The Car from the Future

Originally this blog was going to be about how, oddly enough, I look forward to my annual mammogram.  Well, “look forward to” is a strong phrase.  Maybe it’s more along the lines of “I don’t dread it that much” and that’s really only because the check-in gals and I do this comedy routine about my kids.  Their paperwork has me down for twenty-one kids; I really only have the two…which FEELS like twenty-one kids sometimes.  Ba-dum-bump.  Then we all harharharharrarrararar and they promise to change the paperwork for next year.  But next year comes and I’m right back to having twenty-one kids again.  Old Woman in the Shoe much?  Harharharharrarrararar!  See?  Nothing to dread there; I love me some shtick.

But this year, it struck me how many women do fear this appointment.  Perhaps this annual visit will change them forever.  Perhaps they’ll receive a verdict they never expected and a sentence to do hard time will be passed into their lives.  This year, in the calm and quiet of the mammography waiting room, I spent my time thinking of my college roommate, Sidney*.  She has breast cancer.

And every time I think of Sidney, I always think of one particular story.  I’m not sure why I think of this story – perhaps it’s because this is how I picture us in my mind: frozen in time, young and carefree, no responsibilities, really, and certainly no breast cancer.  We’re in our early 20’s with amazing hair, riding around in futuristic car, on the run from a religious sect.

Let me ‘splain…

It was the late 80’s (thus the “amazing hair” part of the story because, really, what’s NOT amazing about perms-on-top-of-already-curly-hair?!) and Sidney and I were driving home from college in my mom’s burnt-sienna colored Chrysler LeBaron with a bizarre sparkly finish.  It had a digital display dashboard and robotic female voice that yammered on about nonsensical stuff like the whereabouts of your key and the status of your door.  Hey Fembot, when is your door not a door?  When…your…door…is…a…jar.  It also had a turbo blaster engine and the merest press of your foot on the gas pedal would G-force you back into your seat while making the white pinpricks of light elongate into lines as you achieved hyper drive.

So there we are: Central Pennsylvania, deserted rural road, 40 MPH speed limit, car-from-the-future.  Perfect opportunity to test out how fast things REALLY could go.  Brilliant idea proposed by me.  Brilliant idea agreed to by Sidney.  I would shout out how fast we were warp-speeding and she would keep an eye out for unsuspecting rural items to avoid.

(Hi, Mom and Dad.  Did I ever tell you this story?!  No??  Huh.  Well, if not, maybe you shouldn’t read any further then.)

So I stomped on the gas pedal and the car leapt forward.  I commenced shouting out the speed, “…Forty-five…Fifty…Fifty-five…,” As we headed into a curve in the road, I yelled out “SIXTY!!!” Sidney simultaneously yelled, “COPS!!!!!

^*%$#@!@#$%^&*&**&^%$#@@!!! I slammed on the brakes and we were thrown forward in our seats (please…fasten…your…seatbelts).  My heart was in my throat and I veered in behind the cop car almost crashing in to the back bumper but figuring that they can’t catch me speeding if I don’t actually PASS them while speeding.

Whose STUPID idea was this?!?  Guhguhguhhhh!  I’m gonna get in BIG trouble if I get a speeding ticket in my MOM’S CAR.  CapcrapcrapcrapCRAPPPP!!!  Just act casual.  JUST ACT CASUAL!  Nothing to see here OFFICER!!!  Sidney and I are shouting all sorts of nonsense at each other while trying to act like we always come blasting up the road, slam on the breaks then duck hard right behind a cop car.  Yep, always doin’ that.  No big thang.  Guhguhguhhhh! 

But while all this drama is playing out in OUR car, the cops haven’t made a single move yet.  No one’s reaching for the lights and sirens.  They’re just toodling along acting like they didn’t even SEE us.  Like they don’t even CARE.  Like they’re not even COPS.

Wanting, needing to figure out what’s going on, I’m casually-while-trying-not-to-chum-in-my-mouth peering into the big, boxy, coplike car when I notice that there’s no chrome anywhere on it.  All the shiny bits are painted over in flat black.  Hmmm, puzzling.  There’s a guy with a broad brimmed sheriff’s type hat sitting in the front seat wearing dark clothes.  There’s also a guy in the front passenger’s seat wearing all the same stuff, hat included.  In the back seat is a woman with her hair in a bun covered by a WHITE MESH BONNET!


Ohhhhh, so young and so fun.  And while we’re still fun, we’re older now and no one’s hair is as big as it once was.  We’ve faced things the car-from-the-future never told us we’d face.  Sidney, I’m sorry for your diagnosis, your pain and this current road you and your family are traveling.  Please know I’m thinking about you and you’re in my prayers daily.  I’m sending every funny memory your way because laughter has its place in healing and recovery.

And please, please, please continue to keep an eye out for Mennonites.  As I mentioned earlier, we’re older now and we can’t let them sneak up on us like they used to.


*For those of you who are worried I’m violating HIPAA regulations, I’m not.  Sidney isn’t her real name.  I’m only calling her Sidney because that was her fake name in college.  Everyone has a fake name in college, right?  Firmly established via roundtable discussion at that restaurant during Spring Break Junior year in the Bahamas??  While you were consuming enough rum drinks and calamari to put you off rum drinks (and calamari) for the rest of your life?!?  No??  Just me on this one?  Perhaps.  Because I happen to know Sidney is still partial to rum and Coke.  Not sure about calamari though.

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