In the past I’ve mentioned how bad things tend to sneak up from behind. I’m especially paranoid about bad things involving my behind. This has led me to develop a few, um… let’s just say ‘unique’ behaviours like always sitting with my back to a wall and obsessively checking the butt-end of any spandex-containing garment I intend to wear.
Nothing has sneaked up on me for a long time; but this week I got ambushed by an entirely unforeseen enemy: My car.
It was raining when I parked at the art centre for my Friday painting group. I sidled between the vehicles and carefully opened my passenger door, not enough to hit the vehicle beside me, but wide enough to retrieve my largish Rubbermaid tub and the art canvas I carry on top of it. Thinking ahead (and smug in my own efficiency), I hit the door locks before I grabbed the tub so I wouldn’t have to add ‘fumble with keys and lock car’ to my list of acrobatic manoeuvres.
I eased the tub out, balancing on one foot and stabilizing the door with the other, while remembering to keep a thumb on the canvas so the wind wouldn’t blow it away. Then I turned to complete the final step in my awkward ballet: Slamming the door with my elbow while holding the tub in both hands.
Everything went fine: The door latched, and I didn’t drop my tub or fall on my butt. Except… when I tried to walk away, I couldn’t.
I had a moment of blank incomprehension: “Can’t move. Why…???”
Then I realized the wind had gusted at the exact moment that the door slammed shut, and a big fold of my jacket was locked into the car. And there I stood: My back jammed against the car, both hands occupied by the tub, arms immobilized by the tightened jacket, and rain bucketing down.
After a couple of futile tugs on the jacket, I raised one knee to balance the tub and groped behind me for the door handle. But no; I’d been efficient. The door was locked.
Then came the truly ridiculous part of my performance: Standing on one leg, balancing the tub on my drawn-up knee, gripping the handle of the tub with my left hand, left thumb stretched up to hold the canvas in place; all while insinuating my right hand between the tub and my belly to reach my waist pouch (which was jammed under the tub), where I’d ever-so-efficiently stowed my keys in a zippered pocket.
By some miracle I still didn’t fall on my butt; but it was a near thing when giggles seized me halfway through the process. The only saving grace was that my car has electric locks. If I’d had to insert a key in a keyhole one-handed, behind my back, while standing on one leg balancing a heavy tub, I probably would have done myself an injury. From laughter, if nothing else.
I managed to free myself without drawing a crowd of jeering onlookers, so I considered it a win. But that’s the last time I’ll ever turn my back on my car…
Book 15 update: Another good writing week! I’m bombing along on Chapter 43 and all the threads are finally coming together. Dare I say… “The End” is in sight…?