Beware of days that start out well. I had a good day writing. Didn’t get a lot of words written, but I got a lot planned and felt better about this book than I had in a long time. I paid the bills, and we actually had money left over. That hasn’t happened in a year and a half. I went to the chiropractor and got my shoulders unstuck, and my son got a sucker.
So it was in this happy mood that I went to the library to return the CD version of Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin. This is definitely worth listening to as he reads it himself. And I had to pick up a collection of Flannery O’Connor short stories that Chris Fisher was talking about on his blog.
We take care of business at the library and get back into the minivan. I buckle my son in, toss all my stuff on the front seat, and close the door. I go around to get in my side.
The door is locked.
Through the window I can see all the doors are locked, but I still pull on the door handle like somehow reality will change. I can see the keys sitting on the driver’s seat, along with my purse and cell phone.
But I know my son can unlock the doors. Except that he’s strapped in his car seat. However, childproof things have never deterred him before. I tell him how to get himself out of his seat. “Just push that red button.” He pokes at it, sucker in his mouth. Then he pushes harder, but he just doesn’t have the strength to get it. We try seeing if he can unbuckle the car seatbelt and free the car seat, but he can’t reach it.
There’s no hope. I’m going to have to call and get help. But my phone’s in the car, too, so I have to leave him to go back into the library. It goes against every instinct to leave my son alone in a car while I go inside. But, I think, if someone can break into the car to steal it (and who wants a 98 minivan with 180,000 miles on it?) I could at least get my son out. So I hurry inside to try to find a pay phone. Apparently pay phones don’t exist anymore. I finally ask the librarian.
She laughs. “Oh, I don’t think it works.”
Not funny. “I need a phone. I’ve locked my keys in the car with my son. I need to call somebody.”
“Oh, I guess you can use this then.” She moves her desk phone toward me.
Gee, thanks. I can’t believe she’s not shocked or astounded. Do people routinely lock their children in the car while they’re at the library? I call Peter, who luckily is at the office and not on the other side of the valley. He tells me to call AAA. I patiently explain that my phone and purse—with my AAA card—are in the van. Now, in the interest of full disclosure here, Peter has locked himself out of that car more times than I can count, to the point that he carries a spare key in his wallet. Said spare key was what I wanted him to bring to me. We won’t mention the fact that I think that is the only spare key since I lost his whole set of keys by leaving them on the bumper of the Expedition and driving off. Never did find those things.
Anyhow, on my way back to the car, there is this guy who has been outside the library trying to get people to sign his petition. I don’t know what for, and I don’t care. He’s seen me walk by now four times and starts pestering me to sign his stupid petition.
“I’m a little busy right now.”
Oh, the things that went through my mind. I didn’t say any of them, however. Let’s just say that the next dead body in my book will be a guy that looks a lot like him trying to get people to sign a petition. I just kept walking to the van where I hoped my son wasn’t a sobbing hysterical mess. He was frowning, but I think that was because he had dropped his sucker.
So I lean my head against this really dirty window—when was the last time Peter washed this thing anyway?—and talked to him. People driving through the parking lot stared at me. What was this crazy woman doing talking to a car? A police officer drove by. I watched him, half hoping he’d stop. He didn’t. I tell my son to go to sleep, and for once in his life, he minds me.
I'm really thankful it's only the upper 60s and not 112. I start thinking which window would be the cheapest to replace and look around for a big rock. Nothing. If it were 112, I have no idea what I could use to break the window. Well, he's asleep, Peter should be on his way, and other than people thinking I’m nuts, there isn’t any problem with waiting for him to get here. Just that my daughter gets out of school in 30 minutes and since our neighbors moved, there's not a house for her to go to if I'm not home.
I’m standing against the car, with not even a book to read. I watch cars go by, looking for a white construction truck. You know how many of those are out here? About every third car.
After about 25 minutes a tow truck pulls into the parking lot. It takes me a minute to realize Peter had called AAA for me. Hmmph. Here I was looking for him, and he sent a tow truck instead.
They guy gets out with all his equipment. Then he sees my son. “Hey, if we’d known there was a kid in the car we would have gotten here in five minutes. Why didn’t you tell us?”
“I actually didn’t call. I’m guessing my husband did.” Yeah, why didn't he tell them? I'm pretty sure I would have mentioned it.
The guy gets his equipment out and starts prying open the door with this little inflatable device. Very cool, though frankly I don’t care if he rips the door off.
Then a white construction truck pulls in. Peter.
“That’s my husband,” I tell the tow truck guy.
“Does he have a spare key?”
“I don’t know.” Because at this point, I really don’t. It might have been on that set that somehow got left on the bumper of the other car.
“I might.” Peter has a keychain that weighs more than our children. But somehow he pulls the right key out the first time. The door opens. My son wakes up. The tow truck guy packs up his stuff.
I think I’m going to throw up. That Flannery O’Connor book had better be worth it.