Let’s say, hypothetically of course, that you go out to dinner on a Saturday evening. And perhaps the restaurant you go to is along a very busy six lane (three in each direction) road.
You may be in a situation where your husband is a car guy (buys and sells cars and is meticulous about car maintenance) and drove a new car to dinner. He might want you to drive it home to see how it feels. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
Not that I would know from experience, but in this situation, you could discover the car hesitating as you press the accelerator and it might eventually die as you try to pull away from a traffic light while you are positioned in the middle lane with cars speeding past you on either side. In this situation the following conversation may happen:
“Um, honey, the fuel light is on,” you say as you look at the instrument panel.
“No. That’s not possible. It showed half a tank on the way here. I mean, the fuel light came on at first, but it went off as the needle went up.”
“Well, it is possible because it’s on now and the car won’t go.”
So let’s say you’re in this situation. The police might be passing by and stop to lend a hand. Your husband tells the nice police officer that you *may* have run out of gas while being sure to mention that there *may* or *may not* be a gas gauge problem. The nice police officer will probably have to radio for another officer to bring a gas can.
And so you have to wait.
Believe it or not, I’m getting to my point.
Knowing that you have kids in the car and not knowing how long it will take the other officer to arrive with gas reinforcements, you find yourself in a situation for which you were not prepared: Sitting in the middle of the road with no place to go with kids getting antsy in the car.
What do you do?
If I were in that situation (not that I necessarily ever have been), I would start a story around the circle. I begin telling a story and we go around the circle and each person adds a little bit to the story. You just let it take whatever twist the next person adds to it. So you might start off the story with, “One night, a family was stuck in the middle of the road in a car that wouldn’t start…” The story will likely end with something like, “… and the dragon went to sleep. And that’s the end.”
I really do love telling stories around a circle. It encourages our imaginations and helps develop speaking skills. It’s great when trying to stay distracted in the car as well as around a campfire when trying to keep little hands away from said fire (not that I’ve ever been in that situation either). But all in all, it’s a good idea to have in your back pocket for those times that you need a distraction when you are completely caught off guard and unprepared.
So, you know that hypothetical situation I described above, well, just to tie it up with a nice little bow, I’ll see if I can finish the story for you.
When the other police officer arrives, you might look in your rear-view mirror and see that it is taking two police cars with lights on to get you going again and that everyone that is passing by is taking a really good look at you in the car. And as you look in your rear-view mirror you would probably see one officer carrying a gas can to put gas in your car - your car-guy has never run out of gas before meticulous about car care husband’s car – in front of God and the whole world to see. In this situation you might just start laughing hysterically.
I’m just sayin’.
And in this case, you will be very glad that you didn’t have a beer with dinner because you are fully expecting the officer to say, “Ma’am, would you please step out of the car for a breathalyzer test?”
So once the police officer has put some gas in your car and you discover that with some gas the car does indeed start, he might suggest that you drive directly to the gas station just up the road and on the right.
“Yes, sir,” is probably all you would be able to say in response.
But, if you ever find yourself in this situation, you now know how to keep yourself and your kids distracted and entertained with no preparation needed.
That’s what works for me…. again, hypothetically speaking, of course.