Monday, September 01, 2008

I'm a criminal

The other day I took Jean-Alexandre and Nicolas with me to get some jeans and shoes for Jean-Alexandre and some school supplies that were missing for some of the others. It was late afternoon, and Nicolas fell asleep in the car on our way to the shoe store. So, it being late afternoon, and not wanting to wake him up unnecessarily, I decided to park in the shade, and let him sleep. I parked next to the door and was only gone for ten minutes. I even sent Jean-Alexandre back before me, once he had chosen the shoes, while I stayed behind to pay.

As I pulled out of the store's parking lot and was driving down the street, I got pulled over by the police.

"What?!" I think to myself,"I'm sure I did my stop, I didn't run a red light, and I am definitely NOT speeding."

TWO police officers (not just one) walk up to my windows, one on either side. I role down my window for the one on my side.

"Youv'e just been shopping at Yellow?" He asks.

"Yes."

"We had a call..." he says.

"Oh great," I think, "someone stole something and they think it was me.?"

"You left your baby alone in the car, with the windows up while you went shopping?"

"I was parked in the shade and I was in there for 5 minutes!" I say. (Always better to make it a bit less than more right?)

"You NEVER leave a baby in a car alone! That's just not done. It's against the law!"

Oh well, that I didn't know. I figured some things are an obvious given, without being an actual law. Like you don't throw your child off a cliff, but there is no actual law that I know of that says it is illegal in Canada to throw your child off a cliff. However it IS illegal to kill your child, which pretty much covers throwing it off a cliff. So I figure it is pretty much common sense not to leave your child sleeping in a car, at midday, in the middle of a large parking lot, while you go shopping for an hour or two. I figure, if you do this and your child dies of dehydration, you could be charged with criminal negligance. On the other hand, if you are just popping in and out, it is late afternoon, it's not very hot out, you are parked in the shade, and you are close to the doors, you can easily get away with it. Unless, of course some meddling got-nothing-better-to-do-than-make-trouble person happens to see the baby peacefully sleeping in the car and calls the police.

So then the officer wants to see my driver's licence and the registration and insurance for the car. I hand him my licence and the insurance and start hunting in the glove compartment for the registration.

"This insurance is outdated." He tells me.

Oops. "I guess my husband didn't give me the new one." I say, starting to get flustered. Until this point, I was extremely annoyed but not flustered. So I continue hunting through the glove compartment, muttering excuses, until I finally find the registration and lo and behold...

"Here's the insurance, this one's up to date." It was right in there with the insurance. Looking at who the insurance is made out to, Iguazu Inc, reminds me that I'm actually in Marc's company car, which means that the expired insurance was not even actually the insurance for the right car anyway.

Both officers leave, and the one comes back a few minutes later. "Your son was taken to hospital in an ambulance a few years ago in 2005." He tells me in a severe, accusing voice. "Does this mean anything to you?" I inwardly roll my eyes. Now he is trying to scare me.

"Not that one." I tell him. I figure I probably don't sound very repentant. Probably because I am not.

"How many children do you have?"

"Five"

"Then you should know better."

As I am still not admitting anything he continues, asking me something about if I am repentant or not.

"I won't do it again." I tell him. No, you can be sure that I will not do it again. (At least, not with that car, where it is too easy to see a baby peacefully sleeping. The van on the other hand, has tinted windows... nah, better not take chances.) Not because I'm sorry. I'm not. I'd do it again. But who knows what other meddling busybody would happen by again... I probably wouldn't get off so easily a second time.

"Ok." He gives me back my licence and other papers.

You know, if I happened across a baby alone in a car, parked in the middle of a parking lot, at midday, in the heat, with no shade and windows rolled up, I might wait around for 10-15 minutes. I might check to see if the baby was sweating profusely. I wouldn't call the police unless the baby seemed to be suffering and noone seemed to be coming back for it. That's in the worst of cases.

If I happened along a baby sleeping peacefully in a car, in the shade, at the end of the day, saw that he was close to the doors of a small boutique, so the mother isn't far and likely not gone for long, I wouldn't even bother hanging around to see if she came back or not within 10 minutes. I certainly would not call the police. Even if it IS against the law now. Hey if you NEVER leave a baby alone in the car, does that mean I have to wake the poor thing up every time I need to pay for the parking or pay for gas, or run in and leave a key? Gosh, aren't we getting a little ridiculous?

I can see why when you make a law, you don't write in the law, "unless you are not going very far, nor for very long and you are parked in the shade and it isn't hot and..." But gosh, people, do you have to STILL call the police? The officers have to respond. No matter if the baby was ok. So while I am annoyed with him for getting all paternalistic on me, I am still more annoyed with the meddlesome busybody who called him over in the first place.

Whatever. I'm an unrepentant criminal.