So it turns out that we made a good decision yesterday when we decided Sk8terdude should head to Drop In instead of Haven Skatepark in North Haven, Connecticut. According to this article (from the New Haven Register, but I couldn't find the original), Haven had to close due to roof damage from the snow. The Haven website says they were closed all weekend (I'm sure I looked at their website yesterday morning to see the times for the skate session but I don't recall seeing the notice that's there now....) and will most likely be closed all week.
If you've been living under a rock for the last two months (or sunning yourself on a beach somewhere), we've had a record winter since the end of December, and buildings all over New England are falling under the weight of all the snow and ice. Most have been flat roof commercial buildings but some have been homes, too.
Reading about Haven started me thinking (again) about if/when we should give Sk8terdude a cell phone. The debate has been raging here ever since OlderBrother got his more than a year ago. Sk8terdude was more than a little incensed at the perceived injustice, but we pointed out that OlderBrother needed the cell phone because he goes to private school two towns away and we sometimes need to reach him (or him, us) during the 40 minute bus ride home. Sk8terdude, who attends public school only six minutes from home, isn't even allowed to use a cell phone at school (not to mention that there's no cell phone service in the building), so what's the point?
But Sk8terdude is not easily deterred...once he has an idea in his head he'll beat it to death before he lets it go, and the cell phone argument is never over for long. He's been arguing that he needs a phone, in particular, so that he can be dropped off at skateparks and still be able to reach us if necessary. Up until this past year we always stayed in the parent lounge (or parking lot) when he was skating, because he was too young to be left there alone. But this year he broke through the minimum age barrier and begged to be dropped off, which we allowed, begrudgingly, at our local park where he is a regular.
That was fine until one day in early November. We dropped him at his late afternoon lesson and headed north to pick up OlderBrother who, inconveniently, had missed his bus. We promised to be back by the time the park closed (6 p.m. in autumn)...but the sun was setting earlier and earlier and the local outdoor park isn't lit. So the park closed early and we arrived to find Sk8terdude happily doing olleys in the parking lot, in the near-dark. When we asked why he didn't ask to use the skatepark phone to call and tell us the park was closing early (in which case we would have called a friend nearby to run and pick him up), he said it hadn't occurred to him. He was fine, by the way, and would have gladly continued skating in the dark no matter how long it took us to show up - but that's not the point.
So now we have a new hypothetical to add to the list: what if he had been skating at Haven, and what if I had left him to run errands (or, more likely, had gone to Starbucks to hang out...after all, it's the "alternate" parent lounge), and what if that was exactly the moment they evacuated the skatepark??? He would have been outside, in the freezing cold, with no way to call me. Okay, in theory SOMEONE would have let him use their phone, but how can I rely on that?
It looks like a phone may be in his immediate future - most likely once the local outdoor park opens for the season (although, with all the snow we've had here, it may be late Spring before everything melts!). Now I just have to figure out how to break the news to OlderBrother that, once again, Sk8terdude gets something at a younger age...