I remember when I got my driver’s license at age fifteen. That, my friends, was a big deal. I felt so cool in command of my white 1981 Ford Granada. My car windows were even adorned with one of those Garfield cats held in place by suction cups on the hands. I was sure to be the envy of all the other drivers in my hometown. It was the 80’s, my hair was big, the music was loud and I was in the front seat of freedom.
Thinking back to that driving exam, I do believe there were testing scenarios that should have been included. At the very least, there should have been skills taught for dealing with them. Questions on the written exam perhaps. Something. I’ve never used the knowledge of how to turn your wheels when parking downhill. That could be useful I suppose, but how about helping me make sure I can get through a pharmacy drive through without causing an epic scene?
As you are likely aware, causing scenes wherever I go is fairly typical for me. Oh I don’t necessarily intentionally cause them (although I will admit to doing that on occasion. Ok frequently… but whatever. Hear me out..) It’s just that things happen to me. I don’t know why. They just do and inevitably situations turn comical or even draw a crowd. I’m not proud of it, but I own it.
On this particular day, I went to the Publix Pharmacy drive thru to pick up a prescription. I was driving my husband’s car so there’s one scene-causing factor. The position of the pedals was wrong – all wrong. Another consideration is that I’m vertically challenged with little T-Rex arms so reaching for things out the driver’s side window takes some athleticism. As mentioned numerous times in my stories over the past decade, I don’t really have any of that. SOOOOO… you can see the beginnings of a real “breaking news” scene starting to take shape here.
The unsuspecting pharmacy lady placed the signature form in the mouth-like drawer and shoved the thing out to me. Why are they so crazy with those things? I’m always afraid it’s gonna slam me in the face. (Hey, it could happen. And if it could happen to anyone, it would be me.) As I reached over to retrieve the clipboard from said death trap, my right foot stomped on the gas pedal for leverage. The engine roared so loud I’m sure glass shattered a block away. People dropped their groceries. “Bob, clean up on aisle 5.” A stroller-pushing mom started running. A child screamed. Birds fell from the sky. I’m certain my car scorched the earth as half a tank of gas surged through the engine in my attempt to propel my baby arms out the window using the pedal as leverage. Thank God the car was in park or I’d have plunged into the concrete columns holding up the drive through. The pharmacy tech tried to hide her shock and subsequent eye rolling. But I saw it, Rebecca.
Lord help me. I should come with a warning label.
But the scene was not over. Flustered, I attempted to place my debit card in the drawer for payment. Remember the little arms? I also have butter fingers. THE. CARD. FELL. ON. THE. GROUND. Now remember, I am in the drive through. The card is not only on the ground, but it’s under the car as well. Which really didn’t make a difference because I could not open the door and retrieve it anyway due to the clearance around the car which as I mentioned is in the drive-through. (Making sure you have a clear visual of my situation.) So… I quickly created a 6 point plan.
- Pull forward. (Easier said than done considering my relationship with the car’s pedals.)
- Wave at the people behind me so they don’t pull up, run me over, etc. (Hi people. Don’t mind me. Just trying to give y’all something to talk about at dinner.)
- Retrieve card. (Bow like a gymnast.)
- Get back in car. (Without tripping.)
- BACK UP. (Triple check car is actually in reverse.)
- Start over. (Pledge to go in next time.)
By now, there’s a crowd in the window and the guy behind me has his phone out live broadcasting the scene.
This could have all been avoided had I been trained and tested on this skill during my driving education process. I’m sure of it.