Back when it was warmer, some friends and I were sitting in the outdoor seating area at a restaurant. It was a pleasant evening, the wine and the conversation both flowed smoothly, and I was beginning to relax. A full work day in four inch heels is no joke, and it takes a while to (sorry about the pun) come down from it (sorry again).
Through the calm, warm air cut the screech screech screech of a car alarm. My friends and I looked over at the parking lot beside the restaurant and saw a very harassed set of parents, the mother trying to shepherd their kids into a minivan while the father pointed his keys at the van and pressed a button over and over, to no avail. The alarm just kept on going. Conversation became nearly impossible, so the entire outdoor seating area watched the increasingly frantic attempts by the father to get the car alarm to shut off while the mother tried to keep the kids from running off despite the ear-splitting racket. We were all rooting for the kids.
Finally, the father got the car alarm turned off. We all sighed with relief and returned to our conversations. I’m sure we were having discussions of great weight and moment about world peace and the crisis in the Middle East, but alas, they had been irremediably disrupted. So we fell back on discussions of Britney Spears and the crisis in Los Angeles, which to be honest is probably what we had been talking about in the first place.
Just when we were getting to the heart of the problem, that same car alarm started up again. Apparantly, one of the children had tried to make a break for it and, after the parents had finally gotten the child back in the car, they set off the car alarm again when the parents tried to get in. Another ten minutes of incessant clamor, another set of Mom’s daily exercises of chasing the kids and trying to get them to sit still. Eventually, blessedly, at last, Dad managed to turn off the car alarm for his own vehicle and everyone got in to drive away–but not before the entire audience in outdoor seating broke into applause, led by the table at which sat yours truly, proposing a toast. I love dinner theater.
It wasn’t until some fifteen minutes later that it occurred to us that they might have been breaking into someone else’s car and that that’s why they had so much trouble disabling the alarm. You don’t think, do you? It was awfully dark, and it really did take a surprisingly long time. Imagine if they were a family of criminals, albeit fairly inept criminals, and we just gave them a rousing cheer when they finally finished committing their crime! Oh, well, I suppose we all need a pat on the back sometime.