I thought I had finally completed all of the birthday shopping for my wife yesterday, but I was informed by my daughter that she needed to pick out her own present for her mother, so we jumped in the car after lunch and headed off to the store one last time before my wife got home from work. My son demanded that we take the convertible because he wanted to push the buttons to make the top go up and down, so we switched the car seats and left the sensible car at home.
The shopping went fairly well. My daughter was able to pick out a gift that I could afford, and my son, despite not being able to see over the top of it, managed to somehow acquire a shopping cart and run around the store with it cackling with glee without killing anyone or knocking over any displays. Our timeline was tight, so we paid for our items and bounded quickly towards the parking lot.
As soon as we arrived at our convertible, a police car pulled up in front of us, blocking our way. A second police car pulled in next to us and a third one stopped behind us, almost blocking our last chance of escape. A police officer got out of each car and walked towards us, causing me to become very nervous. Obviously the NSA had been reading my blog and did not like my writing style. We were doomed.
Imagine my slight relief when all three officers stopped at the car parked next to us and started slowly circling it, looking in all the windows and saying things into their radios. Okay, they were not after me, but what was going on in that other car? Did someone leave a child or a pet in there on a hot day? No, they would have broken the windows. Did someone lock their keys in there and then separately call three different police cars to come help them? Unlikely. Was there a bomb in the car about to go off, killing me and my family? Probably. Or maybe the car belonged to a wanted criminal who was about to exit the store and engage in a massive firefight with the police, five feet from my car. That seemed possible too.
So my nerves switched from fear of the police to fear of what had drawn the police there, and I encouraged my children to buckle in, so that we could squeeze our car out of the small opening that the police had provided us and get the heck out of Dodge. Unfortunately the top was still up, and my son had not gotten to press the button yet, and since I didn't want to engage in a lengthy argument with him at that exact second, I told him he could put the top down, but to hurry up because we had to go. He was very excited to push the button, so with the police surrounding us we slowly converted our car into an open target with no protection from villains, and when it was done I told him to buckle up.
Well, he did not want to buckle up. I explained to him that it was the law, and that there were many officers of said law in our immediate vicinity, and perhaps if he did not want to go to three-year-old jail for the rest of his life he should buckle his damn seat belt. So he tried. But we always take the other car. He is used to buckling himself in using the seat belts in the other car. These seat belts were somewhat foreign to him, and it didn't help that his father was oozing nervous energy all over him. So he got frustrated.
I'm not sure if you have ever heard my son screech at the top of his lungs before, but if you have, then you know that he has a very good set of lungs on him. He can scream, like a banshee, at such volume and high pitch, that you would swear he was being murdered by the closest available adult. A scream like that is enough to distract even the most stalwart of police officers from their important assignment, and so I tried not to make eye contact with them as I grabbed my son's buckle and snapped it in myself, much to his fury, and peeled out of there as fast as I could possibly go.
I am happy to report that the police did not pursue us, probably because they have three-year-olds as well, and that my son was immediately happy and calm as soon as we were out out of earshot and visual range of the officers. And next time I will explain to my son that when we are around police officers, we use our inside blood curdling scream.