What about my pain and suffering?

The phone rings, waking you from sound sleep.  Disoriented, you try to make sense of the words coming from the caller. It’s hard to hear over the blood pulsing through your Carotid artery; loudly racing to your brain in a flight or fight fenzy.
“Mom?”   That’s all it took to have a mini heart attack.

My daughter called at 6 am on a Sunday morning to tell me she had been in her very first wreck.  When I heard the words “mom..  wreck” I thought she had hit someone. I thought she had been out drunk driving.  It felt as if I had just fallen asleep, I didn’t know it was Sunday morning and only two hours away from the alarm.
“Are you ok?”  Those are the only words I could find.
Kayla’s voice was calm but I could hear the tears that wrapped themselves tightly around her throat.
“What happened?”
“I was hit by a drunk driver. …”
“WHAT? Where are you?”
“I was on my way to work and..”
Wait. Work???  My brain went crazy with worry.  Kayla is a young mother.  The days she works or attends class I have the baby. Was she bringing the baby to me when she was hit? Omg.
“Where’s Rae? Is she ok??”
“She stayed with Corey’s mom last night.  Mom. . My car.” I was so lost in a dream state confusion.

The rest of the story goes like this:
Kayla works at a hospital and she sat at a red light one light from turning into her required parking lot.  The hospital is on campus and there’s many food chains and small college stores on this one-way strip of road.  She sat waiting for the light to turn green and had a strange thought that she should just go ahead and turn at the light she was at then BAM!!!  Before she even knew what happened her Camry was smashed by an old Pathfinder.  He hit the rear passenger side, scraped the side,  swerved away from the car, came back to hit the front passenger side removing the bumper…  he then slammed head-on into a restaurant, backed up,  squealed around the next corner, hit something else and ditched the suv behind Fazoli’s and took off on foot.

Kayla called 911 then me.
20 minutes later we sat in the ER of the hospital where she worked.  Tears had stained the whites of her eyes red- creating glowing pools of aqua.
Her face was blotched with bits of red and white.  At first glance I could see that she had tried to cry it all out before I got there.   She doesn’t like me to worry.   As a parent, my heart instantly breaks for my children when I see any sort of pain on them.  I too wanted to cry but I couldn’t; mommas don’t cry where their babies can see.

About a month has passed since this whole jacked up thing happened.  Kayla has a pretty newish car with a pretty payment to go with.  HAHA.  She’s fine.  Got herself a fancy lawyer who sent her to a fancy chiropractor.. those three working together will get Kayla a fancy settlement and maybe….. just maybe… Ill get a fancy Christmas gift.

kaylacar

What about my pain and suffering?  😉

 

 

The Crustacean

I’ve had several cars in my 24 years of driving; some brand new and some.. well… let me just tell you about the “Crustacean.”

Not the exact car, but exactly like it.

Not the exact car, but exactly like it.

My mom and her man owned a white, second edition 1980 Chrysler Cordoba. They drove the hell outta that car from the time I was in early middle school until they gave it to me several year later.  When they first bought it, it was pretty nice.  It had fresh white paint and deep maroon interior. The seats where plump and velvety. The dashboard smooth..  Not when they gave it to me though.

Most kids whose parents give them a car get a safe, small car that’s good on gas. Not me. I got a freaking Sherman tank that looked like it had survived WWII.  The gas..wow…just starting that bitch up would cost me no less than $10.00.  Oh an let me tell you about how nice it WASN’T when they gave it to me.

For starters, the nice white paint was anything but.  The paint was faded.  Yeah, I didn’t know white paint could fade either but trust me, it does.  It almost looked like old cream- the color of your great grandmothers wedding dress from 1901.  On the passenger side front fender was a bumpy nonwhite scar; the reminder of a recent battle with road cancer.  Apparently my moms man tried to fix the rust eaten metal with a container of Bondo and primer but instead of sanding the putty to a smooth surface, he let it dry as it was then sprayed it later.  The side of my car looked like a spackled ceiling. smh.   My aunt Maria laughed at my car and said it looked like a crustacean from away out in the deep sea…and that’s how it got its name.

The inside of my car was anything but a jewel.  Those once plump, velvety maroon seats were now splitting down the seams and their innards were crumbling out; dark yellow and dried foam spilled from from the tears. Intense heat from the sun beating down on the windshield left open wounds in the dust encrusted dashboard; a sign of many years of neglect.  The only thing I could do was try to fix these problems.

The first thing I did was take the Crustacean to the car wash.  I know I had to have fed that vacuum $20 in quarters.  One mistake I made was in my vacuuming frenzy…I vacuumed the headliner. Yep. I did. I didn’t think about the glue giving out- I was just a kid trying to clean the dust and crap out of my ‘new’ car. So now my headliner hung way low– so low it touched the top of my head when I sat down inside.    After the vacuuming I drove over to Walmart for some Armor-All, duck tape, an air freshener and a package of thumb tacks.   Once home I dusted off, bandaged up the wounds then used that entire bottle of Armor-All on the dashboard.  When I was done it shown as bright as Sirius on a clear night .  I used the tacks for the headliner.  There were so many tacks holding the headliner up that you could probably find most of the constellations hidden within.    I used an old blanket to cover the backseat.  HAHAHA That backseat was the same size, if not bigger than my couch!   The car was ginormous!!!   It could seat 12 comfortably. The steering wheel itself was as big as one of the tires, but super skinny. The car didn’t have four windows, it had to very long ones that went from the front to the back and when I drove it, I had to sit on pillows because I couldn’t even see over the dashboard!!

 I was scared to death to drive the Crustacean, and here’s why;  As big as it was it thought it was small and if you barely turned the steering wheel the car would whip about.  I know where they got the phrase, “turn on a dime.”  It was a bucket!!  I’m pretty sure that the belts were loose, the hoses were dry-rotted and the oil was as thick as toothpaste too and I KNOW the breaks were shot because one time as I drove down a hill towards a busy intersection, the breaks wouldn’t stop the tank from rolling.  I knew that all I could do was stay calm and steer it until it stopped on its own. Nothing could hurt me while inside the crustacean, as it was made of something heavy and strong, not stamped out of aluminum like today’s cars are.  With the windows down, the tacks were flying from the headliner, shooting me as I coasted towards the intersection. Luckily I got the green light, went up a hill and coasted into the Shell on the other side of the road from where I’d come.  Good grief.  I sat at the Shell station for a few minutes to gather my thoughts.  I didn’t know what to do.  I couldn’t call anyone for help because 1) I didn’t want to be a wussy girl driver and 2) I didn’t have anyone to call. So I did the only thing I knew how to do.. I started the car and creeped it back home.  Luckily I made it without harm to myself or anyone else.  After that day though, I never drove the crustacean again.  I don’t even know what happened to it.  Last time I saw it, it was parked outside my house.

I wonder where cars go when they run away from home?

Damnit.

Turning 16 in the state where I live means one can obtain a driving permit and 180 days later, an intermediate license. As long as the rules and curfews are kept, an unrestricted license will soon follow.

I remember going for my permit. It wasn’t a big deal really.  I had studied the driving manual for weeks before turning 16 and I was confident in my ability to retain the information between its pages.  Waiting to take the test was longer than the time it took for me to complete it.  I remember standing in front of the computer screen reading one questions after the next.. A. B. A. A. A. B. C. D. A. A. A. …..   I was done!!  Then I thought, “Wait. Twelve questions? That’s it?? TWELVE??  I studied for WEEKS for this test and I got twelve questions?”   As I stood in line waiting for my turn to hand over my test to the old grumpy DMV lady I started to panic.  I worried about those twelve questions.  Thinking to myself I asked, “Did you choose too many A’s in a row?  Maybe that A, next to last should have been a B.. or a maybe a C…”   As I inched closer to the front counter, I noticed that the DMV lady had a mouth like an angler fish; too many teeth, pointy and discolored, crammed behind lips that curled downward.DMV  lady I could hear her raspy voice chewing into the man in front of me. Apparently he had forgotten something he needed to obtain a renewal.. but I swear I saw him provide at least 26 pieces of paper, a urine sample and what looked like his left kidney.  I couldn’t imagine what else grumpy fish wanted but her growling and gnawing was enough to have me look over my documents one mo’ gin.

“Next!” she snapped as I watched the mauled man in front of me, sulk away like a beaten dog. I swallowed hard and stepped up with my arm full of paperwork.  Before grumpy fish could ask what I needed I spoke too fast and in one continuous sentence.  “Hi-I-need-to-get-my-permit-heres-my-test-ss card- ins card-birth certificate-and-letter-from-the-judge-thank-you!”   I stood there with a nervous smile on my face while grumpy fish stamped my test and copied my information.  It seemed to take way too long. “Do you have a ticket?”    My heart dropped so hard that it punctured my stomach and fell straight to my feet.  My head spun dizzy as I asked myself, “Ticket?  What ticket? No one told me about a ticket..I need a ticket??”     Over-emphasizing each of her next five words, her voice sarcastically ripped through the stale air, “Do. You. Have. A. Tick-et??!”    My panic turned to anger. Who did this butter-face think she was talking to and before I realized that my brain filter had dislocated, my mouth released my by brain was thinking.  “Look here you old fish… I don’t know what your problem is or what you’re talking about. I have given you everything on the list of requirements. I have been here for two hours and heard you find some sort of problem with every single person before me. Perhaps you need to go back to bed and try to wake up on the right side!!”   Grumpy fish sat silently behind the counter for several seconds, her beady little eyes peering over her chained on bifocals at me.   “A PARK-ING TICK-ET!!” She hissed.    I stared back. She meant a ticket to validate for parking. Omg I felt like such a jerk but… she was mean.   I did have a parking ticket but damn it if she was going to know after I had just called her an old fish because that would have made me a bigger asshole than I already was.  Instead of handing her my ticket I hissed back with mockery,  “No. I. Donnn-t. Have. A. Park-ing. Tick-et.”  Grumpy fish let her eyes slowly roll back down to the paperwork, made another punch of red ink, slid it to her right and barked, “Next!’

Next?  What about me?  Where was I supposed to go?  Was she letting me through or telling me to leave?  I stood there clueless.  “Um, ex—cuse me??”  My hands flipping upward and voice giving clue to hostility.  Grumpy fish without looking up pointed to an area two partitions over. Glancing over I could see that was where I needed to go to get my photo taken for my permit. I pulled my purse off of the counter and whispered, “Good luck.” to the girl behind me.

About a month or so later I went back for my road test. I had taken 6 classes of driving school plus had been instructed by my husband on how to drive.  I was confident–probably too confident in my driving ability.   Once at the DMV my test car was inspected, permit and insurance card was taken and I was assigned a Sheriff for the ride-along.   “Sweet..It’s a girl. This should be a cake walk.” So I thought.  This small middle aged woman came out holding a clipboard.  She had on thick glasses and wore her stringy dishwater colored hair, long. I’m not trying to be mean or anything but her one of her arms seemed to be on..backward.   I swear I’m not making this crap up. I couldn’t if I wanted to.. I’m just not built for imagination and fantasy.  Anyway, I tried not to look at her because every time I did, I stared at her arm.  I think she picked up on my avoidance and that pissed her off.  I was trying NOT to be rude and this woman was giving me crap for it.  She kept talking to me, waving her twisted appendage around and forcing me to stare at it..  between her and grumpy fish, I’d never get my license.

The test went pretty good until the last task- the turnabout.  I pulled up a little passed the driveway, put on my blinker and backed in slowly.  Before coming to a complete stop, I looked forward (while still creepin in reverse) and before I applied my brakes, I tapped something with my bumper.  The Sheriff lady got out of the car with her little clipboard, walked to the back and began to scribble something down.  When she got back into my car she said I had hit a small pole.  In my own mind I argued that I hadn’t hit anything.. I tapped it.. TAAAAAPPPPPEEEDDD it.   The Sheriff lady through her arm (yes, THAT arm) into the air while squawking, “Of course you know this means you failed???”   The look on my face said it all but to be sure she heard me, I added some personality, “Failed? I tapped something that I can’t even see in my mirror and I failed my whole driving test???”   My dislocated brain filter allowed these words to follow, “..well then of course that means you can walk back!”   I was pissed. This is all true by the way, you can ask my friend Kelly about it. hahahaha.

SEVERAL months later I went back, praying the whole time Hook and grumpy fish were on vacation that day.   On the road test side it was clear. I passed with ease and without any glitches.  Skipping happily to the counter I see grumpy fish. Good feeling gone. Just like that, poof.  I began to pray, more like beg really, to please not let her open up next. Inside I was crying, “I don’t want her… please hurry up lady over there with the big purse and make-up to match…”  Panic was setting in as the man at grumpy fish started to gather his things.  I started to sweat and silently began screaming, “Please. Huuuuuuurrrrry uuuuuppppp!!!!!”   

“Next!”   Damnit.

I approached the counter nervously. Smiling as sweetly as I could and speaking in a soft voice that I didn’t even know I had I said, “Hello,” as I slid everything she would need toward her.  Grumpy fish without looking up took the papers and began to process them. She stopped and looked up over her bifocals at me.  Her downward lips drew upward, the same as the corners of her eyes, just enough to look like the Cheshire cat instead of her grumpy fish self, then she hissed, “Do. You. Have. A. Tick-et?”Cheshire