I turned my TV on when I got home today to prepare to watch Law & Order: LA. I used to turn my TV on only on Wednesday evenings, but since this show had just moved to Mondays I was unsure of whether it was in the 9pm or 10pm slot. In either case, when the screen came to it was on NBC and the scene was of a middle aged white man in a car driving and chatting with his front-seat passenger who happened to be a little white girl with a braided ponytail. My initial thought (because I read and watch too many crime stories) is that he was going to molest her. But they seemed to be getting along well, so I then assumed he was a relative, possibly her father. In the scene he drives up to a house, she gets out, and they both do some kind of cute gesture like a trademark goodbye sign, and then he drives off while she is still standing on the curb.
Did I mention it was nighttime?
I suffered a flashback to occasions in my childhood where a friend or their adult relative would either come to pick me up or drop me off and whenever that person didn’t show their face at the door, my parents would exclaim that they had no manners. And if it happened to be a boy crush who didn’t come to the door, woe be to him.
Actually, recently my 25 year old sister who lives at home had a similarly aged girlfriend spend the night after a late night party and the next morning girlfriend decided to leave earlier than she had announced on arrival and left the home shortly after waking up while my mother was out. Upon her return, seeing the “child” guest gone, my mother proceeded to call her parents to find out if she was at home. She wasn’t. This then led to a small commotion where my mother kept arguing that she shouldn’t have left, my sister not understanding what the big deal was arguing back that she wanted to, and my mother feeling so sorry that the guest was “missing”.
Why this flurry of emotions?
Simple. In my mother’s viewpoint, the parents of my sister’s friend had entrusted her well-being into her arms and it was her responsibility to return her back to her parents in one piece. Forget the fact that the point of the whole visit was to go out partying in the city (doing who knows what young 20ish year old ladies do in the clubs and wearing who knows what) and the only reason why she was sleeping over was so as not to have to return home in the wee hours of the morning.
And even when said friend had returned to her home hours later and called my mother (who of course had left several worried messages on her voicemail and with her parents) to let her know she was fine and to apologize for leaving – seriously, my mother was still going on and on as to how it wasn’t right. I’m sure even her parents weren’t worried. They probably don’t expect 24/7 running updates as to her whereabouts.
So what was my point. Ah yes, the 15 second scene in which a man drops off a child on the street and drives off. Now, I’m turning into my own mother. What kind of adult doesn’t deliver a child into the safety of her parents arms? Or at least walk her up to the door? Or at least watch her get inside the house from the warmth of his car? If she didn’t make it from the curb to the door would it really be defensible to say “well I dropped her off at home”?
BTW: the show was Chuck. I had to look it up!