So why can’t I sleep tonight? Highly likely that it is the lack of physical movement. My body has been in near hibernation mode for two days, and that means it isn’t really tired. Taking care of that tomorrow. I have already planned a walk for Thor and me.
We lived in Colorado when I was a toddler, and frequently, Mom and I would walk from our row house on base to the BX. For the uninitiated, a BX/PX is your Base (Air Force or Naval, which house Marines) or Post (Army) Exchange. It’s something like a Target, and it’s where you do most of your shopping. There is also a commissary, and that’s where you do your grocery shopping.
One particular day, when I was about three, Mom and I headed out to the BX in a light flurry of snow. Halfway there, the light flurry became a blizzard. We managed to make it in to the store, and Mom bought what she could to bundle me up to face the storm going home, got what she needed, and we started out again. Major effing blizzard.
We were on the sidewalk, trying to make our way, when we hit some ice. My feet went flying out from under me and I went down flat on my back, knocking the air out of me. Mom went down on top of me, landing on her elbows and knees to keep from crushing me, but I got a little smushed in the process.
The last thing I had seen before falling was a parked car, and I was convinced that car had hit me. You could not tell me that car hadn’t run over me. I remember it like it just happened. I was bound and determined, and rather hysterical about having been run over by a car. Mom tried and tried to explain to me that she was what had fallen on me, not a car, but I would have none of it. She even showed me that the car was still parked and had not moved. This shook my resolve somewhat, but I just knew that car was what had knocked me down in the first place. Fortunately, right about then Dad drove by, saw us, and took us home in the car.
I was thinking about that as I picked my way over ice to our mailbox today. It’s funny how the brain works.
Another blizzard story.
Boom, Grandma and I were driving from Dallas to Colorado Springs to visit my Aunt Becky’s family one year. I was twelve–I remember this because I had just had surgery on my big toe, and my cousin James, then just a toddler himself, kept stomping it. I love you, James.
We were doing fine until we hit Oklahoma, and a blizzard came out of nowhere, dumping snow like someone had just opened up the sky. I was fine with it, sitting in the back seat with Oscar, their boxer, to keep me warm. I had my Donkey Kong game, and played that until Boom told me it was going to drive him nuts. Then, I started writing and reading aloud my awful, twelve-year-old poetry about the landscape, between spurts of talking to bored truck drivers on the CB radio.
As I recall, Boom was very tense, trying to drive through the weather, and Grandma was unusually cheerful. My grandmother was rarely what you would call merry. On this drive, she was so chipper, had I known the word, I’d have called her manic. As she would tell it for years to come, “Having Laney in the backseat was all that saved me from going crazy. I wanted to claw my way out of that car, but I knew I couldn’t scare Laney.” I always found this amusing because she could have clawed her way out of the car and it wouldn’t have upset me at all. Boom was driving. That was all I needed to know. If John Young was driving the car, I was safe as houses.
I did think about that the other day when Thor and I were walking.
I don’t like tunnels. I think it’s a touch of claustrophobia, and a touch of having watched one too many thrillers where people meet awful fates in tunnels that add up to my sense of unease whenever I’m in one. And the echoes freak me out.
Thor, on the other hand, has never seen a thriller, so he thinks tunnels are awesome. He also loves making echoes. So, we take the tunnels. Sometimes. Sometimes I can’t bear it, and we take the stairs. Sorry, little guy.
On our way home the other day, I had miscalculated the time, and we arrived at the last tunnel at dusk. This meant a nearly pitch black tunnel, save for the light at the end of it. And this was a tunnel we had to take. Not. Happy. Thor was even a little nervous. I thought, “We’ve got to get through here, and I can’t let him know how scared I am.” And I thought of Grandma and that blizzard.
So, we focused on how cool the lights on Thor’s shoes looked in the dark, and I wondered aloud how fast they could flash, so he ran and I ran with him. And we came out laughing. Well, he was laughing, I was what you might have called a little manic.