{ Tuesday, January 28, 2003 }


When I was twelve, the local "Carry-Out" store banned me forever.

See, okay, the store had this rule... "If you are under eighteen or still in high school, only two allowed in the store at one time unless with parents" posted clearly on their door. It's still there.

This presents a challenge when you, your sister and even just one friend want to go get some candy. It all began with me asking a serious, if slightly silly question. Cause I was a twelve year old who intended to finish high school at sixteen. So, I wanted to know if it was whichever came first or last. The genius son of the owner couldn't comprehend the question. I never got to learn the answer because it became irrelevant to my life after I was banned.

My sister and I are, um, outspoken. Last week when I was at Mom's, I was looking through some memorabilia and I found clippings from the newspaper and local magazine about when we address the City Council when we were like nine and ten or maybe just a little older. Definately firmly in elementary school. We wanted more details on just exactly what was going to happen to the creek behind our house if the road was extended. We also wanted to know exactly which trees would be coming down.

I guess two little freckle-faced kids playing Lorax to City Council was enough to make the papers, but Shelly actually talked back. We went to the correct meeting, dressed in our best Take Me Seriously clothes. We spoke at the correct time. And some Counsil Member was talking down to us and dismissing our concerns. So, Shelly yelled at him.

I ended up writing a letter to the editor of the local magazine and the Kentucky Post explaining why this was a serious concern... you know, whether or not we were going to have a creek to play in and if our rope swing was going to survive. Shelly actually won some statewide speech contest for the Urban 4-H club about the whole thing.

So, you might get from there to the fact that we were both questioning authority and taking action from a young age. One afternoon, four of us rode our bikes to the Carry-Out. We obeyed the sign and two people stayed outside with the bikes while we went in two at a time. This was the day that I asked if I would be able to come in with two other people when I was finished with high school but not yet eighteen. Okay, so, they tell us we can't park our bikes outside of their door.

I go back outside and ask Shelly to move the bikes. She does. We are told we can't park them there either. So, rules be damned, Shelly walks into the store. Someone was still watching the bikes. We are told that someone has to leave the store. Shelly says someone will leave, as soon as we find out where we are allowed to park our bikes. Because we've been told now, not in a parking place, not in front of the store, not over in the driveway. We'd like to know where we can park them.

Okay, so the guy working the register tells us he's going to call the police. Mind you, we're talking about four children aged eleven and twelve who simply want to know where they can park their bikes while they are trying to patronize his family's business.

We tell him to call the cops if that's what he wants to do, but really, it would be a lot easier if he would just tell us where we can leave our bikes that won't be objectionable to him. He says we can't park our bikes on his property.

Now, see, I think this has something to do with the fact that my uncles are the lawyers on the back of the Northern Kentucky Yellow Pages. People were constantly telling Shelly and I all the things we were not allowed to do on their property. They were afraid of being sued.

Okay, so, Shelly storms out of the store. And proceeds, with one of our friends, to ride one bike while dragging another one along next to her. Cause he told us not to park them on his property or he would call the police. He never said anything about riding them.

We are promptly kicked out of the store. And then he comes outside with a camera and begins taking our pictures. Then he tells us we are never allowed back.

That photograph continues to hang under the counter at the Carry-Out to this day. More than ten years later, my twelve year old self, riding my black and pink ten speed in their parking lot, is taped under the counter along with three other pictures under a black sign that says "BANNED". Me, Shelly, and our two friends. Ours are the only pictures. You can see them from the window since they renovated.

I've gone in there a few times. Never when a member of the owner's family was working. They've refused Shelly cigarettes before after she was eighteen and had already gotten gas. They told our mother that we're still not allowed in when Shelly was like seventeen. Seriously, we're still BANNED from the local convienent store...

posted by mary ann 3:39 PM