Freeway StupidityWhen I was a freshman in college, five friends and I were in an extremely crowded coupe on the way to General Conference. In the middle of our uncomfortable car ride, a man in his mid-to-late twenties pulled up beside us and started making incomprehensible hand motions. We goggled at him cluelessly for a bit, guessing translations that had to do with broken car parts or dresses hanging out the door. It was I who finally guessed that he was offering to take half of our passengers.
But being about seventeen at the time, we decided to take the next exit and exchange a few passengers. I and another girl went. I cannot believe the idiocy it took to do that. I mean, how many times did my mom tell me (starting from when I was still in the womb) NOT to get into cars with strangers? He could have totally been an axe murderer. He could have taken us into the mountains and kept us as his woodland slaves in some creepy pre-industrial society he was trying to build by kidnapping idiots on the freeway.
But instead of inducting us into his cult or murdering us, he told us all about how bitter he was about not being married at his age. I was so happy not to be dead, I almost didn't mind the whining. Almost.
The Bazillion Times Mike Saved MeI have an awesome older brother. By some miracle, we ended up in the same grade most of the way through school, and he was such a sweet guy, he actually let me tag along with him and his friends anytime I needed to. When we got into high school, I think some gene switched on and I decided I had a death wish. Rooftopping? Great plan! Hanging hundreds of feet off the ground on a rotating structure? SURE! I was that girl. I drove through a hallway at school once. I was an idiot.
But nine times out of ten, Michael said, "No, we're not going to do that," or "That's illegal," or "That'd be a good way to get ourselves KILLED!" If Mike hadn't been watching out for me, I'd have been a goner before I wrote my first newspaper article.
Lost in My Own Back YardI grew up in the middle of the woods. Behind our house, there was nothing but redwood forest for miles and miles and miles. And miles. It was my favorite place to play. Not in a Bridge to Terabithia way, but in a "hey, it's like a giant playground" way. I knew a couple of acres really well, but one day I decided to ignore Mom's "don't go too far away to see the house" rule (by imagining that some speck in the trees was a part of the roof) and pursue the sound of running water further into the forest.
Of course, I ran. I was the girl who fell asleep in trees and ate redwood sorrel and wasn't afraid of anything but spiders. And once I reached the stream, all I knew was that the side of it I was on was the one I had come from. Essentially, I had 180 degrees of nonexistent paths in the woods to take.
So naturally, that's when I started screaming. They say that when you get lost in the woods, you should hug a tree. Wrong. You should yell your face off. Now, I was born with quite a set of lungs, and anyone who's sat next to me in church can tell you they weren't made for singing. So lucky for me, my God-given talent for being a loud-mouth finally paid off, and I heard Mom screaming back at me.
And I didn't get eaten by a cougar in the woods.