Since November is over, I basically had this conversation with myself today. But even though my pledge to write a post a day in November is officially over, it felt wrong to just not write anything. Although I might not do a post a day now (because let’s face it, I think no post is better than a lame, half-baked one) I’ll still write frequently. After all, I couldn’t bear to disappointment my loyal readers (Mom & Megan).
It is the first of December, so it is only fitting that it snowed today. Not a lot, just flurries off and on. All in all, I don’t mind snow. What I do mind is ice.
I think what this stems back to is two things. First is my proclivity for hurting myself. I’ve slipped on ice plenty of times but thankfully it has never caused any severe repercussions. Still, it has made me overly cautious when it comes to walking in potentially icy places. I probably walk half as fast as I usually do, to the point I occasionally just shuffle along until I am somewhere I know is safe to walk.
Secondly, when Mom was in college, there was a time she slipped on black ice and broke her ankle. It was so bad she heard it crack when she fell. There are still scars on her ankle from it. They look a bit like a centipede. Because of her scars and my own curiosity, there hasn’t been a time in my life that I can remember that I didn’t know this story. And because I already inherited so many other random things from Mom, there is a part of me that is convinced that this will happen to me at some point in my life as well. Every winter I think, “this is it, this is the year I too finally fall and break my ankle.”
My fear of falling on the ice only makes my actions after getting my wisdom teeth removed all the stranger. It was December of my senior year and the day after Christmas break started, I was in to get my teeth out.
I was a little apprehensive about the surgery, partially because I had accidentally bitten the Dentist during my pre-op appointment. He had his hands in my mouth and Mom was making faces at me behind his back. I smiled and laughed and my teeth naturally came together. Of course, Mom then pretended she had done nothing, making me look like a crazy person.
Despite our previous altercations, the Dentist did a great job. I didn’t actually see him at all that day, he waited until after I was sedated and left before I woke up. I know that because my one question I kept repeating to Mom was “did the Dentist even come? Did I miss him?” Probably because I wanted to apologize.
For some reason, I was paranoid that we weren’t going to have enough gauze for the gaping holes in my mouth and made Mom stop at Walmart on the way home to buy more. She made me promise to stay in the car and made sure I had my phone in my hands before she left.
A few things happened while she was in the store. First, I used the phone she had made sure was in my hand to take a very unflattering selfie to send to my friends with the caption, “see, I’m fine!” I vaguely remember doing this because I legitimately thought I looked fine in the picture. But I forgot as soon as I sent it and only remembered when one of my friends showed up at the house the next day and showed me the picture. Which I promptly made her delete off of her phone.
We were parked towards the back of the lot and, like I said, it was the middle of December. There was snow and ice all throughout the parking lot. I was safe and warm in the car and intended to stay that way until Mom got back. But then, a lady pulled her car into the spot directly in front of us.
The lady was older and short, as well as a little heavy set. I sat there in my half-drugged state and watched as she parked her car, checked her hair in the mirror, then opened her door to get out. She was half way out of the car with one foot on the ground when she started to slip. It wasn’t too sudden of a slip, but that kind of slow slip that you feel coming but are powerless to really stop.
I watched as she grabbed frantically onto the door of her car, one foot still inside and the other slowly slipping. She kind of froze in that position and I knew, I knew I had to save her. Despite the ice that coated the parking lot and despite my own impaired function and paralyzing fear of falling, I had to brave it in order to save her.
I fumbled with the seat-belt and shoved the car door open.
“Do you need help” I asked as I rushed towards her.
Or at least that’s what I thought I said. It probably came out more like “Dounehurghhp?”
Because my mouth was still full of bloody gauze that was spilling out the front of it and I was still very drugged.
She looked at me with a mixture of confusion and horror. Clearly, her horror was due to her predicament and not anything to do with me. The fear was making it hard for her to understand.
“Dounerehurglpp?” I asked again, advancing towards her.
In a remarkable feat of strength, she let go of her car with one hand and used it to wave me away, while still clutching the car with her other hand.
I assumed that the “no” was in response to my question, not just a protestation or plea for me to get away from her.
As she waved me away, I stood there a bit dazed, simultaneously a bit insulted that she didn’t want my help and impressed with her ability to hold herself up with one only one hand. While I was standing there gaping at her, one of the cart collectors happened upon us. I can only imagine what he thought of the scene, her frantically trying to get me to leave her alone and me, a bloody-mouthed monster advancing towards her making unintelligible noises.
He rushed to her aid and helped her regain her balance without falling on the ice and took over the role of waving me away.
“I’ve got this taken care of, please return to your car.”
I complied and sat a bit dejectedly in the front seat and watched the two of them gloomily through the front window. I’m sure this helped them realize that I was simply a concerned citizen trying to do my civic duty and not some crazy high teenager that wanted to kill her and take her purse.
When Mom returned to the car, I told her my sad tale. She wasn’t pleased that I had gotten out of the car and walked in the snow and ice to try and save that lady. I tried to explain that “I couldn’t just let her die Mom,” but she failed to see the heroism in my actions. She simply shook her head and buckled me back up before driving us home.
Perhaps it was just the drugs or maybe it is just because younger me was much nicer, but there is part of me that believes that if I was faced with the same predicament today, I would just let that lady fall. Because all is fair in love and war and when there is ice in the parking lot.