A friend posted the following on Facebook:
Tell me about something that completely changed the course of your life, for better or for worse.
Challenge accepted. This is the result.
My parents lived in Albany, NY, and I was attending Michigan State University. The summer after my second year, I got a junk job in Flint, where my then-girlfriend lived. After she dumped me, I stayed with some nomadic hippies in Flint for a while, then went to visit a school friend at his family’s summer cottage.
After a week or two, his mom figured out that I hadn’t told my parents where I was; meanwhile, my ‘rents were panicking because they couldn’t get hold of me at my now-former apartment in Flint (no cell phones in 1970). The two sets of parents talked, and I was sent home to face the music.
Mom and Dad made it crystal clear:
I would not be going back to Michigan.
I would be living with them.
I would be getting a job in Albany.
I would be going to school in Albany.
All of this, until I “learned some responsibility”.
After a week or two of the new regime, I had to make a quick trip back to Michigan State, to pick up the possessions I had left in dorm storage at the beginning of the summer, and bring them back home.
Returning to Michigan State and East Lansing felt like coming home. I stayed overnight with friends. After much talking late into the night, I did what I had to do. I went to a pay phone, called my parents, and told them I wasn’t coming back, that I was going to stay in Michigan, because I wanted to.
Dad hit the roof. Usually careful to keep control when he talked to us kids, this time he barked, “You get your ass back home right now!”
“No,” I said.
And just like that, I left home for good.