Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Melissa and the Police Car

An evening that started with a simple quest to take my 18-year old daughter Melissa to vote in her first presidential primary, ended with said daughter riding in the back of a police car.

But wait, I digress. Let's start at the beginning.

I left work without incident and proceeded to the drug store to pick up a few things. Upon my return to the car, I called Melissa to let her know I'd be there in ten minutes to take her to our local polling place.

Ho Hum. Still sounds like a fairly uneventful evening, right?

But wait...the plot thickens.

The familiar ding from my cell alerted me to an incoming text from our local police department, informing residents of a road closure thanks to a downed power line.

A storm had rolled through a few hours earlier so the news of a downed power line did not come as a total surprise. What did come as a surprise was the location of the downed line....on the road that I call home.

I called Melissa (while stopped at a red light) and asked her to go outside to see what had happened. Indeed, she informed me of a large police and fire department presence on our street. In fact, one of the officers gave her a friendly warning to stay away from the power lines. She asked the officer if I would be able to get onto our street, which can be accessed from two different crossroads, let's call them "Road A" and "Road B".

The officer confidently informed her that I would absolutely be able to turn onto my street from "Road B".

The officer lied.

I approached "Road B", only to find my path blocked by several representatives from the fire department.

I tried to explain that I lived on the closed road.

I tried begging.

I tried pleading.

I finally gave up.

Forced to turn around, I made my way back to "Road A", hoping this route would lead me onto my closed street.

At the intersection of "Road A" and the road I call home, several official looking people glared at passing motorist, just daring them to break through the barricade. When I dared turn my car onto the road I call home, the group of those official looking people held out their hands and demanded, "Where do you think you are going!?"

"I live on this road," I explained. "My address is 245."

They waved me through, but my luck did not last long.

I drove about a block, only to be greeted by a barricade, a number of uniformed police officers, and, much to my surprise, another car trying to get through. A car belonging to my husband Bob, who coincidentally had arrived home from work at the same time.

Bob made a u-turn, pulled up next to me, and rolled down his window.

"Lisa, they won't let us through, we have to go all the way back around to "Road B" to get to our house," he said.

"I just did that," I shared with exasperation. "They wouldn't let me through."

One of the police officers, overhearing our conversation, walked over and assured me that I would, indeed, be able to get through if I drove back around to "Road B".

"But I'm trying to pick up my daughter and go vote," I pleaded once again. "Can't I just drive through and get her."

"I'm sorry ma'am, the downed lines are right there, I can't let you through," came his firm response.

"Well, can't my daughter walk up the road to meet me here," I logically suggested.

"NO!" came his even firmer response. "It's not safe, we can't let anyone walk through."

Then the police officer very calmy said, "Everything is ok right now, but just as a precaution we evacuated 249 and 247, the two houses next to your house."



Did he just say "evacuate"?

Suddenly everything had changed!

Even though the police officer had uttered the words, "everything is ok", what my deranged, over-protective mommy brain heard was, "MY HOUSE IS ABOUT TO GO UP IN FLAMES WITH MY DAUGHTER ALONE INSIDE."


"Ma'am, I can't let you drive down the street, but everything is ok for now."


"Ma'am really everything is ok."


I didn't care that I was screaming at a man of authority. It didn't occur to me for even a fraction of a second that I probably shouldn't give hysterical orders to a police officer who had the power to cart me off to jail.

My one thought.  My one and only thought. I MUST GET MY BABY TO SAFETY.

In the meantime, my "oh so calm" husband did not share my sense of urgency. "Lisa, stay calm, it's alright, everything is ok," came his attempt to comfort his lunatic wife. An attempt that went completely ignored because nothing stands in the way of a mother trying to rescue her child.

Finally, the police officer consented, realizing that it would be much safer to go get Melissa than to deal with her deranged mother.

He drove the short block to my house and pulled into the driveway where my cherub stood peacefully waiting. She happily climbed into the back seat and sent Snapchat photos to document her cool, albeit short ride.

And that's how an evening that started with our quest to vote ended with my daughter in the back of a police car.

The moral of the story? Don't ever take for granted your right to vote....even if downed power lines get in your way.  (Yes, we did finally make it to the polls.)

And don't ever, ever, ever stand in the way of a deranged mother!

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