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I choose to believe it's a sign

Caped crusaders turn up in the unlikeliest places — for example, in the parking lot of the grocery store.

I saw Batman at the grocery store last weekend.

No, he was not foiling a robbery, averting a fender bender, or helping an old woman ferry five cases of cat food to her car. And, no, he was not tall, dark, mysterious, or forbidding.

He was about four years old, shivering in the 30-degree chill as he waited for his father to unlock the pickup truck.

It went like this: As I pulled into a parking space, I saw that there were a man and a boy approaching the adjacent space. I thought, That kid needs a coat! It's below freezing. And then I saw something fluttering from his shoulders, and assumed he'd simply gotten too warm and mostly shucked his jacket.

But it wasn't a jacket, I quickly discerned. It was a cape. A flimsy-looking black cape stitched to his white T-shirt at the shoulders.

And when he turned around to face me, I saw the bat logo carefully painted across the chest of his shirt.

And I shrieked, I know I shrieked. "Eeeeeee," I believe I said. "Ouch," I believe Paul said, as my noise startled him into hitting his head on the windshield as he pitched forward in panic.

I scrambled out of the car as fast as I could while still looking, you know, nonchalant. "Hi, Batman," I said to the kid.

"I'm Wobin," he corrected me.

"Ohhhh," I said. "Then hi, Robin."

"Batman's at our school," he confided.

"Ah," I said. "Is he busy fighting crime there?"

"You should come to our school," he declared, furrowing his batly brow. (I suspect Batman's true purpose in being at his school is a closely-guarded secret, one I was not meant to know.)

"I'd like to," I said regretfully, "but I have to go buy groceries."

"Where are you going?" he called as Paul and I walked away toward the store entrance.

"To the store. See you later, Batman!"

"Wobin!" he reminded me, then got into the truck.