Yesterday I picked up the boys from school and as we inched our way home through traffic a police car went screaming by in the other direction, lights flashing.
“AN AMBULANCE!” Dylan cried joyously, and Riley withered him with a glance.
“No, DYLAN, it’s a—”
“A FIRE ENGINE!!!”
After we got Dylan squared away on his grasp of siren-producing vehicles, we all proceeded to have a nice long conversation about police. The entire way way home, I answered question after question as Riley hammered me, 5-year-old-Geraldo-style.
“The police are for bad guys, right?”
“Well, they catch bad guys, yes. But they also help good guys.”
“What do they to do you if you’re bad?”
“Um, well, sometimes they take you to jail. Or sometimes they just pull you over, like if you’re going too fast.”
“What they do then?”
“They write you a ticket.”
“And then you have to give them all your money, right?”
“Well, not all your money. You have to pay a fine.”
“What’s the fine for?”
“Okay, you know how when you get in trouble sometimes Mommy or Daddy sends you to your room? And you don’t like that?”
“A fine is like being sent to your room. They do it so hopefully you think about what you did wrong and you don’t do it again.”
“So then you don’t drive fast any more?”
“Right. Well, in theory, anyway.”
We chatted about jail and bad guys and traffic fines the entire way home, and just as I had turned onto 16th street and was 30 seconds from my house I saw an odd sight in the road in front of me. A guy was stepping out into the road and . . . pointing something at me? And he had a helmet on? And—
It was a cop. With a radar gun.
So we got to wrap up our nice lesson about police and traffic safety with Mommy getting a goddamned cocksucking speeding ticket.
While I sat there on the side of the road mumbling and slapping my forehead and thinking about fines and insurance premiums, the kids were going bugshit in the backseat. “A COPPICEMAN!” Dylan howled with pure glee. “AN’ HE HAS A MOTORCYCLE!”
Riley leaned forward and said, “Now you’re going to have to give him all your money, Mom! Shouldn’t have been driving too fast, right? Riiiiiight? Are you thinking about what you did wrong?”
Later, the kids ran wild in the living room “arresting” each other with their brand-new police stickers, handed over by Mr. Fucking Radar Gun himself.
Lesson learned: next time, spend drive home discussing, with great detail, how the lottery works.