An Uncapped Pen

November 7, 2008

Don’t Blink

Filed under: About Me — cindylv @ 5:51 am
Tags: , ,

Twenty four years ago today (11/6/84), I left the Army.  I was married to my first husband, living in base housing, had just signed up for classes at Cochise Community College, and was considering a job offer with a Defense Contractor.  I had two cats (Cookie and Esther) and was driving a Yamaha Riva motorized scooter.  A few weeks later, my husband took me to visit his mother in Lima, Peru for Christmas.  We also visited Arequipa and Cuzco.  Unfortunately, I got terribly sick and wound up in a hospital for a few days with some sort of intestinal infection.  Hospitals in third world countries were not quite was I’d expected!

I recovered, and within the space of a few months, I was working for the contractor, separated from my husband, living in a crappy apartment, and I bought my very first brand new car–a 1985 Ford Escort.  I actually had a choice of two cars at the dealer.  One was a red, two-door model with an automatic transmission, and the other was a white, four-door with a stick shift.  I’d never driven a manual transmission before, but the blue stripe on the car matched my favorite blue espadrilles, so I picked the white, four-door.  I named her “Peppy.” And I forced the salesman teach me how to drive stick before I’d sign the agreement.

The first weekend I had Peppy,  I decided to wash and wax her.  I managed to maneuver her into the carwash station in my apartment complex (I still wasn’t all that confident with the clutch) and got busy.  After washing and waxing the exterior, I decided to fold down the back seat to reconfigure the full cargo area.  When I lifted up the bottom of the back seat, I discovered a complete back window on the floor of the car in about one thousand pieces.  (Something awful happened to Peppy during shipping, apparently.)

After I recovered from the shock of seeing all that broken glass in my new car, I decided to take Peppy for a drive on the open road (instead of just sticking to the parking lot at my apartment complex).  I drove out Charleston Road toward Tombstone, then I took highway 80 tthrough St. David back toward Huachuca City, then home to Sierra Vista.  About 10 minutes into the drive, I started experiencing intense anxiety.  I just knew I was going to get caught.

My heart raced, my breathing was rapid and shallow.  On the verge of hyperventilating, I shifted into neutral, slammed on the brakes, and pulled to a stop on the shoulder.  I got out, threw up in the desert and burst into tears.  And I had no idea why. 

After walking around for a few minutes, kicking some weeds and yelling at cactus, I got back in and started her up again.  I drove straight home.  I don’t know what I was afraid of, what I was afraid of “getting caught doing” or who was going to “catch me”, I just knew I was in trouble for something.   Guilty.  Of something I didn’t know.  Over time, I learned how to drive stick and made several successful road trips to California, Northern Arizona and even Mexico a copule of times–all by myself, without being afraid.

Twenty four years later, I am married again, have two cats (Pumpkin and Jax), and a dog (Bailey).  I graduated college and live in Las Vegas.  I drive a pickup (white, four-doors and no stripes, with an automatic transmission).  I think nothing of jumping into my truck and driving anywhere I darn well please.  I take a different route to work as often as I can.  I drive everywhere, and I even volunteered to drive my boss’s car to Chicago by myself a few years ago.  I planned the route,  picked out a few cds, packed my stuff and hit the road with my AAA TripTik–all by myself.  What a fantastic trip!  However, I still drove straight there–too afraid to deviate and maybe experience an accidental adventure, I guess. 

However, I’m not going to Peru this Christmas. I’d rather go to Austin and see my grandson. 

Twenty four years is a long time.  I’m a different person, living a different life.

Twenty fours years.  The blink of an eye.

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