I saw my life flash before my eyes.
Yes, it's a trite sentence, one we hear in novels, plays, films... but, as I sat there, paralyzed on a New York side street today, my hands clutching the steering wheel of a 2001 Saturn with 211,003 miles on it...a Saturn with a bad clutch and a 1st gear that flitted in and out of this dimension ....a Saturn that not only had Kansas plates; it didn't belong to me, it belonged to a friend of a friend, I didn't have my Land O'Utes license on me, I had no idea where the registration was, much less the ever moving 1st gear, the PARK place seemed miles away instead of only 50 feet, and I was stalled....on an intersection....in morning traffic.
Usually, I'll smile and wave and say, "I dont' live here!" not making eye contact, thus negating any hand signals or mouthed words that come my way. However, I've announced "Ich bein New Yorker!" I do live here.
I just don't drive here. HaHa always makes it Sound (heh) so easy when he talks about renting cars and zipping about.
Until today. Until forced by C to drop her off at the big hospital where she had to go sign in for her operation and then park the car myself. Not like she couldn't do it and let me sign in for her. I curse for her. I drink coffee for her. I'm her own personal Dorian Grey, ffs. But, noooooo, she has to do this particular thing herself, thus, we flash forward to me, in the stalled Saturn, with large, burly truck drivers making eye contact as I sit, paralyzed, wondering how to make the car move again.
Fortunately, my lessons learned in my junior year of high school came to my aid, and I got the thing started, jerking and jumping through the yellow light to the 'PARK' garage, where I left the beast in the care of Sayid.
I dashed back to the hospit...I stopped and got a coffee and bagel and then dashed back to the hospital that has a double name and found C. Just because she doesn't drink coffee and can't eat doesn't mean I don't and can't. It's not as if I hadn't been awakened at the crack of dawn, then driven down the Belt Parkway, careening along in the HOV lane (which we entered by mistake), neither of us able to see, me praying to whatever saint I could think of, with St. Edsel no longer on the table after Vatican II and the failure of the model, and my St. Chris medal given to Oddship, leaving me with a Saint who doesn't buy into my Saints. We passed five miles of stopped traffic, only to be pulled up by the PermaPass lane.
With the cop who was working her some gum.
I rolled down the window, smiled, and said, "We were fed into this lane... and there are miles of concrete barrie..."
"I don' think so. You're lyin' "
"Just admit it." chomp chew. "You're lyin'. You two are lyin'"
C starts waving her meticulously written instructions from the computer. "I followed the directions! I stayed to the left!"
"Ah huh" chew. chomp. "Just pay the toll. $4.50"
It was difficult to understand her over the 15 pieces of bubble gum in her mouth.
We gave her a five.
She kept the change.
I hope it was to pay for her future cavities.
At this point, we had no idea where we were. We cruised the FDR Parkway for a bit, then went down by the Ferry and Whitehall. It was a nice day to cruise.
A friendly limo driver had us follow him, and when we became lost again, I asked directions from a cement truck driver.
"YOUSE GO (RUMBLE TURN CHURN RUMBLE) AND YOUSE ARE THERE"
He was sweet when he smiled.
Eventually, we'd found the hospital, and thus, ended up with me and my life flashing, etc.
C was taken in for her operation, I found out I could play with computers, and of course, went straight to my site, cruised to Bee's to check on updates (finally!) and had my name called... leaving the computer, grabbing my coffee (they had the neatest coffee machine. I want one) and heading back.
It was time to bring C home.
I could hear the theme from Jaws. I'd have to drive. From Manhattan to Brooklyn... with a sick woman, and no idea how or where or why I had to do this, where I was going, no, no NO.
Then, I heard it... dulcet tones, a voice saying, "Quin! I took the train down, thought you might need help." It was A.O.... she who owned the car.
In the end, I was able to dress C, get more coffee, and steer her drugged body into the now compliant Saturn.
We all slept once we reached Brooklyn, I met up with a new director for a theater group I'll work with for a bit, and the Saturn and I agreed to never meet with me in the drivers seat again.
I'm good with that.