Tasking the Child

One of the joys of having children is that you can assign them a task and send them off to perform it. Most of the time it is rather simplistic and the task gets completed perhaps not with brevity but requires no intervention on the part of the adult and so it is deemed a success. Other times the task seems straightforward to an adult but gets derailed mid stream as the child does not possess certain key facts. Facts that a father foolishly assumed would have been absorbed by the child in the course of his decade on earth. Facts that the father wishes he had imparted to his child prior to sending him forth on a seemingly simple assignment. Facts that will inevitably be learned the hard way for both father and son.

The middle child was turning nine and as is customary during the week of one's birthday, he is entitled to select a restaurant for a birthday meal. Being a fan of one-dish, calorie-packed meals and possessing a proclivity toward extreme casual in both wardrobe as well as dining options, the child chose Chipotle. And just to be certain he didn't step over the line into fancy territory, the meal would be carry-out.

There would be seven of us sharing this dining experience and Wife had the good sense to order it online. Me, Birthday Boy and his ten and a half year old brother drove with windows down in pleasant temperatures to retrieve our order and left all four windows down when we entered the food establishment. While standing at the register waiting for our pre-ordered meal to be assembled, we turned to find that the previously sunny sky was now dark and unleashing a punishing rain. Water from a thousand swimming pools was assaulting the parking lot and the open windows of our vehicle.

I pulled the key from my pocket and handed it to the eldest child and said, "go roll up the windows." He was already wearing a bathing suit so it seemed like a reasonable expectation that he should be the one to bear the brunt of the drenching. He took the key from my hand, looked at me with steely determination and without a moment of hesitation headed out in the deluge to prevent the Jeep from becoming a bathtub.

What should have been a quick and effortless task deteriorated into chaos. Buckets of rained poured down while the child fumbled about the vehicle. The headlights flashed on and off, the door was sitting wide open and the windows refused to defy gravity. Seconds ticked by and my ability to live in denial reached limits. He was failing and no amount of moisture was going to impart divine wisdom unto the child and turn the tide in my favor. I was forced to take reluctant action.

Upon reaching the vehicle, he indicated the buttons on the key weren't doing anything. I assured him the headlights were flashing as he repeatedly locked and unlocked the doors. It simply hadn't occurred to me that the child didn't know the key needed to be inserted into the ignition and turned one click to allow the windows to go up. He has thoroughly inspected, discussed and pressed every button and twisted every knob in the Jeep and he has even seen Back to the Future but apparently he never correlated energizing the circuits with accessory functionality.

We re-entered the restaurant, picked up our food and returned to the vehicle. In the eight steps it took to get from the front door to the damp comfort of the Jeep, the paper food bags soaked through and were rendered useless. As we exited the parking lot, the Birthday Boy said he thought about mentioning rolling up the windows when we went in to get the food because two big raindrops had splattered on the windshield on the way over. The elder boy said it would have saved us a lot of trouble had he done so. I replied that it wouldn't have mattered because even if he did suggest we roll up the windows, I would have overruled the notion with my years of meteorological prowess and offered assurance that rain was not imminent and we would have landed in the same predicament.

I am certain windows will be left down at some point in the future amidst torrential downpours and it shall be my simple task to only do so when driving a vehicle without electric windows.