Jeez Louise

wile e coyote

I always thought if you skidded you went sideways, but I didn’t go sideways on that horrible day of icy roads and freezing rain that we had last month in northern New England.

On that day, with conditions so treacherous the state ran out of tow trucks, my car didn’t go the way I asked at all but jackrabbited instead , straight into a tree.

Never mind that I was turning the wheel.

Never mind that I had braked with extra care.

But if the car didn’t go sideways over the last two months, just about everything else around here did – even before we got to the seven feet of snow.

For one thing, everyone in my family got sick and some of us got Technicolor sick.

I was one of the lucky ones: My kind of sick just had me laid out like Lenin in his tomb for most of our family vacation, aware only dimly of various kind family members circling through to bring me food I could not eat.

Then, for the week following, I couldn’t sleep, because my air passages were so packed with what felt like concrete.

Then, for two weeks after that, I couldn’t wake up.

Also, for most of those weeks, I couldn’t read.

I couldn’t iron, though ironing has always helped me calm myself in the midst of every kind of personal shipwreck. I would LOOK at the iron propped on the windowsill and sink, ‘How do you suppose that thing works?’ I would LOOK at the TVs darkened screen and think, “Weren’t there some sort of beguiling images or something that used to emit from there?

And there is more: My little grandson broke his leg badly enough that he’ll be in walkin’ like Captain Ahab ‘til the tulips come up. 

My sister fell and broke her pelvis.

And I caught two toes on a piece of medical equipment at the doctor’s office – in the doctor’s very office! – painfully spraining them both.

Someplace in there, chiefly out of a sense of compassion for my salt-and-sand encrusted vehicle, I pulled into our local carwash, but did so such a way that the two guys manning the place began yelling and waving their soapy long-handled brushes around wildly.

Why? Why were they yelling? They were yelling because though I had glided nicely into place, settling my wheels just so in those two wheel-receiving troughs they have, I had then proceeded to throw the car smartly into Reverse and step on the accelerator.

Then, in the ensuing panic, I stepped on the brake and leaned on the set of four buttons that open all the windows.

So now every time I go to the car wash, the guys there take one look at my approaching vehicle and start yelling right away. “Neutral!” they go, waving their funny brushes. “Put it in Neutral!” They get so worked up every single time jeez Louise.

But me, I just look at it like this: At least I didn’t try going in sideways.

11 thoughts on “Jeez Louise

  1. It’s been going around. People down here have been hugging the porcelain bowl, or just keeping it warm or both. We have been spared so far. Saturday we got six inches of snow, Sunday the temp went up to 50 degrees, Monday in the 20s and today we’re on the minus side. We love our mountains, but love our brine covered all wheel drive more. You’re all in my prayers.

  2. Terry – well that made my day hearing about your episode in the car wash. It made me recall an incident I’ve not thought of in eons – my first car, a VW Super Beetle, that I got brand-new in 1973. It was a lemon from the start – rolled down the driveway and into the driveway across the street the first night home. It was a two-speed stick with no clutch and you only shifted over 55. I took it to the car wash and drove it in, put it in neutral and away we went … only there was malfunction in the car wash mechanism and suddenly the water quit pelting down, the swishy-sudsy fingers quit slapping and I heard a tapping on the driver’s side window … you know you kind of get into that rhythm and I relaxed for a few seconds. Mechanism was broken and not fixable with a switch and I was told to put it in Drive and head on out … couldn’t get it to go into “D” … the four burly guys had to try to pick up, then push and shove the *&^% car on the rails to get it out of the cubicle. From that point forward I washed it by hand. Sorry for your bouts of medical ailments – that is no fun either and doesn’t it seem that just everything is compounded by the Winter weather? I had that same VW Beetle my first season of Winter driving. I was gong along a rural road enroute to take exams at school. Hit a patch of ice, went this way and that, zigged mor than I should have zagged I guess and spun around – whee! Luckily I did not end up in a ditch – have been a Winter driving weenie ever since and ended up taking the bus downtown for the next 30 odd years. March is coming – it will be better.

    1. Well that is one amazing story my dear! The image of the four guys carrying you and your quirky little bug out of the car wash is like something out of the Flintstones!! Tell you what, I’m a weenie about more and more. How did I have a volunteer to go up in space on the shuttle? What was I thinking?!

      1. You’re right – a scene out of Bedrock (whoops – we just dated ourselves unless we say we saw it on Nickelodeon). You are a braver woman than I am Terry Marotta. Enjoy those island breezes.

  3. What a great way to start my day, reading this wonderfully comic piece. With snow weariness exerting drag on me, the burst of laughter that burst out while reading this made my day. Not that any of this was funny while it was happening, but it’s all in the telling. Terry – you are a master!

  4. Do not skid on the morning of New Year’s Eve. That is something I did, ending up in a 360 degree turn, and smashing into a bus stop pole on the way. Calling the T headquarters to confess is a no-no. For the two men taking turns talking on the phone had already had one too many. They laughed and laughed, like Little Audrey of yore. They even asked if I planned to sue. After I hung up, I never heard another word from the T about the accident. I wonder how much those poles cost.

  5. The line that follows “Why? Why were they yelling?” had me in stitches even before I read about “throwing the car smartly into reverse”. Love it when try to control out of control laughter!

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