Scared Straight, Man: A Cautionary Tale
February 20, 2007
Jeez, I’m still jumpy after yesterday’s trip to the movie palace with four boys.
We’re waiting to turn from Woodmont onto Valley Vista or Vista Ridge or Valley Forge–the road that is known mostly as The Way to the Mall. I’ve got my turn signal on, sitting at the bottom of a hill, waiting for the traffic to clear so I can turn left. Above the din of the fellas I hear a shriek of tires, behind me, rising fast, and I look in the rear view mirror to see a maroon Saturn (a car, though it might as well be a planet) heading for us. Not heading for us–it’s righttherebehindus. In slow motion I think: I’ll pull over (but my arms can’t work), and I’ll honk my horn (to alert somebody? who? the car behind me with the shrieking tires?) that I’m there with these four children in the car. It’s too loud–the screeching tires can’t possibly stop before hitting us–and I brace myself for the impact. Can’tbelieveit, I think.
It doesn’t happen. I look into my mirror again (were my eyes closed?), and I see the sheet-white face of a girl, very young, with eyes wide open. She has what looks like a 1982-era frizzy perm. She is frozen. She can’t believe she didn’t hit us. I can’t believe she didn’t hit us. I look across the road at a car waiting on the side street, and the poor gray-haired woman in a Subaru can’t believe she didn’t hit us. She holds her cheeks like they’ll warm her palms. I’m about to have a stroke, and my hands shake as I steer the car through the left turn we were waiting to take.
The boys didn’t even hear the shriek of the tires; David thought it was Clif howling the way he often does. If I hadn’t explained to them what had just happened, they wouldn’t have even known.
I would bet a hundred bucks there was either an iPod or a cell phone not far from that girl’s hand. I’m not saying this was some kind of omen (IT WAS AN OMEN, Y’ALL), but it was scary enough that I hereby swear that I’ll keep my phone and my iPod in my purse whenever I’m driving. Because the fact is, the sheet-white face could have been mine, albeit with lank and ungroomed hair, and the carful of boys could have been somebody else’s loud crowd going to the movies.
I don’t mess with my gadgets when there are kids in the car. But by myself, I have been known to take a call on the fly. Or to dig around for a playlist. How horrifying to have to say to a police officer, “Uh, I was just skipping that Patty Loveless song I don’t really like.”
On a Lighter Note
Thanks, everybody, for such a choice smorgasbord of knitting ideas. And thanks especially for Smartypants Meg BRAGGING about knowing where the White Stripes are recording in Nashville yet somehow failing to say where. That’s just great. As IF I would go ask for an autograph. Or a photo. Or a lock of hair, sheesh. It’s not like I would knit a freaky tribute sweater or anything.
OK so maybe I would. But I’m going to let that little idea marinate for a bit while I work on that shrug. I’ve been patting a lone skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk like it was my long-lost cat. (That’s it above, shade 130, Mandarin, for the curious.) Lush stuff. And the shades are gorgeous–there’s not a color I wouldn’t want to use for this. How often can you say that about a yarn?