I like to think of myself as a reasonably rational person, not prone to hysterics. I also like to think I’m Tori Amos or a veiled wood nymph at times, but neither persona would have saved me from myself last night as I drove my car alone in the dark.
I needed some quick raffle ticket money to give to my son before he left for his hockey practice, and since the cupboards were bare at home, I grabbed my keys, told Andrew I’d be back in ten and hopped in the car to find the nearest ATM.
As I pulled out of the driveway, I cranked the tunes and wailed along with Jeff Buckley, because that’s what middle-aged grownups do when their children aren’t shanghaiing the car stereo. Eternal Life got me all the way to Oakwood Avenue before I heard the first unnerving sound behind my seat.
Maybe it was daylight savings, that exhausting extra hour of consciousness I’d already put in, or perhaps it was the insulin shock from inhaling too many teeny-tiny chocolate bars last week. But whatever it was, my spidey senses were in overdrive.
The noise seemed to be getting louder the faster I went, so I turned down the volume and concluded that it must be coming from the back of the van. As I rolled to a cautious stop, the noise grew even louder and my mind immediately raced to rabid squirrels and all their rabid squirrel friends having jumped in the car when the hatch was left open to load hockey gear who were now trapped inside the car, totally sick of Jeff Buckley and wanting to gouge my eyes out.
With that certainty in mind, I jerked the car to a frenzied stop, opened the door and threw myself out onto the pavement, wheels still slightly turning. Then I did what any sensible woman would do: I called my husband, squealing like a schoolgirl and begged him to come rescue me.
I could make this ending a man vs. rodent victory salute. Or I could make the focus more on tidying up the crinkly discarded Tim Horton’s wrappers and loose soccer balls from inside the van. Not sure which way to go …
(But it SO could have been a rabid man-eating squirrel.)