excuse me… but I know something obvious I need to tell you

If you are sitting in your car (granted, parked on a sidewalk but that’s where people park here) and someone knocks on your window, it’s safe to say it’s a little scary. At the very least startling.

Tonight Kaitlyn and I were outside her AWANAS meeting when just that happened. I was paying no attention to what was going on outside my parked and turned off car because Kaitlyn and I were busy writing something. She had climbed into the front seat with me so we could accomplish our task. I nearly jumped out of my skin (or at least my coat) when I heard the sharp knocking on my window. My first thought was that someone was pissed I had parked in front of their house. Then I thought the old man standing outside my car was mad I was on the sidewalk… in a line of 4 or 5 cars. Then I thought, well it’s an old man and maybe he needs something. And even though I had no chance of really being able to offer help, I rolled down my window.

He leaned in and rattled off I have no idea what. I apologized for not speaking French very well and asked him if he could please repeat himself. He seemed annoyed and this time offered up his words of wisdom in broken English. It’s dangerous for a little girl to ride in the front seat and especially without a seat belt on.

Of course, I’d agree with his statement. But we were in a parked car. Going nowhere. And, besides, does this man pay any attention to what others are doing while actually driving? Big families and small cars mean someone has to sit in the front seat and it’s usually a kid not much older or bigger than Kaitlyn. Babies more often than not ride in the front seat. (Yes, most of the cars on the road pre-date air bags, but it still seems like a bad idea to put your baby in the front seat.) I saw one car that did earn a point for having the baby’s car seat in the back… but lost that point because the seat was like a giant bassinet with nothing that resembled a safety device. Yet this old man thought he’d point out to me the dangers of what I wasn’t in fact doing.

On the spot, I couldn’t think of a thing to say to the guy. I told him (in English) “but we aren’t going anywhere.” Like an hour later I thought of what might have been an acceptable answer in French. (That’s true if you’re moving but I’m sitting here.) I guess it just goes to show that old people everywhere think that living to a certain age gives them the right to tell others what to do. May I never do that. (Oh, wait, I already do)

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