The younger brother of one of my band-friends asked if I would go to the post-game dance with him one Friday night in high school. Instead of going to the dance together, though, we wound up cruising around town in mom’s red Mercury Cavalier.
As we were headed past the outskirts of town a slow driver pulled into my lane about a block ahead of us. At the passing zone half a mile later, I signaled and began to move the car into the left lane. We couldn’t have been traveling more than thirty or thirty-five miles an hour, but when the car hit a wet patch of road we began to hydroplane.
I saw the guard rail getting closer, and I remember shouting, “Sh*t!” about twenty times in five seconds. The railing didn’t hold us and the car tumbled over the embankment, landing on its top. After unfastening our seatbelts upside down, we crawled out the broken passenger side window.
My first thought was not to our injuries or how we would get to a hospital, but rather that mom had just replaced the battery in the car and I had forgotten to turn off the headlights before crawling out. Of course I dove right back in through the shattered window, crawled across the roof-where-seat-should-be, and switched off the lights.
Couldn’t have mom pissed at me for letting the battery die, could I?