Being 12 was a fun age for me. Old enough to be left alone while my parents went on a "date" (although back then, parents didn't really stick to that rule and I was babysitting my brother and the neighbor kids at 11), but young enough to still play with my Barbie Dolls. Yes, I was one of those girls who secretly choreographed elaborate dramas between Barbie and Ken, only to shove them and their designer pink carry case under my bed when my non-Barbie doll playing friends came over to "hang out".
Instead of playing house with the Cabbage Patch Dolls and giving performances for an audience of 20 stuffed animals, we would head on down to the basement to watch MTV, and lip sync the lyrics to "Like a Virgin". We would dress up in sparkly beads, hats and old square dancing skirts that belonged to my grandma and go to town. If we were lucky enough to be having a sleepover, we'd try to stay up late enough to watch a rated "R" movie (my first was Purple Rain, I saw it at my friend Tanisha's house - her father was a policeman - and I still remeber how shocked I was that they had an "illegal" copied beta version of the movie), raid the pantry and play a few jokes on eachother or our unsuspecting siblings. Remember the "hot water" trick? The trick (sorry Ryan) where you fill a bowl with warm water and put the sleeping victim's hand in it so that they wet the bed? Yes, I was a diabolical tween, wasn't I?
Our other favorite pasttime was prank calling. Back in the days before caller id and *69, kids could actually entertain themselves for hours pranking random people in the phone book. These days, I don't think kids even know phone books exist. We would gleen much pleasure by ringing a couple listed in the phone book (Bob and Julie Smith for example) and saying in a sultry voice when the woman would answer "May I speak to Bob please?". When she would question our request we would respond, just like Kathleen Turner I am sure, "Well, he was supposed to meet me for a drink, and he never showed up." before slamming the phone down in a fit of giggles and high-fives. How we came up with these schemes is beyond me, I guess that's what happens to pre-teen girls when they are cooped up in 18 hours of darkness in Anchorage, Alaska.
Well, like they say, what goes around comes around. It was finally my turn to be on the receiving end of a prank phone call.
At about 10 o'clock a few Saturday nights ago, having successfully tucked in the kiddos for the night, Brett was at work and I was enjoying a little down time in front of the tv (Friends With Money is a great flick, btw) when the phone rang. This isn't too unusual and I figured that it was Brett calling to say goodnight.
"Is Shannon there?"
"I think you have the wrong number."
"Well, uh, what's your name?"
"What number were you trying to call?"
"Um, my brother, oh, nevermind, how old are you?"
I know, I know, I missed an incredible opportunity to mess with this adolescent males head. I should've answered with "Well how old are you?" or "You sound cute." in my best Kathleen Turner wannabe voice, but I missed the boat. Oh, that and in this day and age of inappropriate congressional behavior, Mary Kay LeTourneau and big brother, I really would like to remain off America's Most Wanted list. Headlines like "Pervert Mother of Three Lures 12 Year-Old Boy in Sercret Phone Sex" aren't the kind I want peppering my list of accomplishments when I take over leadership of our PTA and put an end, once and for all, to unecessary school fundraising (just kidding, but I would like to outlaw cheesy fundraisers forever and just write my check to THE SCHOOL instead of a company selling wrapping paper and cell phone holders, but I digress).
The old karma bus has turned around and made it's way back to me this time. I only hope that I can be forgiven by those women I woke up in the middle of the night, requesting the presence of their husband at a bar. But then again, I am sure they knew it was a 12 year-old on the other end of the coiled, 10 foot-long telephone cord (because cordless phones in 1984 were only for the uber rich, not regular folk like us - plus they were, like, 36" long and weighed 5 pounds).
But next time, I will be prepared - you bet I will. Because somewhere, deep inside me, lives that diabolical pre-teen just waiting for the phone to ring.