Saturday, September 13, 2008

The importance of wearing a seat belt and locking your car door

One of the many places we lived when I was growing was on a very busy street. I loved this house, I still do. It was on the market recently, and I would have bought it in a heartbeat if I could have afforded it. It was set way back off a dirt driveway, surrounded by overgrowth and trees. It was a raised ranch with 4 bedrooms, 1-1/2 baths and a fireplace in the living room. At the time it was a dump that really needed a lot of work, but I remember it with fondness.

This was where I got my purple Schwinn bicycle with a push button horn that my brother taught me how to ride down the big hill in the front yard. This was where my brother taught me how to play baseball in the back yard. As there were only two of us, we had to say, "ghost on first", "ghost on second". This was also where the little creep shot me in the leg "by accident" with his BB gun. I have a lot of great memories, there. I spent much of my time outdoors, exploring in the woods, often with our German Shepherd, Schnitzel, who was probably my best friend at the time.

My mother had a big blue Rambler. The back seat was a bench seat, and seat belts were unheard of at the time. It was kind of fun because if my mother took a really hard turn, we'd all go sliding across the back seat and crush each other on the door. It was like the amusement park ride that goes really fast in a circle and you can't keep yourself from crushing the person sitting next to you, depending on which way the ride is going.

One day when I was probably 7, my mother piled four of us into the car to go to the grocery store. I don't remember who was sitting next to whom, but I was on one side of the back seat and Bouf was in the middle. Mom was taking a left onto the very busy street and she gunned it because there were cars coming. We all went sliding across the backseat toward me, which should have been fun - until the door popped open. I fell out of the car onto my knees with a line of traffic coming at me at anywhere from 40-60 miles per hour.

My adrenaline must have kicked in, because I remember getting myself up and over to the side of the road, and then when the traffic eased, getting back over to the side of the road that our house was on, while my knees were bleeding down my legs. And waiting and waiting for my mother's car to come back. She didn't realize at first what had happened but finally registered Bouf's hysterical screaming that I had fallen out of the car and turned around to come back for me. I think to this day that Bouf may have been more traumatized by this incident than I was. She saw me falling out of the car and couldn't catch me!

I got an honor position on the couch for the rest of the day with a blankie and everyone treating me like a princess. Bouf even walked up the store and bought me a stuffed animal, Bimini, that I treasured and slept with for at least a year before he was stolen from me on a cross-country bus trip to Las Vegas.

I always locked my car door for at least 10 years after that.

For a long time I couldn't understand how my mother didn't know I had fallen out of the car until I was writing this and started to think about it. A couple of years ago, I was driving my son and two great-nieces to the mall. I often tuned out the younger niece's screaming, because it was almost constant, and I'm the kind of person that really needs to concentrate on my driving. It had started raining, and I closed the rear windows. My younger niece started screaming, but I ignored her because I assumed she was just upset that I had rolled up her window. My son starting yelling, "Mom, Mom!" but he was in such a panic that he couldn't get the words out. "MOM - HER FINGERS ARE STUCK IN THE WINDOW!". Wow, did I feel like a loser! Thankfully, no harm was done to the poor baby, or her fingers.

When is this "you're turning into your mother" shit going to stop?


JoJo said...

Never. That's when. lol

Boy you were lucky you weren't more severely injured when you fell out of that car!! There was no using seatbelts in my parents' car either. If mom had to stop short, she'd just fling her right arm out and across my chest if I was in the front seat, to keep me from going thru the window!!

Fancy Schmancy said...

I still do that to my son while he's wearing a seat belt. Maybe it's just instinct. Like that is going to keep him from going through the windshield.