When I was 17 years old, I was lucky enough to have my own car, or rather, “The car temporarily assigned to you” (thanks Dad). While big pimpin’ around my hometown in my ’97 Nissan Altima, I was often tasked with carting around my two younger sisters, which was fine with me as long as I got to feel the wind in my hair and listen to Mandy Moore as loud as I wanted (don’t judge me). One afternoon, Sara, who was 14 at the time, and I picked up Stacey, who was 4 at the time, from preschool. Then things got tricky.
While approaching an elementary school that had not yet let out its students for the day, I saw the crossing guard frantically waving his arms at me and motioning for me to pull over. Not being one to challenge authority, I pulled off to the side of the road in front of the school, because crossing guard = cop = prison, which is what I was thinking at the time.
The guy walks up to my window, and we have this exchange:
“Miss, how fast were you going just now?”
“Um, the speed limit, I guess…”
“Well it looked like you were speeding, and this is a school!”
“I’m sorry sir, I-”
“Who is that sitting in the back seat?”
“How would you feel if your sister back there was crossing the street after school and some IDIOT like you came speeding along and HIT her?”
“I’m sorry, I-”
“I don’t care if you’re sorry, how would you feel?!”
“I would feel very bad, sir!”
“Oooh, if I had a radar gun, I would write you a ticket so fast-”
Which is when the incredible happened. Stacey, 4 years old, from the backseat of the car, upon hearing the word “gun”, starts yelling in her little chipmunk voice:
“I’M JUST A KID! PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME, OFFICER! I’M JUST A KID!!!”
The crossing guard was so flustered after making a 4 year old think that she was about to get shot that he reluctantly waved us back onto the road without another word.
The three of us then made a pact never to tell my mom. But like the time that I threw a party in the basement while my mom was asleep two floors above us, or the time that I let someone drive my car and they backed into a cement wall, or the time that I hid bottlecaps in my bathroom drawer and claimed they were to make “bottlecap art”, everything comes out eventually.