8:58 pm

and then the cops showed up

Even the best of movers leave chaos in their wake, and today was our day for going downstairs to the garage-turned-storage to wrest control of the confusion. We'd lugged several stacks of boxes out to the tarmac, just to get some room to turn around, and a short filing cabinet, and were just about to slap a second bookshelf unit together when the back end of a police car upstaged all. I waved, I called out, but to no avail. It smacked the filing cabinet full on.

Being empty, the cabinet did no more than shift a couple of inches. Also because it was empty, the collision made a hell of a noise; much louder than my feeble, inarticulate warnings.

They had to call it in, of course. The car wasn't hurt, neither was the cabinet, no harm to anyone or anything, but the driver was in training and so not only did it have to be reported, but reported by the numbers and everything done just so. Took about twenty or thirty minutes, all told, and Nola signed off on the informal report as a witness, and we joked about how the driver had worked off her in-training luck.

It's only later, after they're gone (they seemed really nice, too, the kind of cops I want working a beat in my neighbourhood), hours later when two images jell in my mind. One is the height of the filing cabinet. The other is the height of a three-year-old.

This isn't a 'cop' issue. There's nothing special about the car being a police car that contributed to this (aside from the constant squawk of the two-way radio, that's got to be distracting as all get-out), or about the driver being trainee police. This is about the height of a sedan car's trunk, the optimal focus of the rear-view mirrors, and about a driver's responsibility to ensure that the area into which she is placing her vehicle is clear.

Do you drive a car? When you are driving, when you are backing and filling and repositioning, are you aware that your mirrors tell you only about sixty to eighty percent of what you need to know? And that's if they're positioned correctly, all of them, not just the one in the centre of the interior. There's one on the outside of both doors, and they're hell to set and keep set, but it's worth the trouble, since they'll tell you things your interior mirror cannot.

So. There's your lesson for the day. One, shit happens. You knew that, no news there. Two, most of the time, it's just an annoying escalation of paperwork when shit happens. Which is pretty much all any of us want to see. Some stuff gets walloped, big noise, there's an end to it, aside from filling out forms. What you want to avoid, is the kind of situation that you see, over and over for the rest of your life, in panoramic technicolour, just as you're dropping off to sleep each and every night for as long as you live.

So turn off that fucking cell phone, and focus those mirrors, 'kay?

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