Welcome to “The Thirty Year Old Me’s” first guest post on I Thought This Would Be Easier blog!! The creator of this magnificent prose is Elyse and she’s not just being funny for the sake of guest posting, so don’t forget to have a good stalk around Elyse’s blog after you’ve discovered how brilliant and awesome she is – just click the linky above!!
Being the youngest of four kids, I have experienced many memorable car rides. I’ve been a passenger while taking left turns on two wheels, running a car into the side of a building, hitting deer, going way too slow, going way to0 fast, my mom yelling and tears streaming down a sibling’s face out of frustration. I usually sat real still gripping the arm rests with white knuckles, quietly praying that I would make it out alive during that day’s driving lesson. Needless to say, there were a lot of adventures. I came out of most of them unscathed. However, there is one accident that I still talk about today.
The rain stopped in the morning. We had all day to swim and play on the jet skis before heading back to the blue house. I loved the lake house. I was a thirteen year old with a passion for a dark tan and water skiing. I heard my parents calling me. It was time to go home. I took one last dive into the water, holding my breath as long as I could, soaking up every second. I wasn’t ready to go back.
I ran up the hill to the house barefoot. I was still soaking wet when I changed out of one uniform (my bathing suit) for my other
uniform (a t-shirt and underwear). The latter drove my parents and sister nuts. I was always being told to put on pants. This day was no different. As I hopped into the white, Chrysler minivan, everyone groaned.
“Put on pants, Elyse,” they all said in unison.
“I’m still drying off. Plus, I’m comfortable.”
My mom was not happy. “You are way too old to be running around with no pants.”
“Ugh, we’re just going home. No one is going to see me.” I buckled my seatbelt and started messing with the radio. My mom disappeared and returned with folded up shorts and shoes.
“You never know what’s going to happen, Elyse. You need to wear clothes. Your sister is on her way out. Your Dad and I are going to finish packing the car and will leave in a half hour. We’ll see you at home.” As she closed the door, I laid the clothes by my bare feet.
Lana loaded Tippy, our black lab, into the car. “Is Fitz in the car?”
“Yup, he’s at my feet,” I said tapping our parakeet’s cage with my toes. “Are you ready?”
“Yes, let’s do this.”
We had a forty-five minute drive home. It was a pretty drive that took us up and over the mountain. Today was especially pretty. The roads were steaming as the early morning rain dried. In the distance, a rainbow stretched across a cow field. It was all very serene until the car pulled out in front of us.
The roads were slick. Lana being a new driver slammed on the brakes causing them to lock. The next five seconds went in slow motion. Lana took both of her hands off the wheel, putting them above her head and screamed:
“I’m sorry Elyse! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh”
“Ooooooh, noooooooooo!!!” The minivan was barreling out of control toward a ditch. I braced myself on the bird’s cage destroying it on impact. Tippy flew over my head, hitting the windshield and landing in my lap.
I looked at her. She was okay. Praise the lord, we were both okay. I looked in the back seat. Tippy was cowering in shock. I looked down at my feet. The bird’s cage was in pieces.
“Fitz! Lana! He’s gone!”
The car was steaming and making weird noises. “I can’t turn the car off!” she screamed.
Tears were streaming down our faces. The two of us were falling apart, and it was quickly turning into a circus.
“We need to get out of here. The car is going to blow up! GET OUT!” I couldn’t stop shouting. We both unbuckled our seatbelts and scrambled out of the car. My shorts and shoes lay on the floor.
Lana ran to the side of minivan. “Tippy! Tippy! Elyse, Tippy won’t get out of the car! Get him out of the car! Tippy!”
I ran to her side. He was in shock. His happy demeanor had disappeared. He was staring at us like strangers. I didn’t know what to do so I start running in circles in confusion.
“Lana! Fitz! Where is Fitz? Lana! Tippy get out of the car! Come on Tippy! Get out! Come on!”
“Elyse! Go find a phone and call Mom and Dad!”
I left her pleading with Tippy to get out of the car. As I was running up the hill to find a phone, I began to snap out it. I realized I was running barefoot, wearing no bra and no pants. Oh shit.
I knocked on the door of a yellow house. A man opened the door, and I was mortified. I was standing with my hands down trying to hide the fact that I was not wearing pants.
“Ummm…hi. Hi. I, uh, my sister and I were in an accident.” I pointed down the road. Through the steam of the car, I could see Lana running. She had managed to get Tippy out of the van and was now chasing him. I could hear her shouting in frustration as he galloped away.
“I need to use your phone.” I looked down again at my bare legs and feet embarrassed. I wished I had my pants.
As I waited for the phone, I turned to watch the scene unfold down the hill. The fire department and police had arrived. A few of them had taken over chasing Tippy. I could hear Lana shouting again. This time she was flailing her arms talking to the fire department. I could only make out pieces of what she was saying.
“…a car…ditch…Fitz!…bird gone…my sister…phone…”
I turned again to look up at the sky but my parents’ car caught my eye. Crap! I needed to catch them before they began to worry. I jumped off the porch, running and waving my arms. Lana was still shouting.
My parents stopped to pick me up. The looks on their faces were filled with concern.
“Where’s your sister?! What happened?! Are you okay?” They peppered me with questions as I crawled into the car.
“Yeah, we are okay. They are chasing Tippy and we can’t find Fitz. You wouldn’t belie…”
My Dad interrupted me mid sentence. “Where are YOUR PANTS Elyse?”
I looked down embarrassed again by my bare legs and feet. “Umm, they are still in car. We thought the car was going to blow up. We couldn’t turn it off and it was steaming. We were in a hurry. Ugh, okay, you were right! I should wear pants! I didn’t know. I didn’t know this was going to happen. I’m embarrassed. Ugh. Let’s go find Lana. She’s upset.”
I slumped in my seat as we drove down the hill to the scene of the accident. Why did he have to remind me? I was already embarrassed.
Lana had calmed down. The firemen had Tippy on a rope and were working with the tow truck to get the van out of the ditch. I ran over to give her a hug.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Yeah, I am. I’m really sorry. Are you sore?”
I was a lot. The seat belt had really dug into my chest and Tippy had knocked my head against the window. It was all starting to set in as the chaos subsided.
“Only a little,” I lied. She smiled as I grabbed her hand.
“Nice underwear by the way.” I couldn’t help but giggle. I really needed to start wearing pants regularly. My mom was right. I was too old to be running around like this.
In the distance, a fireman started shouting. “Stop! Stop pulling the car!” He crawled under the van reaching as far as he could.
He turned to look at Lana and me slowly raising his hand as if he won a gold medal. Sitting inside was a shaking bird covered in mud.
“FITZ!” We both yelled running toward him. I couldn’t believe he survived.
My parents came over to meet us. We all looked at each other relieved and ready to go home. My dad put his arms around Lana and me as we walked to the car. My mom held my hand.
As we pulled into the driveway of the blue house, my mom turned to look at me.
“Elyse, you really need to start wearing pants.”
“I know, Mom. I know.”
And I did. I have worn pants in the car ever since. It was a life lesson that I learned way too late but one that I’ll never forget.