The Day I Got Grounded and Ruined My Summer

One summer, my sister Joon and I spent a lot of time at our church's gym. Not working out, of course, but HANGING out. We had a friend that worked there, and a group of us would get together and do stuff.

On one particular night, during the week of Vacation Bible School, our church rented one of those moonbounce things. We deflated it and then Joon sat on it and we blew it up to see if she would stay on the roof.

She did.

You have to understand, we'd all grown up as Church Kids. Our form of rebellion was, like, playing hide-and-seek in the auditorium. It was fairly tame, by most people's standards, but we totally felt like we were DARING and EDGY. We were dorks.

It was hot and muggy outside, and not much better in the gym, to tell the truth, so we were all sort of sluggish and slow. Especially after our massive four hour game of kickball in which I totally kicked the ball into the basketball goal at the other end of the court. We were all sprawled around in the air-conditioned hallway, talking about nothing and having debates and playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and gossiping about church members sharing prayer requests. We lost all track of time.

Eventually, around 2:30 a.m., Joon and I headed home. When we pulled into our neighborhood, all the lights in our house were ablaze, and my dad was stomping down the front sidewalk toward his car. I'd barely turned off the car before he was at the car, almost physically dragging us both out of our seats (he has really long gorilla arms).

"WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?" he asked, with the Voice of God.

"Geez, at the church," Joon answered.

"Where'd you think we were?" I said. I was maybe being sarcastic. I had not learned yet.


At this point, Joon and I exchanged a look which said both, "What a dummy," and, "Boy, are we in trouble."

There was a huge long talk about Common Courtesy and Calling Home and Not Being Overprotective and Why Won't You Let Us Grow Up and You'll Always Be Our Babies, with a whole lot of guilt-tripping and foot-stomping and You're Mean! and crying.

In the end, Joon and I were grounded for two weeks. We were basically under house arrest. And when the two weeks were up, we had a curfew, and we had to call every time we arrived at a destination and every time we were about to leave a destination. It was sort of like how you can inject your dog with a special GPS system in case it ever gets lost. Joon and I were guinea pigs for that.

Oh, and did I mention how old we were when we were grounded?

Well, I was twenty-two and Joon was twenty. Oh, you read it right.

At the age of twenty-two, a college graduate (honors diploma, no less), a tax-paying adult, I, Mei Flower, found myself grounded. Granted, I was still living with my parents, so there was this whole thing with "As long as you're living in OUR house, missy ...," but I still felt, in my twenty-two year old soul, that this was Too Much.

And because, once my parents got over being murderously angry with us, they found the whole situation to be hySTERical, they told the world what they'd done. They told all they people they worked with, they told everybody in the neighborhood, and they told the entire freaking church. I mean, they could have saved time and put a full-page ad in the paper; the effect was pretty much the same.

It was humiliating, to be lining up my VBS kids, who I was TEACHING, and to have the YOUTH PASTOR making fun of us for being grounded. And you KNOW that is what he remembers about us to this day. Like, I saw him about five years ago (he'd moved to another church), and he brought up that whole thing. Delightful.

In my life, this was only the second time I'd been grounded. (The first was a doozy, too).

In summation, I moved out in September. Joon got married so she could lose her curfew. We are both emotionally damaged.

Also, we missed the rest of the week with the moonbounce.

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