Thursday, September 18, 2014

Big Rigs & Little Kids

Last Saturday was gorgeous. There were no clouds. No humidity and the temperature hovered right around 70 degrees.

After a week of unseasonably cold weather and another long, frigid winter staring us right in the face, it was a day for the good people of Madison, Wisconsin to get outside and absorb the last shards of summer while they still can. 

The boy enjoyed the articulated steering apparatus on the front
end loader, while its 4-foot-tall, 12-foot wide reinforced steel
shovel really agreed with my inflated sense of power. 
It was also just the kind of day I might be inclined to waste by not getting outside. 

There's a lot of football on Saturdays and while I enjoy taking advantage of beautiful weather, my lazier instincts could just as easily take over and I could find myself on my recliner at 5 pm, the sun setting and me in the midst of my third football game of the day. 

I am able to luxuriate in these moments and embrace the slothfulness of my existence. But, nowadays, there is frequently a guilt attached to these Saturdays — even if I gain the presence to cram in some measure of productivity by the end of the day.

Add in the presence of the boy and his propensity to absorb, digest and frequently regurgitate everything he witnesses and I have reason to be self conscious. 

That's where Mrs. Blackwell comes in. She's frequently got a plan of some kind and, last Saturday was no different.

So it was that we found ourselves a 30-minute drive from our home climbing atop gigantic motorized machines at an event sponsored by the city.  

There were back hoes, buses, front loaders, fire trucks, armored police SWAT vehicles, ambulances, bulldozers and dump trucks. 

The event was called "Big Rigs" and the name fit. Some of these machines were huge, many required six or seven-step ladders just to climb into the driver's seat. There were also lawnmowers that only required one step; so a complete spectrum was on display. 

Like his dad, the boy wasn't in the best spirits when we arrived but it didn't take long for him to warm up. And like any of these events, kids were everywhere, as were waiting lines.  
OK, so if your house was burning down this might not be the
two people you'd want at the wheel of the responding fire
truck. But, they're pretty cute nonetheless.

It was a noisy, happy zoo, punctuated by the inevitable loud noises. One in particular stood out. 

Stop for a moment if you will and think of how loud a fire truck horn is. It's bowel-shaking, ear-rattling and life stopping. In its own way, a fire truck horn is a very real form of power. 

Now picture with me, if you will, that power being enthusiastically and frequently exercised by any four-year who escapes mom and dad for just long enough to get behind the wheel and reach the horn. 

One of the funnier moments we ran into was thanks to Mrs. Blackwell. While the three of us were patiently waiting our turn to put the boy in the driver's seat of a city bus, a girl just skipped in front of us and sat down in the seat.

She was probably eight to ten years old — old enough to know better — and Mrs. Blackwell wasn't having it. That girl got maybe 30 seconds behind the wheel before Mrs. Blackwell, with the help of another mom who was waiting in line, let her know, it was ovah!

My wife is an extremely happy person and her face conveys this. She smiles frequently and in general exudes a sense of gentile serenity. It's a bit alarming then to see that look twisted and contorted into one of thorough displeasure. 

But, for sheer comedy, it was fantastic to see the catalyst of this transformation was a rude little girl (and not her husband). 

So, we'll be going to Big Rigs again next year, assuming there isn't a great game on TV.

No comments: