You know how none of my childhood stories are relatable? Well, here’s another one…
Once upon a time…no, I’m just kidding. This story is neither magical nor adorable. It is, however, true.
I was an enchanted child. Wait, that might not be the right word. What’s the nice way to say “tends to wander and not focused, and also has no awareness of her surrounding”? Probably “adorable”, am I right?
So I had a bike, which was absolutely the last thing my parents should have given me. They should have spent that money investing in a fence, or some sort of child-tracking device because I was unintentional trouble.
I was out on my bike alone, riding laps around the neighborhood. You know, like children did back in the days of yore. I was on my second trip, cruising down the big scary hill when I saw something. An eagle.
And I kept seeing it, because I kept staring up at the sky. You know…while I was careening down the huge, windy hill. But I was 8-ish and invincible and so I kept watching the eagle. And that’s the reason I didn’t see the car.
Yes: I got hit by a car.
Okay wait, my conscience is saying that sentence is misleading. Let me make a correction. I WAS hit by a car. That car, however, was not moving. It was parked on the curb. But it sure as hell hit me.
Now, let’s solve this word problem together:
If Tracy is traveling down a hill at a rate of 5 miles per hour, and a three ton piece of metal hits her bike, what happens to Tracy?
If you answered “she flips OVER the car and uses her face to slow her momentum” than you are correct and you win… nothing because I think we’re all losers in that situation.
So there I lay in the grass, a bit startled and bleeding from what felt like my entire body. Motionless in my neighbors yard I looked up at the sky, thinking “well, I don’t really want to walk all the way home. Plus I’m sure all my bones are broken. And I know Lauren and Sean will find some way to make fun of me for this, though I am clearly not at fault in this situation.” And so I settled into that ditch, which was now my home.
…until the strange man in a van pulled up.
Seeing a bleeding child lying in the ditch, he hopped out and helped me up. And then I GOT IN THE STRANGER’S VAN! Children of the 90’s, I got in the van!!! This is the day I learned that I was totally abductable! How am I not chained to a radiator somewhere? I got in the damn van! He didn’t even offer me any candy, I just got in. Bleeding and crying, I got in the van!
Now thank goodness this turned out to be a neighbor I just didn’t yet know and not a deviant with a blue dot over his house on the Amber alert registry. He did take me to my house. But that opened up a whole new set of issues….
Imagine with me for a moment that you are a parent. You are sitting at home enjoying a quiet moment and suddenly the doorbell rings. You answer the door. There is a mysterious van in your driveway. There is a man standing in front of you whom you do not know. Beside that stranger is your child, who is covered in blood. You begin to ask yourself several questions. Questions like “what the hell” and also “she’s only been gone ten minutes, how has something already gone wrong?” Then you ask “where did all that blood come from” and “whose blood is it” and “when was the last time she got a tetanus shot” and “why did I let her go out into the world again” and “why is this particular child always doing weird things”. That is what happened to my father that day.
This is the day that my family learned that I was kidnappable. And clumsy. And…um…what is the nice way to say “makes unreliable choices but her wounds clot quickly?” Probably “super hero”, am I right?