I had no idea that that sunny Tuesday might have been my last. My car had stalled in the middle of a busy intersection in my small town. I should have just accepted the kindness of Knight in Shining Armor, who offered to push my car out of the road while I sat and steered. Unfortunately, my pride and feminism wouldn’t allow me to just sit while some MAN pushed my car. So I got out and, with the driver’s side door open, I steered and pushed.
At least, I did for a little while. Not being an expert in physics, I didn’t realize how FAST a car can roll on its own down a really gentle slope. And how slow I am in comparison. And how hard it is for an unfit 30+ woman to jump into a moving car. And how quickly a new pantsuit will rip when dragged along pavement, the wearer clinging to the steering wheel for dear life, having accepted Jesus as her savior only seconds before. As I was being pulled down the road by a maniacal car, veering precariously close to oncoming traffic, my life flashed before my eyes. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough material to fill in the entire millisecond, so the rest of the time was filled with tampon commercials.
I briefly considered letting go of the car, but quickly discarded that idea for two reasons: One, I have an inviolate rule of life: Never die in a way that is going to cause people to laugh. Because I was clinging to the driver’s side of the steering wheel, the car was steering just slightly toward the left. If I let go, the car would likely continue on its path (I do know some physics) and run over me. If I died because I ran over myself, I was pretty certain people would laugh. Two, I figured if I allowed the car to careen into oncoming traffic and hurt someone’s little kid or grandma, my insurance rates would skyrocket.
So I did the only thing remaining: I pulled the wheel as hard as I could to the right. This took my car out of the path of oncoming traffic, and directly toward a telephone pole, which, due to the rule of Displacement of Matter (yay physics!), stopped my car. Adrenaline rushing, I stood up, brushed myself off, and began scanning the highway for my left shoe. My initial delight upon spotting my shoe was instantly replaced with shock and rage when some idiot in a blue pickup truck ran over it. For some reason, the sight of a bedraggled, bloody woman wearing a torn pantsuit and one shoe, standing next to a car with a telephone pole hood ornament, did not engender a compassionate response from Blue Pickup Guy, who promptly left the scene. Knight in Shining Armor was long gone, probably off rescuing another, more deserving damsel in distress. However, some kind-hearted soul who wished to remain anonymous did call the authorities.
Officer Helpful arrived on the scene somewhere in between “You ran over my $%^& shoe!” and “I’m fine, I’m fine—I can just clean off the shoe and go to work.” Officer Helpful looked at my torn pantsuit and bloody leg dubiously. “Oh that—that’s fine—I have a sewing kit in the car,” I explained impatiently. Officer Helpful clearly didn’t know whether I was going to use my sewing kit to fix my torn pants or do surgery on myself (frankly, I was planning on both), so he convinced me to sit down so he could conduct his investigation. I sat down, which slowed my adrenaline rush and made me realize that I probably shouldn’t go straight to work, since I was, technically, bleeding all over the place.
My car ended up being totaled, but I did get a lot of attention (and a juice box!) in the emergency room, so I figured that was a wash. About a week after the accident, I received a copy of the police report in the mail from Officer Helpful. The report was painfully accurate, even to the point where Officer Helpful listed “Driver” as “None.” How true.