Friday, August 18, 2006

Like a Pop Tart

Well, the votes are in... and it turns out an overwhelming majority of my readers would most like to hear about:

A gory car incident....yesssss! The good old falling out of the car stories it is, you crazy kids. Ooook...where to start...ah yes, 'twas a warm day, circa 1987 or so, and the three of us were wee snippets of girls, aged seven, three and a few months past one. Our parents had stolen a rare afternoon at the beach together. No doubt they spent it, not feeding each other strawberries and champagne and whispering sweet nothings in each others' ears, but doing some kind of sport-type activity. The trio of us were entrusted to the loving and competent hands of our babysitter, Broccolli - her name is Brooke, but put it this way: Scott refers to her as Broccolli to this day. She had only been driving for a few months - our parents insisted that she wait for a while and prove that she was a safe driver. Which, for the record, she was.

Since Broccolli was the Worlds' Best Babysitter, she took us to see a re-release of Snow White and treated us to some manner of fast food, a rare treat for kids raised by recovering hippies. Now remember, this was nineteen years ago, and we had only taken a short trip, so Pamby wasn't in a carseat, she was just buckled in the back of the big Buick, across the car from me. I remember drowsing in the backseat, full of Chicken McNuggets and the songs of Snow White.

We were cruising down the 101 freeway, going over a knot of traffic and a hill. I remember hearing Brooke say, "Amy, you have to buckle back up, right now", and glaring across the car at my bratty little sister who was ruining my reverie. Luckily for all of us, Brooke pulled off the freeway and onto a frontage road with a bit of dirt running next to it. Otherwise, this would probably be a sad reminder instead of a cautionary tale. Just as she was about to stop, little Pamby reached for the door handle and....didn't let go. The huge heavy door swung open, taking her with it much faster than I can tell it.

She flew a few feet in the soft dirt, punched a hole in her lip, and scraped her elbows, knees and stomach up a little bit. Aside from her crying, my crying because I was sure I'd be in trouble for letting her fall out of the car, plus afraid her lip was going to fall off, and the hysterical screechings of a middle-aged woman who had seen the whole thing happen, Brooke kept very calm. We bundled Pamby back in the car and zoomed (carefully) off to her house, where we cleaned her off and pondered What To Do.

This being back in the days before cell phones, pagers and instant contact with everyone, my parents were still at the beach. In a brilliant stroke of inspiration, intuition, whatever you want to call it, my mom decided they needed to leave where they were right away, and find a phone. This was not normal behavior for my parents; my mom isn't a worrywart, my dad would be loathe to leave the beach, say, before dark. When they didn't reach us at home via payphone (hey, remember payphones? I think there are about three left in Santa Barbara), they called Brooke's house and rushed over.

Pamby got a few stiches from a plastic surgeon, some band-aids, and some extra coddling from everyone. It would take about thirteen years for her little blue scars to fade, but we'll have the memories of a screaming middle-aged woman to last forever.

About the other time she fell out of the car: I wasn't there, but the brief explanation is thus:
Kids in parents' van, driving in a remote area. One kid (guess whooooo?) wasn't buckled up and was seated on the floor. Driver (kids' sister) hits a rough patch of country road, loses control and rolls the van several times, causing the door to pop open and ejecting said kid into the road. By yet another miracle, she didn't get propelled into a tree, wall, another car, or over a Colorado mountain cliff. She did break her collarbone into a number of peices, but was otherwise unharmed. The van, a recent purchase of my parents, perished immediately. Police had to triangulate their cell phone signals to find them (Reason number 2,452 I will Never Move To a Mountain State, or inland, or many places, for that matter: Mountains.), and she later had two surgeries in relation to her collarbone.

Here's the (final) kicker of that one: No one told me anything about it until a month later, when they mentioned, "the accident", in passing. Casually, as though I knew all about it ....because I didn't live with them, and therefore deserved to be puunished by the careful witholding of vital information. Please read that last sentence with a heavy dose of "I'm joking! gaaaaaahd!" on top, ok? Seriously though....if you flew out of a car like so much toast from a toaster, wouldn't you think to pick up the phone and call your sister?

2 comments:

chiefbiscuit said...

Wow - I hope your sister remembers to Buckle Up - or as I say to any charges, 'Plug yourself in.' You tell a riveting tale!

Meepers said...

Well thank you! You know, I love 'talking' to anyone in your neck of the woods...its kind of like time travel with the day/night/day difference!