Monday, May 21, 2012

The Great Outdoors

Some new parents, especially new dads, talk a lot about how that first drive home from the hospital was a terrifying ordeal.

They talk about how, with a child in the back seat, they viewed each and every vehicle on the road as a loaded gun, trigger cocked and aimed squarely at their vehicle; and they adjust accordingly. 

No longer is the left lane so appealing and those folks who actually drive the speed limit or a mile or two below it (people formerly known as idiots) don't seem such a nuisance anymore. 

Soon these dads begin to remark on the "sportiness" of Volvos and admire the finer points of signaling while merging.

When it comes to kids, safety and paranoia trump all other considerations while in the car and, as I've learned, everywhere else too. 

We took Master Blackwell for his first foray into the real world this weekend    the real world being a nearby Target department store.

We parked the car, got our little guy in his stroller and began walking in. An early observation I made on this inaugural venture was just how incredibly fast people in parking lots drive. It's a Target folks, I'm sure it will be here tomorrow, just settle yourselves. 

Ditto for shoppers inside the Target. As Mrs. Blackwell pushed our stroller through the aisles, I manned a shopping cart and ran interference so as to prevent collisions. Were I not there, I'm sure there would have been at least a half dozen stroller/cart crashes. Oh the humanity.

Even Target's checkout people move too fast.
Where are people going so damned fast anyways? Sure, Target has aisles like boulevards, teeming with products just begging to be bought, and is in general a consumer's paradise, but do we need to sprint like it's Supermarket Sweep?

Being the cheap penny-pincher that she is, Mrs. Blackwell said we didn't need to spend the extra $2,700 to get a stroller with airbags.

All of these thoughts, the new worldview, the irrational paranoia were first most apparent to me at Target but, of course, it didn't end there. 

In fact they reached their depths, earlier this morning. While waiting outside  our home for Mrs. Blackwell, I was holding our little guy in my arms. It was the first time I've done this outside, ever. 

So, there we stood, me and my boy, enjoying our first cool spring morning together. A light breeze shuffled through the trees and the sun shone against a perfectly blue sky. 

"That's him Officer! That's the bird that took my boy!"
And, in that sky, was a massive, massive hawk. It's wings spread broad, gliding through the air authoritatively it circled above. Then I thought what, in retrospect, might have been the most unreasonable thought to ever cross my mind: what if that damn bird swooped down and tried to get my son?

Visions of my boy being ripped from my arms by this giant flying menace, his onesie clasped in those razor-sharp talons as he was flown far, far away from me, danced through my head. One on one, I'll take that bird out, no problem. But, with junior in my hands, I didn't like my chances.

Sure, I might not have believed this was a likely scenario but nonetheless, we retreated to the garage and the comfort of the car seat. 

And, once there, I reflected on just how truly paranoid you have to be to entertain such scenarios. I chuckled to myself as I strapped my son into his car seat. And, then I noticed the car seat clasp. Was it too tight?

What about his little socks? Were they cutting off circulation to his feet? Was that empty water bottle on the floor a potential projectile? And then ( and I'm pretty sure about this) I heard the cry of a bloodthirsty hawk.


Anonymous said...

I'm truly laughing out loud. Very funny! Relax Mr. Blackwell.

dadinlaw said...

Look at all the disinfectant products! Relax indeed!