Friday, January 02, 2009

Stupid Thing of the Week

So, for the holidays, my unemployed uncle brought his kids to stay with my mom, and I saw a great deal of them. It's fair to say that I despise one of these cousins, dislike another, and actually enjoy the company of the oldest one.

But my mother doesn't look favourably on me when I don't like or tolerate someone, and she asked me (and my sister) to spend time with my uncle's fifteen year old daughter. She's at that age (and has been for the last couple years) where everything sucks, and nobody can say anything she finds worth listening to, and prefers to be off by herself text messaging her friends and glaring at everyone. I was that age once, sure, but I seem to remember being depressed a lot and just wishing I could hang out with people and get out of my tiny one-horse town.

Well, today, my uncle asked what he'd have to pay me to go to my sister's and pick his daughter up. I didn't really want to go, but I didn't want to be bribed either (though when he offered me twenty bucks, I thought that was pretty tempting), and my mom seemed to think it would be a great gesture if I drove two towns over to get my cousin. I did, and thinking fondly back to when I was fifteen, and my Uncle John let me practice driving his VW Rabbit, I asked my cousin if she wanted to drive my car, at least part of the way home.

She didn't know how to turn on the lights or signal, and tended to go twenty in a thirty mile an hour zone, but I gave her encouragement and suggested improvements as we drove, leaning over to help her turn the wheel when she made a turn.

"Okay," I said, "Let's get on the freeway now." She had never driven on the freeway and seemed really unsure about it, but I told her the freeway was just like where she was already driving, but there was no opposing traffic or stop signs. We neared the freeway entrance, and I told her to turn onto it--no, she didn't have to stop, and it would be better if she sped up a little--and she turned right onto the ramp.

She didn't listen to me on the speed, and there were cars lining up behind us to get on the freeway also. I told her to turn off her blinker and go a little faster, and that up ahead, we'd be merging to the left. Well, she got the first two out of the way, but we were still in the far right lane, and it was rapidly becoming a freeway exit, so I told her, "Okay, you're going to need to merge into the lane now before it's too--"

She jerked the wheel.

Time seemed to slow down as she pulled into the lane--without signalling--and the car that was there swerved to avoid us. I'm not a religious man, but it is a bona fide miraculo that we did not slam into that car.

It got out of our way and my cousin continued to drive, asking which lane she was supposed to be in. I didn't have an answer for a moment, still reeling in recognition of that close call, and thinking about the damage that should have caused.

I told her to speed up, at least to fifty-five, then took a deep breath. I don't smoke, but wow, was I ever jonesing for about a pack and a half of cigarettes at that moment. Strange.

My cousin drove on. I don't think she even realised there was a car there, let alone how close she came to hitting it, and I didn't think it was worth it to start screaming, but I just asked her to take the first exit and switch me back, and seethed silently for a minute or two, before I told her we should probably try again another day.

I'm thinking Judgment Day, somewhere around then.

Rish "Babysitter of the Year" Outfield

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