In the days I slept over at Joanie's house all time, I loved having my freedom! Especially the freedom of my own bedtime! Growing up I had a set bedtime at 9pm everyday of the week. Since my siblings and I were also home schooled having a set bedtime seemed really funny to us. YET we would have never argued against it, For the simple fear of our father. I was even 16 years old racing around hoping to be in bed by 9pm no matter what! My sister was grounded from the TV for a week once because she wasn't in bed at 9pm, she was just 14 and she was VERY mad by it. I remember thinking after that something was wrong here, We were teenagers treated like we were still little kids with our set bedtime. On the nights our father was working late or not home, our mother wouldn't even notice if we were in bed or not, in fact she never cared either way. We loved her for all these moments she broke the rules of our father with her careless shrug and smile like nothing was such a big deal after all. She never stood up to dad when he yelled at us all to be bed right then. For Mom just read late into those nights on the couch in the 3am glow of her light with the sound of turning pages. I liked finding her there when I wanted to chat with her, she probably didn't even realize we kids had a set bedtime for years. My father would boom his anger quickly when glancing at the clock noticing how late it was and we teenagers were still up! He thought we were sneaking around trying to avoid the early bedtime, I look back remembering with such a sigh of annoyance, for maybe we should have challenged him!
With Joanie, I found myself sitting in the cafe booth at 2am laughing and drinking hot cocoa. We both loved wearing our Pajama pants everywhere, so in our big fluffy sweaters and colorfully designed pj pants we stayed up late into the early morning. Our group of friends from a Thursday night bible study kept teasing us for not caring to dress normal. I guess she and I felt if people don't like us for just us then we might as well be comfy! No matter where I went to a coffee shop, a book store or a restaurant Joanie was with me! I loved our friendship and that sense of freedom.
"Do you want to get food? I think I will!" I asked Joanie as we sat in a booth on another Thursday night, it was after 9pm and we were settling in for the next four hours. Knowing I was sleeping over at Joanie's place allowed me to just relax and be in the moment. She played with her broken finger nail nodding back in reply "Sure, I want the big cookie ice cream bowl." I laughed and shook my head "NO SILLY! I want REAL food! How about we share a sample platter and split the cookie ice cream?" Joanie nodded while leaning her back against the wall and watching the other people move around the place. She noted "I would hate working at a restaurant, I don't like people!" I laughed happily, I looked around the place with her. She continued "I mean, people would want their food just so and then complain or tip poorly after having been so high maintenance and I would loose it! Likely shove their plate into their laps! It would be BAD! Nope! this kind of job isn't for me." I chuckled listening and thinking about Joanie as a server. She looked at me with a smile "Oh but YOU could do it." I mumbled "Oh THANKS I guess!" I rolled my eyes and she giggled "No I just meant you are nicer then me is all, its a compliment!" I nodded replying back "I don't care whatever job I have as long as I get to have time to play! AND decide my own bed time!" Joanie gave me a high five from across the table in reply with a nod she asked as our food came "WHO NEEDS SLEEP?"
Our group of friends were joining us on another Thursday night at the restaurant, that bible study group usually ran over to McDonald or a fast food place instead of joining us in the booth. Joanie and I refused fast food unless we were dying of starvation, We usually found it so peaceful to be on our own anyway. On this certain night the caravan of cars were entering the parking lot of our usual restaurant. Joanie was already upset that the guy who liked her was stalking her again. He had yelled out as we headed out to the restaurant "Hey Joanie ride with me!" She slid into my car so fast and locked the door, while I yelled back "We'll just meet ya there!" I got into my car giggling at Joanie "STOP! it's NOT FUNNY!" She hissed back rolling her eyes and went off during the 10 minuet drive about how crazy he is and stupid it was to yell out in front of the whole group like that, she was instantly embarrassed. I always knew this of my dear friend, she hated being called out or yelled at in public. I had learned the hard way, I called out to her once in a parking lot and she ducked behind a car so embarrassed and mad at me. I smiled while listening to her in my car, for she was mad again. When I realized there wasn't a place to park, I drove the car back around for it very crowded night at the restaurant. The guy who liked Joanie drove up next to us, Joanie groaned "Don't park HERE! Move on! Move away from him NOW!" I slowly tried but was stuck as cars were moving all around me, Joanie squealed out "OH NO! Don't get out of your truck!" I glanced over my shoulder to see the guy get out of his truck, Joanie continued in a panic "DON'T come over HERE!" He was headed straight towards us as we waited to park my car, Joanie sighed "PLEASE don't knock on my window!" He knocked on her side of the window. I was about to burst out laughing at all the things Joanie said for this guy to NOT DO and yet I began to roll down the window, Joanie slid back into her seat starring straight ahead as if she could just die with embarrassment. When he stuck his head all the way inside I had tears of laughter filling my eyes but I remained calm. This is the same man who I had fought off at singles retreat, he also prayed the exact same prayer line for line about how he wanted to get a good night's sleep, how sleep was so important. He asked God to even give all his friends a good night's sleep too. I often sat silently along side everyone else as his voice boomed these many requests to God for sleep! I would think to myself I was actually falling asleep just praying for sleep! I nick named him the "Sleepy man." Joanie loved it, when I would ask her "So is "Sleepy man" going to be there?" She would giggle and reply "God, I hope not!" Now as this Sleepy man talked to us outside the crowded restaurant, he said (and I quote) "It's a 30 minuet wait for a table so we are calling it a night. YOU GIRLS need to go straight home now." I frowned "Why?" I hated being told what to do! He still kept his head fully stuck inside my car as I noticed Joanie pushing way back into her passenger seat to avoid bumping his cheek. He replied smugly "I know how much you girls do not sleep! So go home and go to bed!" I began to pull the car froward as he back out yelling "Watch it now! GO HOME! GO TO BED!" I waved him back and drove off the first open chance I got! I was annoyed at first then I began laughing so hard! Joanie's face after the whole event was priceless. We drove around town for 30 minuets talking and laughing about the whole thing with sleepy praying guy. Joanie exclaimed "When he said GO TO BED! I wanted to say WHY NOT PRAY about it instead!" We laughed as pulled back into our favorite restaurant. We had ditched the group and found ourselves in the comfort of our usual booth with just the 2 of us gossiping about the world over cherry cokes and cheese sticks. Now we did LOVE our beds and loved sleeping in most of all! but no one not even that know-it-all bossy man could tell us when we should go to bed! Joanie pointed to the clock as we left that night "OH NO Debby! look! its 2:30am!.." I was giggling as she continued "AND we are NOT in bed!" She gasped mockily and rolled her eyes. I was thinking I could stay up all night as happy and free as I felt!