The library where I work is next to the town's elementary school, and on every school day at 3:05 PM we are swarmed with kids. Most are more interested in accessing our wi-fi for their tablets, or using our computers to play Minecraft, but some are also after homework space or reference materials for projects. Whatever their plans might be, their parents are usually aware of where their kids are and what they are up to.
Every now and then, we have problems. So far, no disasters have befallen any of these kids, but the frantic distress of a frazzled parent can be contagious.
We sometimes get calls from parents who want to remind their kids about chores that need to be done at home, resulting in a mad sprint across town when the kid realizes how much time vanished during his or her internet session.
Sometimes a parent forgets our closing time, and needs to be contacted at the last minute. This results in a mad dash by a frazzled parent coming to fetch a child at the last minute.
Sometimes kids go hang out with friends and neglect to keep parents in the loop. This results in frazzled parents trying to find out where their kids are, and sometimes those frazzled parents treat us like negligent babysitters. Never mind that we are not and never have been a child care provider.
And sometimes, kids really disappear. On one occasion, a mother discovered that her daughter had decided to travel to another town some 10 miles away with her friends. This was after she had been frantically checking every possible hangout in this town, including our library, for hours before that discovery.
As a former kid myself, now cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, I must admit chores are also easily forgotten when distractions pop up. My own history of keeping my parents apprised of my location and plans is also imperfect. However, my family did tend to make sure we weren't left somewhere without a ride home, and leaving town without letting someone know was out of the question.
I am therefore left with no recourse but a curmudgeonly "Back in MY day, us kids never did anything that stupid! Kids these days are hopeless!" Well, that, and the realization that other adults including the frazzled parents have no more idea than I do about how to be an adult. And if we're all faking it, our parents were, too!.