My daughter assured me that she was fine dressed in her 1880s prairie dress which she uses to pretend she is Mary or Laura or an unknown pioneer girl out on the prairie trying to make her way breaking up sod and battling grasshoppers. She was going to be fine in her red calico with white overdress and didn't need to change before hand. Besides, we could all stay in the car so it wouldn't matter any way!
Yeah, except when we got there we saw that everyone had to get out of their cars and go to a little room while the car was tested. Uh oh... I reassured my daughter that she could still get away with going around town in dress up clothes, depending on the clothes, and it would be OK.
My son meanwhile was cracking up and thought the imminent embarrassment of his sister was hilarious. My daughter actually laughed too and took it in stride.
Turns out we didn't have to get out of the car. Instead, the creepy worker guy let me get out and sit in back while he sat in the driver's seat and conducted the test. He went on to insult the quality of our car and then said weird rambling things that we all couldn't quite make out.
I asked the kids what they thought of him as we left and they told me he was creepy. My daughter described him as having milky blue eyes (descriptive!). My son asked what was wrong with him which led to a lengthy discussion about creepiness, instincts and feelings about people, social awkwardness vs. malicious intent, not being afraid to hurt feelings or offend anyone to keep yourself safe, having the right to not get in an elevator or cross the street or stay with a crowd of people if someone makes you feel creeped out. I told my kids to trust their feelings and instincts.
We talked about why someone might be socially awkward. Why someone might not like people. And then my son fished out my husband's aviator sunglasses from the compartment in the dashboard and put them on.
My son as he looked in the mirror in the sun visor said, "Hey! I look really cool in these! I look like a BUG!! These are so cool."
Some time later after more self-admiring and tilting his head this way and that, he said, "I look like a bug--AND THAT'S AWESOME!!"
A teen sitting in the passenger seat of an oncoming car caught sight of my son and dropped his mouth open and stared as his head pivoted to get more of a view. My son thought this was hilarious and so did my daughter and I and we all laughed and laughed.
Who says running errands can't be fun?