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Raising Spies

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You think your kids are tough? Try raising teens who insist on being incognito.

teens texting

Lori Curley: "There. I see her," agent 67 reports from her back seat in the Subaru wagon.

She has said been dead silent for the past 30 minutes, but the appearance of this complete stranger seems to energize her. She points to a straight-haired girl with a serious teenage attitude sitting under a tree. The girl steps out from the shade and I notice that she is also holding a cell phone. She looks just like agent 67: short shorts, thin T-shirt, flip-flops, and that hair hanging, Jennifer Aniston-like, around her face.

"I'm getting out," 67 says. "I'll text if I need a pick-up."

"Do you mean back up?" I ask.

She rolls her eyes and slams the door. I do not know the name of the park, the friend's last name, or where they are going. Like many of you, I am raising a spy.

Last week I dropped her off at 234 Barcladen to meet "some people" and then got a message to meet her at "the" pizza place. When I called to ask which "the" pizza place she told me to forget it, she would be at the train station. Obviously, she was shaking a trail.

At the train station she climbed into the car with three other agents. "They need a ride to the park," I was told. None of them looked up, they were texting. When I got to the park they climbed out and got into a van that had been waiting for them.

I waved to the driver -- my friend and neighbor of seven years -- and felt some relief. While my daughter thinks we are both preposterous for wanting to know anything about their friends, both are beginning to yield and realize that giving us information buys them more freedom -- freedom to roam about our quiet town, exchanging furtive glances:

"Ducking into the shadows, she glanced down for the fifth or sixth time at her cell. She never knew who she was looking out for because it was never the same friend twice. That was part of the excellence of the scheme: the cut-out at each end, the endless supply of new friends." -- modified excerpt from James Bond's "Devil May Care"

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