Ok, recently I’ve been talking about serious subjects and dealing with some anger issues (refer to last blog), but I’m taking a break from that and diving back into something silly. There’s no real point or moral to this, but I’m going to tell you a story. It’s a well-known story among my friends and family; actually, it’s more like a legend. It is a tale of teenage psychological trauma at it’s finest. A story that is completely true and could only happen to me.
It was the Halloween of my junior year in high school. School had let out and I was waiting in the parking lot for my brother to exit the Jr. High (yes, Jr. high- before all this middle school crap). The weather was nice and I had the top down on my yellow ’83 Mustang GLX. I was blonde, feeling cute, and happy to let boys stare because, with the top down, I was cool.
But the coolness factor I felt I had going quickly waned as I spied my metal head brother moseying towards the car with a companion. I took off my sunglasses and rubbed my eyes. Was I hallucinating or was…No, can’t be. My brother was escorting a miniature version of Alice Cooper to my car. You see, it was back when kids could wear Halloween costumes to school and this young one was paying tribute to his idol even if he did look more like the love child of a munchkin and Metallica than he did the father of shock-rock. I was suddenly not as excited about having the top down.
The boys get in the car and I start towards home. I’m an over-cautious driver and I have a route I take that weaves us through the neighborhood while avoiding traffic and busy streets. I’m cruising along down the main street in one of the wealthiest subdivisions in town. I’m going below the speed limit and in a split second I become VERY grateful for that.
Out of nowhere a kid on a bike rides out in front of me. I scream. My brother screams. Alice Cooper screams, and I slam on the brakes. It’s too late. My car makes contact with the boy and his bike that seemed to have apparated Harry Potter style right in front of my car. The boy and his bike slide up on my hood, his face a frozen expression of horror as he comes toward my windshield.
The car stops and physics takes over. Boy and bike slide back off the hood and onto the street. My heart is still pounding, my brother is screaming that he told me to stop, and I’m pretty sure Alice is catatonic. Everything is surreal. I jump out of the car to check on the boy but by the time I get around my door the car begins to roll. SH*T!!!!! I was so panicked that I forgot to put the car in park. Where the boy was merely laying in the street before, now my car is on top of him. My passengers are clueless as to what to do so I jump back inside, slam on the brake, and throw the car into park.
I leap back out of the car, lay on the ground, and find the boy lying under the center of the car. He still has the same expression of terror but somehow the car’s tires have stayed clear of him.
“Lay flat on your stomach!!” I scream. I get up and run back to the driver’s seat where I proceed to back the car off the kid. I put the car in park and get back out. The boy is standing before I even get to him. I’m shaking all over and asking if he’s ok. I see a scrape on his elbow but he tells me he did that on the playground. I ask him over and over if he’s ok and he tells me over and over he’s fine and just wants to go home. I feel like I can breathe again as we stare at each other and make the silent acknowledgement that we can just walk away and nobody has to know about our little encounter. No parents need to lose any sleep over this.
That’s when I hear the cries carrying over the houses. “We called 911! We called 911!!”
We look up and see parents and neighbors pouring out of their houses and running towards us like they are preparing to pull bodies from a blazing bus. The kid and I look at each other with new amounts of horror. We’re both busted and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.
As parents surround the boy and ignore me like I was surely drag racing down the street to impress the stoner boys in my car, I realize exactly where I am. My heart falls into my already churning guts as I stare directly at the house I have chosen to have this accident in front of. It is the home of the mega popular football player I just broke up with.
This wouldn’t be a big thing if I was also a mega popular person at our school. But I’m not. I’m a shy, quiet nerd. The only reason we ever dated is because we were the two best artists in school and we had class together. And now…NOW I have decided to run over a child in front of his house with Alice Cooper riding shotgun.
Soon the police are there and asking questions that I don’t remember and measuring skid marks. The paramedics have arrived too and the boy who was walking and talking just moments ago is now being strapped to a backboard. Between the emergency workers and the “concerned” citizens, the only thing visible of the boy are his Nike shoes. I’m sitting in my car shaking all over. I have a bad knee that I blew-out in ballet and it’s killing me from hitting the brake so hard. A big officer comes back over to me and asks me for my parents’ phone #. My heart stops for the second time.
You see, my mom is not good with emergencies. I was always the one to take care of wounds that happened in our house. My brother accidentally stabbed his best friend with a steak knife once and I was still the one to take care of it. My mom will absolutely freak out if she thinks that one of her kids has been hurt. I look the officer dead in the eyes and say, “The absolute first words out of your mouth have to be ‘your kids are fine.’ I’m not kidding.” But apparently he thought I was.
I sit in the car trying to not look across the street at my ex-boyfriend and half the football team who are now gathered in his yard to watch the circus and laugh. And I am humiliated to the point of crying and wanting to throw up, but it’s not over. Oh, no. Not by a long shot. My parents arrive but for you to truly appreciate the scene I must give you some background.
My mom is the equivalent of an irate dwarf and my father is a big man. We are poor. The only reason I have my little used car is because I worked all summer to make the down payment and continued to work to keep it. My parents own two cars: a ’74 Mercury Montego that we all refer to as the “Sh*tmobile” or “Sh*tstine” and a 60-something Dodge Dart wagon that my friends and I refer to as Hitler’s funeral car. Before I got my car, my parents were forced to drop me off at least a block from any activity I went to.
But that day I had no control over anything, especially what car was most accessible to two panicked parents who just got a call that their kids were in an accident. So…here comes Hitler’s funeral car screeching to a stop. My parents get out. They don’t see me but I see them and try to hide under a floor mat. My parents are doing some DIY remodeling on our house and they are wearing the absolute crappiest clothes you can possibly imagine. There are people using cardboard as a bed that are dressed better than my parents. Not only are they wearing ripped, nasty clothes, they are covered in paint.
And because I want you to get the full effect of what I witnessed pulling up to that accident I have carefully reconstructed every exact detail of that image as my traumatized, 16-year-old brain remembers it….
You may scoff, but I would swear on a stack of baby dolphins that this is an accurate depiction of what came to collect me from the crime scene (the likeness to my mother’s hair that day is uncanny). But to be fair to my poor parents I have also recreated what I imagine their own brains had conjured of the scene they drove to that day.
Now, the story doesn’t go far from there. I’m dying of embarrassment as my parents run around screaming our names until they find us. A policeman has to wedge himself between me and my mother to keep her from killing me before he has a chance to explain that it wasn’t my fault. And I honestly don’t even remember what happened after that. In summary: the next day my knee was sore, the hood of my car was scraped up, the entire school was buzzing with the news that I killed a kid (who I imagine was back at school scraping his elbows on the playground), and Alice Cooper chose to find a safer ride home for the remainder of the school year.
And that, my friends, is my dose of silly, useless information to help you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day even though I’m not sure how it ties into the holiday other than the fact that I’m part Irish and Alice Cooper has probably killed a leprechaun during one of his concerts.