Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Ambulance Story

So I finished my bottle of wine earlier and Matt made me a Cosmo - here it is before I drank it :)

Yum! Can I just say that WOW the days are long and filled to the brim? Matt's sister is coming into town tomorrow (today by the time this posts?) so we were racing around like idiots trying to get the house presentable. Did you know that kids can't clean up? I moved the ottoman in the playroom back to where it belonged and uncovered a ton of crap that they'd left behind. And don't get me started on Evie's room, where guests usually stay. The girl is a pig - or destined to be on one of those shows about hoarders. Anyway! Something happened on the way to Hogwarts this week & I was inspired to share... (fyi, Evie, our resident Harry Potter fan, is attending a 'Hogwarts Camp' nearby this week - she's having a BLAST!)

So I hit an ambulance. No, not recently, this was a long time ago. I think the most awesome part about this story is the fact that I had JUST passed the test for my driver's license, back in January 1987. This is one of those stories that is pretty much burned into my brain.

It's January 1987, and I am a newly licensed driver. So new, in fact, that I don't even have my actual license, I have my learners permit with a stamp on it saying I passed the test and can now drive on the road with other people. This is all thanks to my soon-to-be BIL Joe, who was visiting my sister the week or so prior and let me take the road test for my license on his dad's Dodge Omni - thanks Joe! Now up to this point, my driving options were a 1980 Chevy Citation with a stick - I didn't master manage to drive THAT beast until a few years later - OR my late grandmother's 1969 Oldsmobile 98 - a true Land Yacht. Or, as we referred to it, The Oldmobile. So driving Joe's Omni was a breeze in comparison, and I was happy to pass my test in his significantly smaller ride.

This is not our Oldmobile, ours had 4 doors - I think. It was a long time ago :)

Fast forward maybe 10 days, and we're at church as a family on Sunday - Stephanie, my older sister, must have been home from college on a break, as we were all at church together, although for some reason had two cars there. After church my parents left in one car, we left in the Oldmobile. They assumed that Stephanie was driving. Stephanie thought it was a good idea for me to get some practice, and drive home from church! After all - how much trouble could we get into driving MAYBE 3 miles on a Sunday morning in January? Why are your siblings always getting you in trouble??

So one mile into our trip, maybe 2 miles from home, I'm headed up Dreher Avenue (for any potential locals reading this) in the Oldmobile with my sisters along for company and I approach the exit ramp for I-81. This next part happens in blurry slow-mo - there's an ambulance there approaching the exit ramp stop sign, lights flashing but I don't hear any sirens - what to do? Oh crap! He's pulling out in front of me! By the time I realize I should stop, and stomp on the brakes, it's too late - there's ice on the side of the road and we sort of slide slowly into the ambulance. It really was this slow, crunching, horrifying kind of experience for my 16-year-old self.

Well if you're going to hit something, it might as well be an ambulance, right? They were so nice - very concerned about whether we were alright or not - and of course they radioed the police right away. That was a lovely moment, handing over my stamped learner's permit to the police after sliding into an emergency vehicle on a winter morning - the ONLY thing I was grateful for was the fact that no one was IN the ambulance being transported anywhere.

So the police finished up what they needed to do, and we were sent on our merry (?!) way home to face my parents, who of course wondered HOW IN THE HECK it took us an hour to make an 8-minute drive home from church - especially since Stephanie was supposed to be driving? I remember confessing what happened and tossing my learner's permit on the kitchen table muttering 'here, I don't WANT it!' before heading up to my room to hibernate - or be horrified - whatever. I was sure I'd never drive again. (Even though the crunched fender I'd made on the LEFT side of the car now matched the crunched fender on the RIGHT side of the car that was courtesy of my father - Hi Dad!)

So what brings this up? On Monday, as I was taking Evie to Hogwarts Camp, an emergency vehicle came up behind my van, lights flashing, and I had to pull over to let him pass. And I had an adrenaline rush like you wouldn't believe. Any kind of flashing emergency lights - red, white, blue (curiously, I know better than to react to yellow) - even a sun reflection in the rear view mirror - sets my heart racing, stomach dropping, and I am in full on FLIGHT mode - like I've done something wrong (not that I've NEVER been pulled over for speeding...) Doesn't matter if my HEAD knows what the situation is, I have a completely visceral response to that particular situation and it takes a few minutes for my heart to stop pounding & everything else to settle. And every single time I think back to the ambulance, and the driver who we later found out had a reputation for being an aggressive driver. It is absolutely FABULOUS.
So my Matt's sister Amy and her family arrive today and this weekend she and I are going to learn how to ride motorcycles! I have to say, I'm very excited to learn how to ride my bike. We tried going over to the local school parking lot back in May to let the kids play on the playground while Matt gave me a lesson, but Sarah managed to walk into a pole or something and give herself a big goose egg on the forehead, so that ended THAT - so this weekend Amy and I will be baking in the sun in a parking lot in July for a few hours - think maybe I can lose a few pounds? Yeah, me neither...


  1. That cosmo made me really want one...even though it's not even 8 am yet...don't judge! lol.

    I'm glad you'll get out to learn to ride your motorcycle without children in tow...have a blast!

  2. A cosmo is just what I needed last night! Enjoy your visit with your sister and have FUN on Saturday! I can't wait to hear all about it!

  3. That is a great story - have fun with your motorcycles.

  4. Funny story. I think we all have a story or two about our early driving days. I remember I almost rear-ended some old lady ON THE WAY to take my driving test ON THE DAY of my 16th birthday. My mom almost made me turn around and go back home, but I turned on the WAS my 16th birthday for crying out loud!

    Have fun learning to ride your bike this weekend!!! Take some pics!

  5. Ah those early driving days ;) Have fun with your SIL. I hope someone will be snappin' some pics of you guys learning to ride those motorcycles!! :)

  6. OK...
    first of all..never, ever put AMBULANCE in your title, along with a picture of a cosmo.. Totally thought you were drunk driving and got into an accident.

    second of all...see how lucky you are? You run out of wine, and your husband makes you a drink...I run out of wine, and my husband brings back wine PRODUCT...

    third of safe this weekend and have fun! Maybe when I visit you can give mea ride..or maybe we will just drink....

  7. Hitting an ambulance or cop sounds like something that would happen to me.
    Can't wait to hear how your motorcycle riding goes and to see pictures!

  8. Great story! that oldmobile is huge!!

    Have a great time learning to ride your motorcycles -- I hope no ambulances pull out in front of you - lol.


  9. Great story!

    Great drink!

    Have a fun weekend.

  10. Emergency vehicles coming up behind me when I'm stopped at an intersection make me so nervous! I never know what to do without injuring myself or someone else.

  11. I am a huge fan of good storytelling and yours fits the bill.


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