Every time there’s a hit and run accident that’s on the news, I think it involved one of my sons. Not as the person hurt but as the driver. It’s not until I get the make and model of the car that I start to relax although I can keep my crazy ass mind gin going for a couple of days thinking that maybe one of them borrowed the car that caused the accident. It’s only a matter of time, I tell myself, until we get the phone call. I sleep with my phone next to me. It used to be two phones – my cell and the house phone – until I realized that was really fruity-tooty loony. I should just go to sleep with a headset on, waiting for one of my kids to make their one phone call before they’re thrown back into the holding cell with their fifty sweaty new pals.
What is the deal with this?
Why am I so nuts? It’s the question of the ages. Ask my husband. He actually looks across the room at me when I insist that one of our boys was the hit and run driver and calmly refutes my claim with evidence. The time isn’t right, he would’ve been at work. It happened at night, remember he said the lights on his truck were shot? This is kind of him – to respond to me in a rational way but the negative effect is that it makes my initial fear more possible. He should probably say, Stop being a complete crackpot, Jan. But he would never do that even though that has to be what he’s thinking. What he doesn’t say is – neither of our sons would be a hit and run driver. And I think the reason he doesn’t say that, well, I know the reason since we’ve talked about it, is that we both so deeply feel that anything can happen. A split second decision could turn life on its head for any of us but somehow, we feel that they are especially vulnerable.
When I read about an otherwise upstanding young man, a former Marine, hitting someone with his car and then making that split second decision to flee the scene, I can imagine it happening. It’s not the only bad thing I can imagine happening to them but it is on my top five list at the moment. They’re young, they’re Hispanic, they are often in the wrong place at the wrong time. They drink.
When I told my friend Karen about this hit and run fear she said, hey, if something happens it happens. You can’t control things. She’s been Quakerfied so she has become an unusually and unsettlingly calm and centered person. She’s into accepting and letting go. She tells me that my hit and run nuttiness is a metaphor for all the worries moms always have.
I hear her but I don’t get it. I’m not that introspective. I’m just stuck on Press Play whenever these little news triggers occur. My free floating anxiety occasionally gets really fatigued and needs a place to sit down and for a long time, hit and run accidents have been its rest stops.
I’m a 155 lb. amoeba that just responds where I’m poked. And to the outside world, I can appear to be so smart. There aren’t big enough letters for me to write LOL on that one.
So after the recent, terrible hit and run accident, one of my sons came by to do his laundry. Even though a young man, same age as my son, had been arrested in that case, I couldn’t help but press him about where he was, what he was doing at the time of the accident. He’s used to this, I think, because a normal person would’ve gotten annoyed or offended.
We chatted about it. I felt better.
And then he looked at me and said, Ma, I’m not worried about getting in a car accident. I’m thinking about what happened with that guy in the river.