June 21, 2007

Horn-y Teenagers

I embarrassed Maggie at the mall by (as she describes it) “acting childishly” in the food court.

Four teenage boys were exiting Dave & Buster’s restaurant while we were eating dinner. These kids, who looked to be about 14 or 15, had some sort of lung-powered air horns that made an obnoxious noise when they blew through it. The noise was loud enough to be disruptive all the way from the balcony over the food court.

If they hadn’t been so young, I would have thought they were drunk. The intoxication of youth, I suppose.

They kept blowing, and laughing, blowing and laughing. The noise was constant and stopped their conversations to look up at them.

They started down the escalator, coming toward us, and it became apparent that the noise had only been bearable because of their distance. They were right behind a teenaged couple when they blew their horns again loud enough to give the pair a jolt. The couple turned around and shot them a look of “WTF?” which served to set the teens into a round of derisive laughter. And pointing. That raised my ire.

Apparently, that set someone else off as well, because at that point a serious-looking police officer (not a “mall cop” - he looked more like state police) strode over and began to say something to the youths, who were suddenly a lot more quiet.

As their guffaws died away, I couldn’t help myself. I let out an artificially loud laugh of my own, drawing looks from all the tables around us, and in view of the noisy quartet.

This behavior was met with an immediate reproval from my wife on the grounds of childishness. I didn’t disagree. We discussed that clearly the youths wanted attention, though they probably got the kind of attention they were not interested in. I mused aloud that I might have uttered the stock Nelson Muntz “Ha ha” and Maggie suggested that, while this would still have been childish, at least it would have been funnier.

I could swear I heard a few claps of approval as the officer led the youths back up the escalator to D&B’s for some unknown purpose. Perhaps to make them return the horns.

M suggested that the official was simply going to make them walk back down again, this time quietly. A disciplinary technique we used to use when we got less-than-acceptable behavior from the children was to force them to repeat a task until they had satisfactorily demonstrated they’d learned to do it politely. Slam a door in our house (in anger) and you might find yourself walking in and out of that room repeatedly shutting the door quietly. We haven’t had to do that sort of thing in quite a while now. It works. The officer did not put them through that, but whatever he did say to them did the trick. They faded into the background of mall teens.

OK it was childish. But, come on. If you have to sit through the obnoxious first and second acts, you ought to get to heartily enjoy the finale.

[UPDATE: I believe this was the toy they were using. It’s louder than you’d expect. Hey, look - RI Novelty also carries them…]

Posted by James at June 21, 2007 1:02 AM
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Those were the mall cops - the RISP does not do mall patrol. The Providence police are at the mall on weekend nights (rowdy urban crowd, to put it bluntly), but they look like, well, Providence cops. There's no mistaking the actual RISP, because their uniforms makes them look like mounties. The Providence Place mall cops, by contrast, look like a cross between security guards and fish and game cops.

HELPFUL HINT: The RISP carry fully loaded and conveniently holstered sidearms. Mall cops do not.

Posted by: Roger Williams at June 21, 2007 2:49 AM

Thank you for some expertise from the Biggest Little.

His hat made him look like a mountie, which is one thing that led me to the conclusion he wasn't a mall cop. I didn't notice a firearm or lack thereof because I was too busy laughing into my chicken club sandwich. Perhaps my wife would say that an adult would have noticed.

So, if the hat is what makes the difference, then he was a statie. If it's something else, then I may not have noticed it. I remember a white shirt. And that he carried himself state-police serious. I was surprised to see what I thought was actual police in the mall during the week. My only guess is that they step-up the coverage around the time school lets out for summer vacation.

In any case, Johnny Rockets has an excellent chicken club. I should have mentioned that.

Posted by: James at June 21, 2007 8:12 AM

It must have been a mall cop because Staties wear gray uniforms, not white.

Posted by: David Grenier at June 21, 2007 9:45 AM

Could have been a real cop stopping for a bite.

So, you let out a mockingly loud laugh at them for being busted? Possibly a little childish, but an understandable way of venting your ire. I wouldn't be surprised if you had been on the verge of doing something before the cop intervened. So you had an unresolved action and needed to do something.

Posted by: briwei at June 21, 2007 10:43 AM

It's okay to cut loose a little, just not a lot. They did a lot, you did a little. Don't sweat it.

Posted by: Chuck S. at June 21, 2007 11:40 AM

My objection is that it was childish and not funny. It didn't add to the moment, which belonged to the teenie-boppers, 100%. They asked for their ten minutes and they deserved every second.

I was about to go ask them where their mommies were.

Cop was definitely workin' the food court.

Posted by: Maggie at June 21, 2007 1:16 PM

"Workin' the food court?"

Why does that make me think of Tobias and his Hot Cops?

Damn you, Arrested Development!

Posted by: James at June 21, 2007 2:36 PM

The Providence Place mall cops wear white shirts and ridiculous hats. You can see the Rhode Island staties here. Note the flared gloves, high boots, gray uniforms and prominent sidearm stuffed into a cowhide holster. This isn't a dress uniform - this is their standard spring/summer uniform (the winter uniforms are slightly different). The best, or perhaps most overdressed, state troopers in America.

Posted by: Roger Williams at June 22, 2007 3:32 AM

Aha - then he was definitely a mall cop.

Workin' the food court.

Posted by: James at June 22, 2007 8:14 AM

Oh, wow... those outfits really are over the top! The guy in the mall looked like a real state trooper -- fit, solemn, actually doing his job. Plus not dressed like a bad movie. LOL. But I guess I'll have to revise my definition of a "real" cop.

Posted by: Maggie at June 22, 2007 12:02 PM

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