Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Driving Around In My Automobile...

He was a Firefighter; tall, broad shouldered, and handsome.  She giggled when he asked if she would go out with him and responded, "I'd love to." 

Friday night finally came.  It was a non-traditional date in that they were going to help out with a firefighter training exercise.  She fantasized all week about her simulated rescue by the man of her dreams sweeping her off her feet and carrying her to safety.  He parked the car and they walked hand-in-hand up the hill to the closed off street where the training would take place.  The night was dark and cool, with a few stars twinkling while the moon playfully peeped in and out of clouds.

As they reached the top of the hill she was blinded by the flashing lights of the rescue trucks ready and waiting for simulated disaster.  Before she could say anything a woman in fire gear quickly approached them and grabbed her hand.  "Oh good!" she shouted over the wail of the sirens, "another victim!  Come with me."  Unable to protest she was whisked away in a flash and pushed into the front passenger seat of a car that was precariously perched on a slippery embankment in simulated peril.  The car door was slammed shut with the sleeve of her sweater caught in it. 

"Hi!"  A deep voice boomed from the driver's seat.  "I'm Biff.  Ever been to one of these?"  She looked over at him feeling a bit panicked about being stolen away from her date and having her arm trapped in a semi-tipped over rust bucket that smelled of beer and stale cigarettes.  She shook her head 'No' and went back to trying to retrieve her sleeve.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you!"  Biff reached across her and with a meaty hand grabbed her arm as she reached for the car door.  "At this angle, you'll fall right out if you pull that lever!"  He was right.  She was already pressed against the door because of the angle of the embankment.  If she opened the door to free her sweater she wouldn't have time to get her feet under her before toppling out into the mud and leaves.  She gave a deep sigh and pulled her arm out of the sleeve so that she could sit more comfortably with her back to the door.

For the first time she looked around at the car and her driving companion.  The back seat was littered with a variety of crunched up beer and soda cans along with several fast food bags and stray french fries.  Biff was a young, heavy-set man with a round face and thick blond hair that sat on his head like a wadded up rag.  "Drunk driving," he said with a broad grin.  She was repulsed, not only by the smelly dump of a car, but also because of Biff's exuberance in giving a convincing performance of a drunk driver.  Apparently he was a method actor and had snuck in a couple of full cans of beer that he began to crack open and guzzle down for authenticity.  "You want some?" he asked.  As he cracked open the third can of cheap hooch it sprayed all over the car.  The sticky liquid ran down the ceiling and the seat and, because she was sitting downhill from him, rained down on her.

Chuck Berry
"No!" she barked back in disgust, crossed her arms and stared irritated out the cracked windshield.  "At least I'll be rescued soon.  Then we can go out to dinner or something," she thought to herself.  But that was not in the cards.  Biff began to sing Chuck Berry's "No Particular Place To Go."  Not only was Biff unable to sing a single note in tune, he also didn't know many of the words to the song other than, "Drrrrrivn' around in my automobile..." which he proceeded to sing repeatedly.  After about forty five minutes, he decided to make up his own words to the classic song, which ruined it for her forever.  She would never again be able to hear a Chuck Berry song without using great restraint to keep from punching someone in the face.

She sat in the car seething, wondering what was taking her date so long to rescue her and take her away from this irritating man.  If it had been a real accident they would have been dead by now.  If they didn't come soon, one of them was going to be.  Just then, a bright spotlight shone through the dirty window.  She shielded her eyes from the blinding light and smiled at the thought of her hero coming to her rescue... finally. 

The door slowly opened and, not her hero, but a strange man dressed in full fire rescue gear slapped a neck brace on her and slid her out onto a body board.  She tried to look around for her date but was strapped down to the board while the young first responders-in-training shouted, "Don't move, Ma'am!  You could have a broken neck!" 

"Oh, yes," she muttered mostly to herself, "the simulation."  The flashing lights from the nearby trucks against the dark and wooded night began to give her a headache.  Suddenly, flames shot up from the engine of the wreck they had just dragged her out of.  She was set down in a ditch still strapped to the body board while the responders grabbed a hose off the fire truck to put out the fire. 

The water from the hose ran down the muddy embankment and began to collect in the ditch below. She felt the freezing water first smack the top of her head then run down her back. She tried to move, but apparently the first-responders-in-training were quite skilled at lashing people to body boards, but not as skilled at keeping track of their patients. The water came faster and faster and soon there was a small river forming. The board began to slide. She began to rock back and forth to try and free herself, but she soon started to drift down the gravel road. She tried to yell for help, but the ill-fitting neck brace prevented her from screaming loud enough for anyone to hear.

She shot down the hill at top speeds like she was a contender for Olympic Gold in the luge, bounding over bumps and narrowly missing potholes until she reached the curve at the bottom of the hill and rocketed over the curb smashing into a tree.

She lay there, still, at the bottom of the hill in a puddle of mucky mud and moss, the splintered remains of the body board still lashed to her wrists. She looked up through the dark trees at the night sky, suddenly thankful for the neck brace, and breathed a sigh that she could no longer hear Biff singing.

Sadly, this would not be the worst date she would ever go on.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Christmas Story

I decided to start a new little tradition in my family.  I asked the kids to tell me the Nativity Story in their own words while I typed everything that they said.  I'm going to do this every year to see how their interpretations change as they get older.  Here's what each of them told me this year:

Mya, Age 8
Mary was going to have a baby and her husband asked all the inns if Mary can stay here.  Eight said no, but one said, “I have a stable you can sleep in.”  And Jesus Christ was born, lying in a manger.  The horns of the angels blew and shepherds were watching their sheep.  And they were so frightened. And the angel said, “Do not be afraid.  A savior has been born in the town of Bethlehem.”  And some wise men followed the bright star of Jesus Christ.  Angels blew their horns and cried out to the Lord.  The wise men gave the baby Jesus presents of gold and silver and seasonings.

Emily,  Age 5
Mary was cleaning up and an Angel came to visit Mary.  And the angel had good news.  And Mary was going to have a baby and its name was Jesus.  And they had to go to Bethlehem, but all the houses were full.  But in a barn there was emptiness.  But there was a little cradle for Baby Jesus.  And as the sun went down, they slept straight through the night.  And the next morning they awoke and the baby Jesus was already in there.  And the shepherds came to see the baby.  So the wise men followed a star until they saw the king.  And they followed the star to baby Jesus.  And when they saw baby Jesus they were amazed!  And they all lived happily ever after.  The End.

Jack, Age 2
Jesus coming.  Jesus on a boat.  Jesus a baby.  Christmas Jesus birthday.  Jesus in my heart.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Death Tastes Like Chocolate

I noticed that one of the people whose blog I follow hadn't written anything in a while and had recently posted something.  When I read her latest post I discovered that her grandmother had died and that she was having a difficult time with it.  She talked about how she had never really had anyone in her life pass away before.  My heart went out to her and, as I finished reading her post, I realized that my mouth was watering.

Pavlov trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell by
repeatedly ringing a bell then feeding the dog.
Let me explain.  I know this sounds weird, but hearing news of someone passing away makes me think of hot fudge.  Specifically, of Friendly's hot fudge.  Much like Pavlov's dog, I have been classically conditioned to want a hot fudge sundae whenever faced with death.  It's my Grandma's fault.  And quite frankly, I think she would be pretty proud that she inadvertantly left that little subconciuos nugget in my brain. 

Here's the story.  Unlike my cyber-friend, I have gone to many, many, many funerals starting at about the age of six or seven.  We had a pretty large extended family full of older people who I would see once or twice a year; enough so that I knew who they were, but not so much that I was devistated that they were gone.  I actually think that going to all these funerals was good for my developing psyche.  I learned how to mourn and how to move on from the sadness.  My Grandma was my greatest teacher on how to move on.

Grandma was a terrible influence at funerals.  She would crack jokes like, "This party is really dying," or "The host is a real stiff," which would cause me to giggle, then get the look from my parents.  They never believed that it was Grandma causing the problem. 

Grandma had a larger-than-normal sweet tooth.  So, since the whole family was already gathered for a funeral and we were still alive and needed to eat, she would insisit we go to Friendly's after every funeral.  Since most of my family members inherited her sweet tooth, there wasn't much argument from anyone.

I think it took no more than a half dozen funerals with Grandma before death became synonymous with hot fudge.  Thankfully, my mind took comfort in the hot fudge and made funerals less depressing instead of the alternative, which probably would have left me sobbing every time I ordered a Cone Head Sundae.  Perhaps I would be thinner now if hot fudge made me sad, but I don't think I want to live in a world where hot fudge is depressing.

So, that's my story.  I'm really sorry about my friend's loss, and I hope she finds her own version of hot fudge to comfort her during this time.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to get some ice cream.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's been nearly a year, and here's what I have to show for it.

I've had this blog now for nearly a year.  In this year I've written an average of 2.5 posts per month.  Sadly, about 20% of them are left unfinished or un-posted lingering in the limbo that is "draft" status.  This is pathetic and, to the three people that may or may not have been regularly reading my posts, I sincerely apologize.  I am making an early New Year's resolution to take a few minutes to write down my thoughts in a way that might be interesting for other people to read.

Worse case scenario, you can read it and be glad you're not as nutty as me.

During the year I started writing about several different topics but didn't seem to be able to wrap them up satisfactorily.  Here's my genius that all three of you have been missing out on:
  • I started writing a post comparing my life before and after having kids.  It started sounding way too whiny, so I gave up on it.  Plus, my baby needed a diaper change, so I never got back to it.
  • I wrote one about how I will argue with anyone about almost anything including topics like Ewoks, which pudding is the best pudding, and if ping pong should really be an Olympic sport.
  • I started a list of little things that bug the heck out of me.  The highlights of this post were people who pronounce the 't' in often, and how I dislike toilet paper commercials with the same intensity that Madonna dislikes hydrangeas.
  • I wrote about how I was obsessing one day about the "what if I had done this instead of that" moments in my life and how a church sermon set me free.
  • There's an unfinished piece about a rough day I was having that included a raccoon in the chimney and a fire in the basement entitled "Hardship is inevitable... Drama is optional."
  • I wrote a Haiku about the lousy March weather, but didn't finish it until April.  So... stay tuned for that little nugget.
I've also written a couple of things that haven't even made it to the draft status.  Mostly little pieces of stories with no real beginning or end.  They tend to end very abruptly.

Well, that's pretty much all I've got for now.  Hopefully I will find some time and inspiration to write something a bit better soon.