This past Wildcat Weekend, Armfield was visited by an atypical demographic on Friday and Saturday nights: parents. They seemed to enjoy themselves well enough. Many played pong, danced to “Mr. Brightside,” and stood around aimlessly under the influence. In fact, on Saturday when asked for comment about visiting parents, an campus police officer told me about one father from the previous night who elected to stand with the officers all night long, midnight to F’s 2 A.M. closing. Apparently, this guy was only there to spy on his ex-wife who accompanied her son on his Friday night festivities.
My question is: WHY? What could possibly motivate a parent to want to see their child drunk, high, or both? What positive gain did these parents expect to gain from a night out at F with their college-age child? My canvassing of parents at F on Saturday uncovered a wide range of answers to these (and other unasked) questions. Here are some highlights:
One couple, gripping red solo cups of flat and untouched yellow liquid, told me about how they worried for their son, a first-year student who used to spend his high-school weekends at home playing Scrabble with Mom and Dad. Nowadays, he spends every Friday, Saturday, and Wednesday at F. The mother told me, “He handed me this cup about an hour ago. He said it was his new favorite drink, some beer called Keystone. I took one sip and couldn’t down another drop, but I don’t have the heart to pour it out.”
While I was interviewing the campus police officer on Saturday, they pointed out the creepy ex-husband from the night before. However, before I could approach the man for a few questions, he tapped the shoulder of an older woman who was standing next to a male student outside SPE. I assumed this was the man’s ex-wife and his son at first, but when he began to chew her out, I discovered that the student was instead just some random SPE brother hoping to “network.” Thankfully, the conflict did not go further because the SPE brother used his skills as a risk manager to deescalate the situation.
Finally, there was a horde of five blonde children running wild on the premises. I asked the oldest-looking one, a fourteen-year-old girl, where their parents were. But before she could answer, one of her brothers complained, “Hey, I’m the oldest! You should be asking me that. She can’t even drive yet! I at least have my learner’s permit.” A brawl ensued, a classic sibling response. All five kids got involved including a little boy who couldn’t have been more than five-years-old. And he was succeeding too! He pulled hair, bit earlobes, screamed glass-shattering war cries. That little monster was ferocious. I never did find out where their parents were.