Sunday, October 26, 2008

Skeleton in the closet

Every year during the week of Halloween I am reminded of an event that has always haunted me to the core of my being. Throughout the rest of the year the memory is a mere nuisance - a recollection that can be stuffed into my subconscious mind. But today however, I'm feeling a little brave. After you read this - breathe a long sigh of relief that this never happened to you. If it did happen to you - I'll be shocked - but I will be happy to have found my kindred spirit. We can be BFF's.

For those of you who don't know this part of my past - enjoy. I expect to be mocked. It's okay - I'm bracing myself. I can take it. I'm willing to get this over with so that I can lock it back up into the past where it belongs.

I should mention too - that as far as embarrassing stories go - this is at the top of my list - but doesn't even scratch the surface of the mortifying event that
Jennifer H. endured. (Go read her story - your self esteem will be boosted and you will sing HALLELUJAH that this didn't happen to you).

At the end of this post you will see why I am especially spooked this year.

But first - take a minute to enjoy this gem from the 80's.

The event happened exactly 22 years ago, during the week of Halloween, while I was a sophomore in High School.

I was taking Driver's Ed at Hillcrest High. We were on the range at the school practicing stops, turns, and parallel parking. We all drove around in the school's driver's ed cars - hideous Dodge Darts (I actually don't remember what kind of cars they were - I just remember they looked like they withstood years of abuse from young students learning how to drive). However, that year the school purchased a brand spanking new Pontiac Grand Am. It was beautiful to behold and we all fought for a turn driving it.

It was my turn to drive it.

It is important to note that I had previously been driving the ugly Dodge Dart. I parked the car and ran over to the Grand Am for my 'turn' driving it.

Oh, how I wish I could turn back time.

I hopped into the Grand Am. I'm sure I was beyond myself with excitement to be able to drive it. I enjoyed a nice leisurely drive on the range for a few minutes. I knew I would have to give up the Grand Am in a few minutes to the next student and I just didn't want to let go.

The driver's ed instructor told me to pull into a parking space in front of a light pole, stop, and then back out of the parking place. BTW - I was alone in the car. The instructor stood on top of a tower and barked his orders at us.

I thought this task was a piece of cake. Easy cheesy.

Here is where it gets a little fuzzy in my mind. Chen and Bean - you probably remember the 'incident' better than anybody - please feel free to correct me if I have purposefully left out overlooked glaring facts. Be nice.

I pulled into the parking place. At the end of the parking place was a light pole. I realized I was going a little too fast and knew I would have to push on the brake pedal or I would end up hitting the light pole. I quickly pushed the brake - hard - and realized TO MY HORROR - that I confused the gas pedal and the brake. I pushed the gas pedal and drove the car INTO THE LIGHT POLE.

Okay. Breathe. I'm getting a little worked up reliving this horrible event.

I don't remember the details that followed. I just remember the eyes. EYES! Eyes belonging to my fellow students - staring at me as I sobbed. I sobbed uncontrollably as the realization of what I did became clear. I mangled the front end of the brand new Grand Am. Then, in a flash, my mommy was there. Thank goodness for loving and wonderful mommies.

I spent the rest of the year trying to downplay the incident. Luckily I had wonderful friends who laughed at me rather than shunning me for life. By the end of the year - it was mostly forgotten - until the yearbook came out and on the center page was a lovely color photo of the mangled wreck.

I looked for my yearbooks and unfortunately I think they are buried in the dungeon basement. No worries - I think I've supplied you with enough arsenal to launch a pretty healthy attack of scorn and mockery at me.

Why am I bringing this up? My charming, handsome, and adorable son is taking driver's ed right now. Shudder.

Connor - I forgive you if you slam into a light pole.

To everyone else - please share your most awful, embarrassing skeletons in your closet.