Once Upon A Time I Was Smart

I remember it clearly. It was before I had children, before my ruthless cunning was dulled by sleep-deprivation and happiness. Professor and student alike hesitated a moment to debate me, and in that moment my ego soared and roared. Some might have thought me academically arrogant, although I make the distinction between arrogance and self-confidence as being that the arrogant lack the skills that make the self-confident a threat. At any rate, I was definitely not stupid. Now that I think about it, I also was not compassionate, and not forgiving, and not relaxed, and not happy. Those things are not necessarily related, only offering further insight into my psyche.

However, life happens. I havent had a reliable nights sleep straight through from dusk til dawn in six years. Thats a long time. It takes a toll on a person. I find myself struggling with mental tasks that used to be easy. I find myself having sympathy for people that will always be not smart. At least I can look forward to regaining intelligence. Eventually, all the children will sleep through the night which means Ill be getting some sleep and the next thing you know Ill be coherent on a regular basis. It may be years away, but at least theres hope.

You might be wondering why all of this is occupying my thoughts today. Well, last night I did the stupidest thing EVER. I was running late to Awanas (basically vacation-bible-school, spread out over the school-year one night a week). I dropped the boys off at the door because it was raining cats and dogs. I parked in the first available spot and made a dash to the door so the boys wouldnt be scared, although they were safe because a guard was standing by the door. I dont just randomly leave my boys loose in public. We went in, got them checked into their groups and I went to volunteer in the nursery (volunteers are ALWAYS welcome in the nursery after they pass a rigorous background check, indicating that Im not a convicted felon). A few hours later, I collected the boys and headed to the van. I started backing out of the spot. .

As it turns out, it wasnt a parking-spot at all. It was an un-paved mulched spot around a tree at the very edge of the lot. I had managed to get mired in the only mud anywhere near the church parking lot!

Little did I know things were going to get worse. I went inside to tell Trudy that I needed some help. She promised to find a couple of guys while I dashed back to the mini-van to keep the boys calm. Lee (age 4) was alarmed but Ron (age 6) was thrilled when it occurred to him that here was an opportunity to get out and push in the mud. He was less thrilled when I said no emphatically.

A few minutes later, four men came out. Took a look, straightened the steering wheel, told me to put it in reverse, and gave a huge push. I gave it gas. Nothing happened. Well, nothing except that my wheels spat mud all over four dear men (strangers) that didnt plan on wallowing in the mud and cold rain after church. They were a little confused, since the van should have rolled back easily. One sighed and said hed go get his jeep and some chains. As he started off, I noticed that red word on the dash you know the one brake engaged. Yep, I had the parking brake on the whole time they were pushing.

Ive got to admit, for one second, it occurred to me that I could just slip it off and no one would know the difference. But that would be wrong. So I fessed up and announced that I had left the emergency brake on. Those guys really walk the walk about Christianity. Not one of them swore or glared or even rolled his eyes. After a moment of quiet disbelief one of them said gently, Well, yes, that will make a difference. Lets try again Sure enough, a quick shove and the mini-van was sitting on pavement.

Tomorrow I will be using some chocolate chips (if I can find them) to make cookies, then tracking down names and addresses for cookie/thank-you-note deliveries. Weve moved to a small town, finding them wont be that hard. Certainly not as hard as trying to push the mini-van out of the mud while the parking-brake was on!


Delightful. I was afraid you had it in drive, but this is even better.

King of Fools | 03/05/2004 - 05:55 AM

Yep, LucysIsland is carnage-free. At least until those chips go missing again :)

Its bad enough I'm going to be known as "that woman who left the brake on". I don't think I'd be able to live down being known as "that woman who ran over four men in the parking lot".

Lucy | 03/05/2004 - 07:32 PM

Thank you for this story... It is heartening - I am glad that you did the right thing by telling the truth, about the emergency brake being on. Unfortunately, there are so many people who have no problem with telling lies, and they think that telling so-called "little white lies" is okay. I am glad that there are people who try to be honest, and to avoid using deception or lies. And I am glad that things turned out okay for you, in that incident.

I've also been having sleep-related problems within the past few years, but it's not that bad now.

You have a well-designed website; this is the first time that I've been to it. I think I arrived here by following the link from the latest post at this blog. Keep up the good work, with your weblog, and with all else that you are doing.

Aakash | 03/07/2004 - 07:23 AM

I used to go to Awanas.

I also grew up in the backwoods of Maine. Getting stuck was a normal occurance. I've also left the parking brake on more than once while being pushed. I only WISH that was the dumbest thing I've ever done.

Geoffrey | 03/08/2004 - 04:07 AM
Note in a Bottle
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