Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Our Near Death Experience

One of the down sides to being a pet owner (there are not many) is ensuring they are cared for and loved while their humans go on vacation.  We recently found a wonderful pet sitter who simply adores our cat, and I can now go away knowing he'll be comfy in his own home, with his own bed, his own litter box, his own food, etc.

However, before meeting our cat sitter, my husband Bob and I dragged my poor kitty Aden, kicking and screaming, to a local kennel.  The only advantage to putting up with his cries of  "Why me?" as we drove to the kennel, was the knowledge that we would be rewarded with dinner at a nearby restaurant that serves the best cheese filled bread this side of the Mississippi.

After sadly bidding a fond farewell to Aden, Bob, my daughter Melissa, who had recently turned nine (she is now 14) and I jumped back into the car, looking forward to chomping on the cheese bread!  It had been over a year since we had visited this restaurant, and Bob and I were not entirely sure of the best route to go from Point A to Point B.  (Yes, it is hard to imagine not simply plugging in our trusty ole GPS Unit, which had not yet been introduced for consumer use)

We made our way onto the highway, and soon noticed the giant sign alerting us that yes, indeed, right here, on this very spot, stood the restaurant we had been searching for!  The only problem was, although the sign stood out clear as day, we were completely perplexed as to how to get from one side of the highway to the other side, where the entrance teasingly beckoned.

Bob made a u-turn, drove a bit, then made another u-turn, as I navigated, keeping the giant sign in my visual range.  Suddenly, Bob realized the entrance couldn't be more than a few feet away.  All he needed to do was make another turn and drive straight into the driveway.  Only problem, before steering the car into the parking lot, he had to cross over a road full of non-stop, oncoming traffic.

I should pause in my story for one moment to share that I rarely trust Bob's driving skill.  It is an ongoing bone of contention in our marriage.  (To be fair, the feeling is mutual, and he says I could benefit from 10 more years of driving school)  Bob thinks I am too cautious, while I feel he is too aggressive.  As a passenger I tend to needlessly jump, yelp, gasp, or scream when I think Bob is about to cause a major collision.  These reactions (or overreactions, as it were), usually cause Bob to slam on the brakes, nearly causing the accident I had fretted about, and making him extremely angry!

So, when Bob began to drive, full speed ahead, into what he perceived to be the entrance to the restaurant, overwhelming instinct told me he did not realize he had to cross over a road with oncoming traffic.  Thankfully, I let out a BLOOD CURDLING SCREAM, forcing him to slam on the brakes.  Had he continued, our car, and every precious thing in it, would have been slammed, head on, by dozens of cars travelling upwards of 60 miles per hour.

If I hadn't screamed......

We sat in silence, trembling, watching the traffic whiz by, and trying to comprehend just how close we had come to a tragic demise.  Fortunately, in the back seat, Melissa had not been a first-hand witness to the incident, sparing her from the rush of relief now flooding our emotions.  A few moments later, the steady stream of cars subsided, and Bob cautiously made his way across the road and into the entrance.

Still deep in thought, we made our way into the restaurant and followed the friendly hostess to our table.  However, neither of us picked up the menu, our desire for cheese bread momentarily kept at bay by the still fresh memory of our near death experience.  Bob looked at Melissa, then at me, his eyes expressing the horror he tried hard to hide.

"I could have gotten us killed," he said, full of remorse and pain.

I reached across the table and placed my hand on top of his.  "Shake it off," I said, trying to convince myself as well.  "It just wasn't our time."

I would not describe myself as religious, however, at that moment, I visualized God sitting up in heaven with an enormous book, the book of death.  I imagined God looking through the pages until he reached the name "Weinstein", shaking his (or her) head and saying, "Nope, not ready for them yet.  Better make Lisa scream."

That's it.  As matter of fact as it sounds, it just wasn't our time.  The thought provided some measure of comfort, and allowed us to come to terms with what had happened.  Fate, or God, or perhaps just coincidence, had prevented our untimely death.

Our meal came, and we tried, at least for Melissa's sake, to downplay the incident and enjoy our long-awaited cheese bread.  Gradually, our hands stopped shaking, our hearts began to beat a bit slower, and we were able to embrace the moment, a simple dinner together, happy to be alive.

Now, when I flinch, jump, or shout while Bob is at the wheel, he no longer expresses his anger, for he is reminded of how my overreaction nearly five years ago, literally saved our lives.

Quite simply, it just wasn't our time.
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  1. Whoa. Totally felt like I was in the car with you! Wow, that must have been terrifying. Really love your visual of God up there in Heaven saying "better make Lisa do that thing her Hubs hates..." Haha! You're such a good story teller. :)

  2. Thanks so much Melissa! It really was scary, makes you sit back and really appreciate what you have!!

  3. Lisa, your posts always make me smile. I think every couple has discord in the car, each partner terrified when the other is driving. I have accepted the fact that both my husband and my mother are likely to die in car accidents because their driving scares the hell out of me. Glad you all made it! Who would I tease about bats, ticks,etc. without you in my life?

    1. So another thing we have in common Cindy, hubbies with bad driving skills!

  4. Wow, Lisa, what a story. And as scary as it seems, you tell it so well and find a way to milk it for laughs. The whole bit about God, saying, better make Lisa scream. Very very funny!

    I'm glad you all came out of it the better for it, appreciating all the more what you have together.

  5. Lisa, that sounds like a harrowing experience, to say the least! I think Aden may have been glad to have been left at the kennel! hee hee! I'm relieved that while this was a close call, nothing happened and you're now able to laugh about it. Thank goodness for your overreaction! :)

    1. Well, the best part is that now Bob can't get made at me for screaming anymore...since my scream saved our lives!!