Laser Tag in Traffic

Road trips.

My sons have memories of some really fun ones from New York to New Hampshire.

But with me as a single mom with three young energetic little boys, it could’ve been a real challenge to make the trip bearable. Then I had an inspiration.

All it took for me to entertain three young boys on an eight-hour drive was simple: Cheap laser tag guns that their grandfather had sent them.They were sold as a two-player game where you would have a laser tag gun and a target vest. We didn’t the vests for what I had in mind.

Since the “guns” shot infrared beams, we would keep score of how many people we could get to slow down on the interstates by shooting at their radar detectors. It worked!

Using this a night required a bit of an adjustment, though. The laser tag guns had flashing lights. So if I was driving in the dark I had them cover the lights by wrapping the gun with a towel, which also covered the speakers so that they less noisy.

Since I was paying attention to traffic, I would spot cars going over the speed limit for them. Anytime a speeder was coming our way I’d would say something like, “We have one coming up on the left! Three, two, one, GET EM!!”

… and then my sons would mercilessly fire at the speeder with their infrared laser beams of justice! Points were awarded for any vehicle that would slow down after our invisible barrage. They took turns, and whoever was not firing the laser acted as scorekeepers, so all three of them were involved.

One of the best hits we ever got was on a semi who must have gotten onto his CB radio to tell everyone else in a convoy that his radar detector had tripped. Four tractor trailers slowed down at the same time.

“….that doesn’t just count as one!” I laughed as I instructed the scorekeepers.

Time flew by, and so did the miles on that trip.

A year later my sons had a NEWER laser tag gun which they used when we took a trip from New York to Virginia. We soon discovered this gun was much, much more powerful when it did things like repeatedly open and close a distant Walmart’s receiving bay doors. And we discovered the new gun beam was not as tightly focused when we were repeatedly targeting an arrogant speeder in the interstate: it also kept setting off the radar detector for an elderly couple who were on the opposite side of our car. And we were not sure what it set off in that police cruiser, but we–ahem!–hid the gun for a while.

When the highway patrolman got off at an exit we went back to setting off the arrogant speeder’s radar detector (and, sadly, despite our best efforts the poor elderly couple kept getting the penumbra of our shots–I’m sure they thought their detector was malfunctioning.) When the arrogant speeder was gnashing his teeth and on an exit ramp we let him know he’d been had when we held up the laser tag gun where he could see it, flashing lights and all, set it off again, and grinned like mad things, laughing uproariously. When we last saw him he was shaking his fist at us.

Ah, memories.