Thursday, August 28, 2008

at least i'm not dead

on and off for the past few months i have been teaching another one of the somali women to drive. i taught one of the ladies a year or so ago and it went relatively well--she now has her license and a car and she's a very competent driver. the one i'm teaching now, however, isn't that good. after she drove (poorly) several times in the cemetery, she made it very clear to me that the other person who was helping her drive was taking her on the road, so i needed to do that too. so we did that a few times. after driving a few times (and ramping a few curbs) we were definitely seeing improvement. but because i was still feeling like i was taking my life in my hands every time i went out with her behind the wheel, i started resorting to every excuse under the sun why i couldn't drive with her anymore. "oh no, there's too much traffic on the roads tonight." "oh sorry, our car needs some repairs." (that one was true) "oh, i am taking the kids to the library and then i have to run home." i had several successful and reckless-african-driving-car-shock-free weeks by using this method. but my friend was getting restless. so finally last week i said, next week, i promise we'll drive.

and promises are one of those things i'm a stickler for. if there is any way on God's green earth that i can keep a promise, i will. so, needless to say as this week went by i was dreading and double dreading thursday, when i would have to venture in the car with my friend.

as i was leaving work tonight i was explaining my predicament to a coworker and i ended the conversation (laughing) as i approached my car saying, if i don't show up for work tomorrow it's because i died in a car accident.

so i go to the somalis. and for a minute i think i can avoid taking her driving. they have company and the kids have a lot of homework they need help with. so i'm quick to be all "oh! i'll help you. take out your books." but as the hour rolls along, my driving friend starts asking, "when are we going to drive? when are we going to drive?" so i give in.

i make it clear that i'd rather just take her to a parking lot where she can practice the fundamentals but i give in (with moderate pressure) to allow her to drive to the parking lot because it's just around the corner. wouldn't you know, as we are pulling out of their apartment complex she freaks out, gets mixed up between brake and gas and drives our car into a ditch. yea, actually, that's slightly inaccurate. she was hitting the gas so hard we actually ramped the ditch and ended up straddling it.

the good news is that it coulda been a whole hella lot worse. we could've actually landed in the ditch and then perhaps flipped the car or totaled it or gotten seriously hurt. despite the fact that i had a back seat full of kids, and that they are notorious for slipping their seat belts off when they think i'm not looking, everyone had a belt on and no one was hurt. i also got to witness the kindness of strangers in an area of town which is notorious for gang violence and petty theft.

the good new also is that i won't have make up any excuses not to drive with her anymore.


St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

Sounds like your guardian angel (and the angels for the kids) did a good job tonight.

Is your car functional? We've got one available to borrow if you need to have yours checked out or repaired.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness - I'm glad all of you are OK! wow...


Waldie said...

thanks for the offer, steliz. we took the car in today and even more miraculously, there's no real damage! can you imagine!? other than the dented and bent-up front bumper (which we're going to skip on fixing) we've got nothing! good thing we waited on contacting our insurance agents.