Friday, March 6, 2009

Random Acts of Stupidity

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

We've all done something stupid. Some of us have a longer and more elaborate list to share; but no one is immune. I don't say this to excuse my own moments when my intelligence seems to be taking a nap. I just say it to preface my explanation so that you might remember that you too could easily have been in my shoes.

My "Oh, Shit!" might mirror one of your own, in which case there are a pair of us to roll our eyes in synchronicity, sigh, and give ourselves up to the inevitable criticism of those who portend to love us and support us. Why is it that those who love us most are the first to laugh at us (not with us) and never let us live it down when we wake up with "the dumb" and can't "brain" the way we should?

This is my story.

A lovely, late evening. Cold, crisp, clear...the moon so bright in the night sky that no porch light was needed to guide me and my son to the car. Eight o'clock...with my mother-in-law jaunting behind with the baby bag, I pointed up to the sky and diverted my son's attention from leaving grandma's house. He said it sweetly and clearly, "Moon." Awww...

I unlocked the passenger door so I could hit the automatic unlock for the back door and put him in his carseat. I placed my keys out of the way, like I often do, in the door handle so I could buckle him safely in. For all those non-readers out there...this is foreshadowing. You should now have a sense of foreboding and should probably have a vague prediction about what is about to happen.

I closed the door and heard a resonating "Click".

"Oh, Shit."

But, rather than freaking out like I normally would, I was calm. I could think of no other solution than to call my husband to bring me his set of keys. The problem? He is a reserve police officer and he was on duty. The other problem? My cell phone was locked in my car.

So, I borrowed my mother-in-law's phone and called him, only to interrupt his dinner with, "Honey?" (Spouses always open a conversation in which they've done something stupid or potentially fight-worthy with a term of endearment in the form of a question.)

"Honey...we have a problem."
"I locked my keys in my car..."
"...and the baby's inside."

Why is it that when you tell a loved one you've done something stupid they always make you repeat it?

"Do you have one of my car keys with you?"
"Can you bring it to me?"

He took a minute or two to explain my stupidity to his FTO officer and sounded rather exasperated.

"Is your car running?"
"So it's cold inside."

He didn't say it as a question...but as a needle jabbed into my wound of parental inadequacy.

"Okay, we'll be there as soon as we can."

So, not only have a locked my son in the cold, cold car, I've interrupted my husband's dinner. Guilt is now added to my stupidity, creating a lovely cocktail of embarrassment. I'm wondering if he'll show up with his siren blaring and his lights flashing to add horror and shame into the mix.

My mother-in-law and I stood outside the car, talking to and making faces at my son, who appeared to be affected very little by the evening's turn in activity. He yawned several times and played with his own feet. He didn't seem to be judging me...yet. He just seemed confused over the fact that we kept standing outside when I'd just promised him (bribed him) we were going home to see his puppies (it's how I get him to leave willingly without throwing a fit).

Several cars came and went. Finally, the police arrived.

Now, I've had very few dealings with the police. In fact, I can count them on one hand: one wagged his finger at me as I almost ran a stop sign when I was 16, a few showed up to a high school party and told us all to go home, one showed up to take my statement after someone hit my car in a mall parking lot, one banged on my college apartment door in the middle of the night, mistaking my apartment with the noisy one next door, and one pulled me over for a speeding ticket (my very first at age 31).

So, even though it was my husband, maybe you'll understand that there was an air of illicitness about the whole thing. I suddenly got the panicky tingles, like I'd done something very wrong. I apologized profusely and played down my stupidity with a goofy, guilty smile. My husband unlocked the car and opened up the door to my check on him and, I suppose, make sure I hadn't killed him in the process of being dumb. I apologized to his FTO officer...who was riding shotgun.

"He even had to call his sergeant to tell him he was leaving so far out of the normal patrol area."


Suffice it to say, I know I will not be living this down for quite some time.


bluemoonali said...

Don't feel too bad. It is on every parental "will experience" list for child rearing. Even my mom did it when I was about 6 months old. January, below freezing weather, car running outside the drug store. And this was back long before remote key-less entry or auto-lock. She said I just fell asleep and didn't seem to mind the wait as she had to call the police to jimmy the door.

Melissa said... mom did it, too. My dad had to bring her the keys and the MPs showed up.