Last night there was a film crew at the Roastery, filming a short segment of a possible documentary about Carl, coffee, and the search for freedom. I brought our two daughters to the "set" so that we could see Dad get filmed. We couldn't stay since it's difficult for a seven and an eight year old to execute Absolute Silence as defined by the sound crew. We left, not knowing that the drive home was going to become the evening's entertainment.
It started mundanely enough with some Grade A Prime level whining from both Charlotte and Veronica.
Mom, I wanted to stay to watch Dad. Yes, I know you did. I'm sorry we couldn't stay. Mom, you made me leave with my roller blades on and now I have this ice cream sundae in my hand and I only have one hand left to take off my roller blades and I can't get the roller blade off and my foot is hot. I could hold the sundae for you. No, it's OK, I already got the roller blade off, nevermind. Mom, Veronica elbowed me hard and it really hurt. Veronica, please don't elbow your sister. Let's listen to the radio. How about Radio Disney? No, we don't want to listen to the radio. Veronica won't stop saying the same word over and over. It's sooo annoying (subway, subway, subway, subway....) I got an idea. Let's play 50 questions. Who wants to think of the first person? It's 20 questions, Mom, not 50, and I don't want to play. Veronica is still elbowing me."
My attempts to stop the momentum were like sticking a brittle twig into the spokes of speeding bicycle. Just then we saw a police car in the right hand lane, with lights flashing, parked behind a formerly unsuspecting motorist.
"You guys need to stop the whining or that policeman will give you a ticket for incessant whining and fighting."
"Mom, Police don't give tickets for that."
"Oh, you don't think so? Well, let's just see about that."
So I begin to maneuver from the far left lane over to the right lane where the police car is parked. My first attempts are unsuccessful, but the more C & V question if it possible to get a ticket for whining, the more determined I become to safely maneuver my car to the right lane. I feel a sense of yogic patience descend upon me. Like I could wait with my blinker on for an eternity. Maybe even in lotus position, since with my head craned over my right shoulder, watching the oncoming traffic, the position is reminiscent of a spinal twist.
The traffic thins enough for me to move over to the center lane and from there its easy to pull over one more lane and glide to a stop behind the police car. I am a bit incredulous that this charade is actually playing out, but here we go. The policeman is not visible, since he is hovering near the vehicle belonging to the detained motorist, presumably giving said motorist a ticket. An involuntary smile breaks across my face and I begin to chuckle nervously at this unlikely situation as the policeman appears, walking back towards his car, and towards ours. By the time I get my window rolled down, he and I make eye contact, and there are peals of laughter emanating out the window, mine and the girls. With each step closer to our car, my mindset changes from "What the hell have I gotten myself into" to "this is going to be fun" and I laugh harder.
As he approaches, I can see that he has now also started to grin, which makes me laugh even more. Every other time I have had a policeman walking towards the open window of my car, it has cost me over $100, so the smile is reassuring.
"It is so nice to see someone smiling and laughing, especially since the man in that car up ahead is so mad at me right now. My name is Officer Johnson. What's your name?"
"Sarah Wilson-Jones. Nice to meet you." I manage to say between giggles, while I shake his extended hand. I feel like a teenager.
But then I'm all business: "Officer Johnson, we stopped because these two children in the back of my car have been whining incessantly all the way down Chester Avenue and I told them that I would pull over and have you give them a ticket for whining and fighting with each other."
"Oh, is that so? You two have been whining?" He cranes his head in and looks at the two girls in the back seat. They simultaneously point at each other and say "She was whining." He continues to smile and laugh under his breath. He continues "Well, I have to say that your good moods have been infectious and I am no longer feeling the need to give Mr. Watkins (the detained motorist) a ticket."
I say "Yeah, go easy on Mr. Watkins. But be sure to give Charlotte and Veronica a ticket. They deserve it. We probably don't need to go as far as handcuffs, but they definitely deserve a ticket."
"OK, I'll go back to my car and write them a ticket." He says.
"But you really don't need to give one to Mr. Watkins, he didn't mean to do it."
"Yeah, I could probably let him off this time. And I guess we could give you girls another chance, too. I'll be sure to give them a ticket next time, though." He says, peeking back at the girls and smiling.
"OK, it's a deal." I respond. "Have a great afternoon, and go easy on Mr. Watkins."
"Believe me, he's going to be very thankful that you ladies stopped!"
Officer Johnson walks away, back towards his car, and I turn around and look at the girls. The laughter starts all over again. I pull back into the stream of traffic, and just as we pass Mr. Watkins car, Officer Johnson turns towards us and gives up the thumbs up sign, which I mirror back to him. Then, pulling up further, we see Mr. Watkins lean both arms out of the car and wave enthusiastically in our direction, mouthing the words "Thank you!!" The three of us waved back, laughing the rest of the way home.