Dear Woman in the Target Parking Lot,
You’re famous, you know. Police blotter famous, that is.
Our suburban weekly newspaper titled your blurb “Suspicious” and described what happened in four sentences. Just after midnight, an officer spotted your vehicle in the Target parking lot. You were watching TV and drawing while sitting in your vehicle. You said you needed a break from being in your home. You were advised to go home.
Your escapade made the rounds among my friends, all of us questioning each other, sometimes in private texts and other times on Facebook. Was it you? Well, I do love Target. Was it you? It easily could have been except I don’t draw. Was it you? No, if it were me, there would have been alcohol involved. We made assumptions about the situation, all of us presuming the officer was male and that you, the questioned woman in the vehicle, was a mom.
You are a mom, right? If you needed a break from home, presumably, you needed some time away from something living, breathing, and putting unreasonable demands on your time and energy. Husband? Kids? Pets? What put you over the edge? Was it how loudly your husband chewed his dinner? Was it a long day of supervising the kids’ at-home learning when all three of them had tests? Was it the 781st time you wiped down the kitchen counter that day? Was it your discovery that someone left a load of wet laundry in the washer for, hmm, judging from the smell, at least three days?
Some of us expressed indignation at the officer for disturbing your peace. How dare he(?) disrupt your private moment of zen! What he should have done, we declared, was offer you some support, perhaps in the form of chocolates, a warm blanket, or maybe some comfy slippers.
Not that it’s super important, but what kind of vehicle did you drive to Target? Was it a mini-van, scented with crushed Cheerios and melted fruit snacks? Maybe it was a hybrid SUV, with the driver seat reclined to a horizontal position, A/C on, your legs outstretched over the dashboard.
What were you watching when the officer spotted you? Were you binge-watching the latest season of a favorite show, phone ringer off, grateful for the uninterrupted time from family, free from arguments over the remote control? Did you have snacks? Next time, may I suggest a large bag of Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn? I happen to know they carry this at Target. The 6.75 oz. bag will set you back $3.79. The party size bag, at 9.5 oz, is only a dollar more, but unless you’re starving, it’s more than you’ll need. Be sure to have some wipes on hand, since you’ll get cheesy powder on your fingers, and you don’t want to ruin your drawing.
Speaking of that, what were you drawing? Did you have a notepad or journal, perhaps one all your own, not the battered remnants of a spiral notebook half-filled with algebra equations, its wire sticking out of the top, snagging your sweater?
Also, why Target? Why not, say, Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s? Maybe it was the expanse of the Target parking lot you found alluring, the deep and wide stretch of blacktop with just a few overhead parking lot lights illuminating the area and nothing near you but a few shopping cart corrals.
I have so many questions for you. And just one more.
Want to be friends?