There were two golden years when all four of my children attended the same school together. Each morning, our harried but single-route commute took us through the church parking lot adjoining their school. Most days we were cruising through just as the morning service was letting out.
And, most days, I almost killed the same 95-year-old woman as she walked to her car.
It’s not because I’m a reckless driver. In fact, much to many a passenger’s dismay, I can be a little too vigilant at times. Even now, living in a place where impatient drivers start honking before the light has turned green, I am heedful. My driving-permit opossum-killing days scarred me well.
So how did such a cautious, careful soul almost commit involuntary manslaughter on a nearly-daily basis?
It was the old bag’s fault.
She didn’t look. She didn’t hesitate. She just…went. And that granny with the get-up-and-go came out of nowhere. Like, seriously, she and her support hose would materialize in front of my car at the exact right (or wrong) moment no matter which row of parked cars I came from. And then she (and her hose) would stay there right in front of me, inching along as if part-turtle. As if half-sloth.
Now, I know this may all sound unkind, but trust me when I say it comes from a place of respect for her mettle and, anyway, you should have seen her face: A little smirk. A LOT of sass. Then an ornery expression would slowly replace the sass as she willed me (and others on many days) to “Make way, ” said the Queen. Or make her day.
Of course, I can only guess at the thoughts behind her recklessness, but here’s what I’m thinking:
She…JUST DIDN’T CARE!
Let me explain — teenagers and young adults can be said to not care (about their well-being, future, health, imminent eye-rolling injuries), because they think there is an invincible shield of protective space-metal surrounding them and all their foolishness. But my guess was that this finely-aged woman on the other end of the century spectrum figured that 1) Darn it, she’d earned the right-of-way! and 2), If this was going to be “it,” well, so be it.
At least in this particular parking lot, getting her last rites performed would be a logistical dream.
I’m not being flippant here. I was (and still am) in awe of this woman and her brassy ways. She was not timid. She was not afraid. She had a goal, and she was going to get to it, by gosh, despite the 4,000 pounds of machinery roaring (in a kitten-like kind of way) down her path.
When those two years of relative carpooling ease were over, we didn’t see this well-seasoned friend again. Our change of schedule may have been the cause. Or maybe the woman moved or no longer attended morning mass. Or, maybe…”it” came to pass.
Ten plus years later, I still think of her. Especially when I come across pedestrians with incomprehensible moxy.
What a crab! What a force!
But, man oh man, how I wish my cautious self could sometimes take such determined steps towards a goal. As if there were no consequences. As if I what I was reaching for was beyond the energy of worry or care.
Do you consider yourself a get-up-and-go-getter? Or, do you tend to teeter towards the timid side? Most importantly, have you ever accidentally run over a pedestrian? Please share in the comments!
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