So I got ticketed driving through my own neighborhood last night. That’s embarrassing enough in its own right — not that we get too hung up on what the neighbors think (I am pretty sure we have druggies living next door, three generations living in one house across the street, and an elderly couple very concerned with lawn care living on our other side who I have no doubt absolutely HATE me and my “mow it once a week, what more do you want” approach to groundskeeping). But it got worse still: while I was pulled over by the police officer, blue lights strobing away and all in our quiet little residential area, who goes driving by?
The indignity. The shame. The fargoing sheer stupid idiotic bad luck.
I would have gotten away with it, too. I would have explained away the ten-minute or so delay in my grocery store run, paid the fine quietly, and nobody would ever have been the wiser, except that my freaking in-laws go cruising by on their way to visit with our kids before we head out of town.
As it was, though, I walked into the house to find my wife standing with folded arms, already waiting an explanation.
It was for the dumbest of things, too — a failure to come to a complete stop. Now look, I know. Rules are rules. And you won’t find me arguing with police officers. But living in this neighborhood for 6 (help!) years, I’ve seen a lot of drivers doing a hell of a lot worse and getting away with it almost every day. It’s the richest of irony that I would get dinged for a rolling stop just at the time when my in-laws are rolling past.
Actually, I lied before.
I wouldn’t have gotten away with it, not by any stretch of the imagination. Because my 4-year-old son was in the car with me. And if you don’t have any 4-year-olds in your life, well, let me tell you, you will never appreciate silence more than if you ever cross paths with a 4-year-old.
DADDY CAN I HAVE SOMETHING TO DRINK DADDY WHAT’S THAT GUY DOING DADDY LOOK AT THE KITTY ISN’T THAT FUNNY DADDY I THINK THERE’S SOMETHING WEIRD OUTSIDE OH IT’S JUST A BIRD THE KITTY WANTS TO EAT IT DADDY WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THE KITTY ATE THE BIRD THAT WOULDN’T BE VERY GOOD HUH DADDY HEY DADDY CAN I HAVE A POPSICLE DADDY HOW MANY MORE BITES OF MY DINNER DO I HAVE TO EAT FOR A POPSICLE DADDY I ATE MY DINNER CAN I HAVE THAT POPSICLE NOW DADDY POPSICLE DADDY DRINK DADDY WHY ARE YOU MAD
(One of these days I’m going to get one of those pitch counters that baseball umpires carry, and I’m just going to quietly keep a tally of how many times the sprout says “daddy” in a day. I mean, it’s adorable, but it’ll also make you seriously think of changing your name or of leaving the state.)
Of course, after getting pulled over by the policeman, the unstoppable monologue was more along the lines of:
DADDY WHAT DID THAT MAN WANT DADDY WHO WAS THAT DADDY WHAT’S A POLICE OFFICER DADDY DID YOU BREAK A LAW DADDY IS HE BEING MEAN TO YOU DADDY WHY AREN’T WE GOING DADDY IS HE GOING TO BE YOUR FRIEND DADDY THAT POLICE OFFICER HAS HAIR LIKE YOU DADDY WHY DIDN’T YOU STOP AT THE STOP SIGN DADDY ARE YOU GOING TO GO TO JAIL THAT WOULDN’T BE VERY GOOD DADDY ARE YOU IN TROUBLE DADDY WHAT’S A TICKET DADDY HOW MANY DOLLARS DOES IT COST DADDY CAN WE STILL GO TO THE PLAYGROUND TOMORROW DADDY CAN I HAVE A POPSICLE WHEN WE GET HOME
And I know he would have been all too happy to regale my wife with his tale, even if my in-laws hadn’t already ratted me out.
Which is why I’m here writing about it. Because we’re heading out of town today, meeting up with family on the way, and he’s going to tell the story to anybody who will listen and I just want to get ahead of the controversy.
Incidentally, while I was telling my wife that I was obviously going to have to write about this experience, I told her I’d be depriving her of the opportunity to rat me out to my own mother. “I’m totally stealing your thunder,” I told her.
To which the 4-year-old replied, faint horror rattling his tiny voice, “Daddy, are you going to thunder my mom??”
Anyway, to set the record straight, and to make sure all thunder is properly stolen (though I want to be clear: no mommies were thundered in the writing of this blarg):
Yes, I got ticketed in my own neighborhood.
Yes, my in-laws (MAMA AND PAPA) drove by while I was pulled over.
No, the police officer was not mean to me.
No, I am not going to jail.
Don’t believe anything else that 4-year-old tells you.
This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results. This week’s post was very little about process, but it made me laugh anyway — deal with it!