Do You Mind?

They asked, so I told them. I’m just glad I already knew the answer.

I remember how happy I felt. In all my 12-year-old life, I had never had this much fun. I had gone to an amusement park with a friend and her family where we proceeded to eat (so it seemed) several hundred pounds of junk food, ride every ride at least twice, get sunburned, and just generally have a great time. At the end of the day we were ready to take a break, so we chose a lazy, gondola-type ride.

We got into a car with two other girls who seemed to be about our age. We smiled at them, said hello, and continued the conversation we were having before we got on the ride. I could sense the two girls were staring at us.

“Hi,” I said again, uneasily trying to force a smile on my face.

“We were hoping no one would be on this car with us,” said one, shooting me an ugly look. “Well, do you mind if we smoke a joint?”

I glanced at my friend. She wasn’t moving or saying anything; she just looked at me as if to say, “What do we do now?”

I wanted that girl to vanish. I wanted to run away. My mind was racing. What she was suggesting was not only against my standards; it was against the law. I searched for the right words, but I was so nervous I just started blurting things out.

“No … I mean yes … Of course we would mind … What I mean is DON‘T DO IT.”

When the ride finally touched down, my friend and I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. As soon as we were out of earshot, my friend turned to me and said, “Well, I guess you told them.” Then she winked at me.

We both started to laugh. I had probably looked pretty silly, but I got my point across, and I felt good about that.

On that ride, I didn’t have the presence of mind to think about what I was doing. My actions that day were a direct and automatic result of what I had decided long before—to mind my parents and, more importantly, to mind my Father in Heaven. My commitment as a young Primary girl to stand up for what I knew was right had come to my rescue that day, several years later, high above the ground.

[illustration] Illustrated by Scott Greer