did it to make it appear like everything was okay but I probably sounded like a lunatic. Now that I think of it, he probably just said he had called the cops to freak us out. Because when a pause in my rant came, he edged in and told us he’d call them off. He then warned us to be careful. He probably saw the chalk in the back seat and knew at most we were vandals who were too stupid or broke to buy real tagging material. Or just fruit loops.
Eventually our cover was blown and everyone knew we were “the chalkers”. My friend Kevin told us we were lucky as well because his next door neighbor had been broken into so he had beefed up the security measures around his house and kept a gun. Getting caught by Kevin’s neighbor would have been a lot more scary than a call to the police (fake or not).
Excepting special occasions, Dan and I stopped “chalking” at night. We managed to find other cheap and nerdy thrills but this was by far my favorite.