Saturday 30 June 2007

Police at the Door

Last summer (Abigail was 2.5 years old) I was upstairs at the top of the house getting dressed for work. It was early (6:30 am). I looked out the window to see a police car driving up our lane. Our lane is a small dirt track which serves just the 4 cottages that back on to the Crown Estate. There is no reason for the police to do a drive by. So I wondered who called the police. And why.

A police officer parked the car just outside our driveway, got out of the car and started to walk up the path to our back door. I yelled at Marc that the police were here. He yelled back, "What? I thought you said the police were at the door." "They are", I replied.

I ran downstairs putting on my dressing gown (robe) as I went. I realised when I reached the ground floor that the children were up and quite merrily watching morning cartoons on the television. A policewoman was just knocking on the door when I reached the kitchen.

I pulled open the door fearing the worst: a body was found in the lane or some such horror flick scenario. She asked me "Everything ok here?"

"Well, if you don't count the fact that it is 6:30 am and there is a police officer at my door, I think everything is just fine and dandy." I hesitated.

"It's just that we had a 999 emergency call from this address about 45 minutes ago and we've tried to ring back numerous times but the number is engaged (busy). As a matter of course, we visit to ensure everything is ok" the police woman replied.

I thought well isn't that nice. "But no one called 999 from here" I countered.

"Do you have children?" she asked with a smile on her face.

"Yes, but they are watching television." I replied

"How long have they been doing that?" OK, now this is a tough question. If I admit that I'm not really sure because they got themselves up out of bed, came downstairs, and turned the television on, does that make me a bad mom? Is this an arrestable offense?

"I'm not exactly sure", I hedge.

She requests that I check all the phones in the house. The ground floor phone is ok but there is clearly no dial tone. I go up to the landing on the first floor and find the phone is just resting on the telephone table and has not been hung up properly. I hang it up and return to the kitchen.

Meanwhile, Abigail has engaged the police woman in conversation which is making me a bit nervous. I ask Abby "Have you been playing with the phone?"

Since Abigail hadn't quite yet learned to lie she turns to the police officer. "Yes!" she giggles and runs away.

I proceed to apologise profusely for wasting the time and resources of the emergency services. I offer that if they would like to lock up Abigail to teach her a lesson they should feel free. The police officer laughed. I was only half joking.

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