One evening after dinner there was a knock on the door. Most people just walk into our apartment, but if someone knocks those who don't live here often answer the door. This time Nikki got it and standing outside was a middle-aged man.
Before I tell you about him, let me tell you about my apartment. We're a brand new building that is still considered to be on campus, but we're out in the boonies. A large parking lot separates us from the nearest building. My front window view is a cliff with a road at the bottom of it and woods across the street. More woods on our left, and behind us is a huge red field that will someday house more buildings but for now will be the home of our own Mud Fest.
The middle-aged men that darken our doorstep are our fathers and the maintenance men. This particular man was neither.
"I'm the father of a girl in the apartment across the hall. Do you have internet? She doesn't either. I just want to take a quick peak in the closet at your wireless hook-up."
Across the room and out of eye sight, I shot a "What the heck does he think he's doing?" look at Adam.
"We were told the internet can't be hooked up until the building is complete. Even though we're living in it the building can't be officially declared complete until the cable company comes back," Nikki explained.
"You see, that's not true," he said. "You guys can't live without internet."
If there was sarcasm in his voice, I did not hear it. He also never gave his name, but Adam said he had a school employee ID.
If I was suspicious before, I was upset now. My desire for internet was overpowered by my desire for that father to let his daughter go unplugged. It was one night for goodness sake! The rest of us had been internet-less for literally a week, and we were still alive. Gasp!
I'm glad I didn't answer the door. I might have said something like this: Sir, if you work here, check it out in the morning. Don't go around the building at night and explore the internet hook-up. Don't teach your daughter that you can fix everything instantly. She's 18 not 8! (OK, I would not have really said that, but I thought it).
Honestly, my heart broke for her. You see, I know what it's like to go to school where your parents work. For nine years I shared a building with two student-sisters, a teacher-mother, and an administrator father. It was not unusual for someone to see all five of us in one day. Even now, I go back and nobody asks me what I'm doing. They already know; Mom told them.
To the girl who I've not even met yet, I am sorry you chose a school where your parent(s) work. I've been there. I'm sorry you have a hovering Helicopter Parent. I have two. Come on over. We'll swap stories.
Dear Mr. Creepy Man/Helicopter Father, thank you for trying to fix our internet. We really do appreciate your (failed) effort. Now, it's 9pm and your daughter's first night away at school. Let her make some friends and enjoy herself without you here. It's actually better if her computer doesn't work, so she's not in front of the screen all night long. Oh, and, yes, we can live without internet.
Thank you for letting me rant. As always, thoughts welcome.