There are times in life when…
Aww, we’ll skip the philosophical and I’ll just tell you what happened.
Last Wednesday, I traveled to Perry, Ga with a group from UGA – there were 5 of us who were judging entries to the fair from FFA students. We were compensated for our time with day passes into the fair and a parking pass – a blue parking pass that you hang on the rear view mirror of your vehicle. We were also given a free night in a local hotel but that story is for another blog. 🙂
Now, the thing about those parking passes, they empower you just a bit which isn’t a problem if you actually know what you’re doing. But if you don’t, well…
After driving for 2.5 hours on Friday, the girls and I finally arrived at the Perry Fair – the state fair, the biggest one, the one I’d never been to before – except for that breif couple hours on Wednesday when someone else drove and knew what they were doing.
I followed the signs to the entrance and got in line behind other cars. We noticed the men in their orange vests, the orange cones out in the field, the orange wands they were waving that told you where to go in that field that was so far from the entrance to the fair.
But as soon as they saw that blue parking pass hanging in full sight from my rearview mirror, these guys perked up and began to wave those orange wands in a different direction – straight ahead and closer to the entrance. I sat a little straighter in my seat, smiled, and nodded my head knowingly as I passed by.
I was humbled immediately as I slowed to look at the expanse of parking lots that lay before me. Those guys in the orange vests with the orange wands might know where I was supposed to be going but I had not a clue!! So, I put down my window and asked…
After repeating the directions back to the guy in the orange vest (sorry, it’s habit after having my children do it back to me when I give instructions!) I started to drive forward praying that the confused look on my face wasn’t evident to every man in the orange vest that we passed. After all, I had that blue parking pass.
After circling a few times, I stopped and asked another orange vested man if I was in the right area where other blue pass cars were allowed to park.
He told me yes, I was in the right area. (I looked around at my nay-saying girls with that motherly look of “And why do you continue to doubt me?”)
“However”, he continued, “this parking lot is full and there are no more spots. See all these people? They’re vendors taking goods to their booth.”
A small light went off. Here was a clue about this blue parking pass – they were for vendors!
I folded under the pressure of the eyes of my children and the disappointment of not being able to park here.
Sheepishly I said, “Sir, I’ve never been to the Perry Fair and I have no idea where I’m to park.”
“Well, where do you want to go?”
“To the animal barns. We have a lot of video and photography equipment we need to unload.”
“OH! Well those are clear on the other side of the fair…” He gave me that confused look of “…and why are you at this spot and how the heck did you get that pass anyway!?”
I thanked him after he pointed me in the right direction and I headed for the exit, slinking down a bit as I passed the orange vested guys who had confidently waved me ahead past the other cars parking in the field.
I found the correct entrance for the barns and turned in. Same look and attention from these orange vested guys with the orange wands when they noticed my blue parking pass hanging from the rearview mirror. “Come ahead. Don’t park out here in this expansive field, miles away from the entrance. You just keep driving that van with the blue parking pass, ma’am.” I’m just sure that’s what they were thinking!
By now I was looking for, and following, the “vendor” signs and finally made it to the entrance booth. A police officer stopped us to make sure we were worthy of the blue pass hanging from the rearview mirror. I began to squirm just a little hoping he wouldn’t ask me any tough questions. But I had a strategy to protect myself. Before he could ask any difficult questions, I would ask one first!
“Hello, you coming to the fair?”
Oh, this one was easy -“Yes, sir”
“Do you have your passes?”
Okay, I got this one too – “Yes….but I did have a question for you.” My strategy!
“Well, sir, do you know if I can purchase a two-day pass? You see, I need to come back tomorrow and I didn’t want to hand over the passes till I could find out if I can get a two day pass.”
“How many do you have in the car?”
“There are 5 of us in here.”
“And are any of them under the age of 10?”
“Yes sir, 1.”
“Well, I don’t know if they do sell two-days passes…”
I had my arm resting on the edge of the van door. It was at this point that I began to feel this annoying little tapping on my wrist but I really didn’t focus on it because I was intent on figuring out this two-day pass deal.
“Is there anyone else that might know?”
“Now how many are over the age of 10 in your van?”
This officer was trying to trip me up, I just knew it! I had to really think and I realized that tapping was continuing on my wrist but I was distracted with this last question.
“There are 4 over 10 and 1 under 10.” Phew, I got it right!
This incessant tapping was beginning to get to me but I was determined not to lose my focus. I finally heard Lauren say, “Mom, look!”
I glanced down at my wrist. The officer had been “body pounding” me with the day passes!
“Mom, he’s trying to give you back the number of passes we need to get in here tomorrow!”
The officer began to chuckle and in a smart alec kind of tone said to Lauren, “Hey, you may need to help your mom be a little bit more aware!”
And I said….
Well, let me digress here for just a moment to give some background.
I’ve had small children – 6 to be exact and that doesn’t include the myriad of other children that I’ve taken care of. From a very young age, those children start “body pounding.” Think about it – when they start crawling, they head straight for your feet and start pounding on the tops of them, looking up and repeating this behaviour till we finally get it and pick them up. Then they start to walk, and they want to show you something and they head for your knee caps and start pounding until you look down at them and look at what they’re trying fervently to show you. As they grow older and get taller, the pounding just continues up the body! The thighs, the stomach, the…
“I know it’s squishy but that’s just not appropriate!” And then they start pounding you on the arm. If you have multiple children at multiple heights, you could be body pounded all over at one time all day long!! Scary thought…I should know 🙂
Anyway, after 21 years of “body pounding”, I have finally earned my degree in “Impervious to Body Pounding.” Oh, and the word “impervious” is perfect- look at the definition:
1. not permitting penetration or passage
2. incapable of being injured or impaired
3. incapable of being influenced, persuaded or affected
So you see, that police officer didn’t have any idea who he was messing with when he was continuously tapping my wrist with those day passes. I was a veteran of “body pounding”, a 21 year vet!
After his little comment to Lauren, I turned to look at him, calm, composed, and I grinned. “Umm, Officer, sir, I have 6 kids and this wrist tapping doesn’t mean a thing to me.”
His lips smacked shut and he stared at me, a look of respect slowly creeping across his face. The condescending tone was replaced with a humbleness, “Well, that would explain it!”
I graciously thanked him for his kindness and drove away into the vast expanse of parking lot, our blue parking pass still dangling from the rearview mirror.