Friday, March 2, 2012

Depeche Mode Made Me Crash My Parents Car in High School

If you have read any of my old posts, you may remember reading about my gut wrenching, white knuckled freeway anxiety.

I am happy to say it is one hundred percent almost gone!

When it started a few years ago, I was at first perplexed, then worried, then angry, then upset, sad, perplexed again. I asked my doctor to prescribe me Xanax just for road trips; because crying to your husband that he is going to kill us if he drives any faster, and pressing on your imaginary brakes the whole time is not good for any marriage.

I did not get the Xanax, but was told to look deeper into what was causing it. Maybe talk to somebody is what my doctor told me. Well I am too busy to sit down and talk to somebody, so that was out of the question.

It wasn't just when others were driving it was when I was driving as well. I stayed in the slow lane, absolutely certain that a tire was going to blow out on my car, I would lose control and die!!!

I walked into Cost Plus one day to buy a candle, and possibly some throw pillows for my home. There was a little basket on a shelf calling out to me. I wandered over, and saw a large pile of little tiny dolls with explanations for each doll. They were Worry Dolls. My friend was having issues with her teenage son, so I started digging through the basket searching for a Teenager Worry Doll. I then realized, who am I kidding, she is a total Christian who thought Harry Potter supported wizardry, and 'Hocus Pocus', so she definitely was not going to look towards a Mayan Worry Doll to pour her faith into. I on the other hand was raised Catholic, but am open to whatever works. I live with the idea that as long as you are just a good person, then all is good. And not to pat myself on the back, but I am pretty sure God likes me. I'm kind of a nice person. Can't go wrong there!
I kept searching through the basket, because now I was just intrigued.
And then I saw it, like a little Mayan angel, sent from above;or sent from Central America,but wherever he was sent from, he was in my cart now.

I will put you under my pillow. You will make everything better!o.k. little buddy....

He was only a Car Worry Doll, but sometimes I would tell him other worries. Like I'm worried that I don't have an outfit to wear to the wedding we are attending this weekend. I am worried that the beauty supply no longer carries my hair dye. I am worried that I left my sunglasses at the grocery store, and I am worried that these boots don't look right with this outfit......

I had the doll for about 2 years. I just started feeling a bit more at ease about 3 months ago. I would like to thank my new Mayan friend, but since I started out with him under my pillow, but then lost him, and then found him again as I sucked him up into our vacuum, I am not sure he was the reason I stopped having roadside panic attacks. If anything he is probably a little pissed that he got sucked up into a black hole of dust bunnies. In fact, as he was flapping around the wheel of the Vacuum, I heard him mumbling something about bigger troubles ahead...... the end of the world .... freeway shmeeway .......the ancient Mayan calendar predictions.......something,something....blah, blah, blah. Anyway, he is now in my junk drawer with my rubber bands, old batteries, and broken flashlights.

Just as fast as the freeway torture came into my life, it was disappearing. But it did make me stop and think a little more deeper  into it. Why had it come on?? My husband suggested one day, that it was post traumatic stress disorder,maybe from a previous car accident.


Come to think of it, I did have an awful car crash in High School. And guess who's car I totaled....
Mine? Nope! My parents car! I asked my dad to trade cars with me for a day. His car had a cassette player, and mine only had a radio;not to mention, a radiator leak, rusted holes in the trunk, moldy french fries under the seats, and fast food cups everywhere.We both had Toyota Camry's,mine paid for courtesy of my job at the Restaurant on the Pier.(Courtesy of my parents too, who only made me pay $1500 of the $3000 they bought it for)

I was going to drive my cousin to San Diego that day, so we picked up my Best Friend, and headed on our way. Of course I first went through my plastic crate that held all of my cassettes.Gotta have some tunes, since that was the whole point of borrowing his car, and entrusting him with my trash can on wheels!

We only drove about 5 miles down the freeway before it started to lightly sprinkle. No big deal! I was 17 years old, totally experienced in life and driving (yeah, right!!) I looked down real quick to find my Depeche Mode tape and then I look up and I see brake lights, I swerve to the right,my car (or should I say my parents car) starts fishtailing,eventually doing 360's until I finally crashed into the center divider. I clung onto the steering wheel screaming, looked at my cousin in the front seat next to me, then to the back seat where my best friend was sitting. As my car spun, and circled out of control, I honestly felt like we were in a cloud.I could hear the screeching, the sound of metal crashing, my best friend and my cousin yelling. But at the same time, it was like we were floating, and the sounds were muffled.

Many onlookers pulled over to help us. These were the days before cell phones, but days of car phones. One man ran over saying he had already called 911. One of my most surreal memories was of a woman rushing over to me, peeling my fingers off of the steering wheel, and asking me for my parents name and number. I remember crying that 'they are going to kill me' and she put her hand on me and said 'No, they will just be glad you are alive'. She then kept her hand on me and said "Honey, I don't know if you are religious or not, but you, little girl, had a guardian angel watching over you" She, and the man who had called 911,then proceeded to talk about how they honestly could not believe what they just witnessed. A busy  weekend on the San Diego freeway, my car starting in the fast lane, doing 360's all the way to the slow lane, then back to the fast lane center divider. And I did not hit one car. Not one car!!!!

Maybe that is why I felt as though we were in a cloud....
A muffled cloud.....
Maybe I was being carried to safety...
Maybe I did have a guardian angel...

Whip lash,slight black eye, and stitches on my friends leg from one of the back windows crashing out, resulting in some shards of glass in her thigh. That was it! 

Our parents rushed to the ER, and the woman was right.
My parents hugged me
My friends parents hugged me
They were just happy we were alive

My parents car was TOTALED
The junk yard was it's new home
My dad was able to buy a new car
I got back my radiator leaking, rust bucket
and appreciated every fuzzy radio station 
that my Cassette Playerless stereo had to offer me

So here is my own theory on the whole freeway anxiety thing.My son was working towards getting his drivers license, eventually obtaining one, and buying his own rolling heap of junk. I am a natural worrier, and once I realized my little babies were turning into car owning, car driving members of society, I kinda started to freak. I was losing control of my kids;that mixed with an extremely late in life onset of Post Traumatic Stress, was surely to blame . You can call me Dr. J.R.. Call me with all of your anxiety diagnosis needs.My 15 year old daughter is getting ready to sign up for Drivers Ed, so thank god I am getting a handle on this. 
Dear Freeway Anxiety,
So glad you are going away now!
No time for this!
I drive a lot,
and the white knuckled stuff was giving me carpal tunnel..... 
or arthritis, 
just really ugly white knuckles........ 

I remembered myself as a teenager. I remember how invincible I thought I was. I would change lanes without even a second glance. I would pile friends into my car with no seat belt. I would have one hand on the steering wheel, while the other was searching through the center console for the perfect mixed tape, all the while balancing a Roberto's Bean and Cheese burrito in my lap. I would ask my friend to take the wheel so that I could throw on my Fisherman's Restaurant Polo shirt, over my bikini top;always late to work! Ahhhh,the memories!!! 

Nowadays teenagers have so much more to distract them. Cell phones, texting, talking, ipods, car chargers; o.k., our generation had talking too, but I wanted to add that in there. Talking is distracting, especially if you use alot of hand gestures when you talk, such as I do.  
I have texted my son before, because I think he is at home. I get a text back saying
'Ma, I'm driving'
You are driving???!!!!
And you just texted me???!!!!!

I guess in life, there are always dangers. 
There are always distractions
There is always going to be that song that you just had to play right that second
There is always going to be Depeche Mode

Dear Mom and Dad,
I may have never told you this
but, this is where that unconditional love comes in.
When you asked me about the accident, 
and the specifics of what happened.....
It wasn't the jerk in front of me, who just slammed on his brakes without warning!
I mean, he did have to slam on his brakes, but I probably would have had a longer time to react, had it not been for the fact that I was searching through my bag. 
O.K. well this is where it gets tricky.................Had I not been searching through my................Looking for my........................................................................................ LOOKING FOR MY DEPECHE MODE TAPE!!!!!! There I said it!!!!!!
I had to put on the perfect song for driving with my best friend. It was of the utmost importance for the beginning of our little freeway road trip to San Diego.
I mean,you understand right?
I am sure you remember leaning over, looking in your glove box, one hand on the wheel, and the other digging for your Beach Boys 8 Track Tape???


I'm taking a ride with my best friend
I hope he never lets me down again

Drive safe kids
Don't text
Don't talk
Put your ipod on shuffle

Just let the music flow
Whether it is
Depeche Mode
Marky Mark
Stevie B
The Cure
Fleetwood Mac
Beach Boys
Lil' Wayne
Nicki Minaj
Garth Brooks
Jason Aldean
or None of the above
Get there safely!
You don't want to have to admit 20 years later to your parents that LMFAO made you crash their car because you just had to hear
Party Rock Anthem!!

*this post dedicated to my Mom, Dad, and their Grey Toyota Camry with the cassette player.
J.R. at 15 1/2 learning to drive
Exactly 2  years later, a Depeche Mode Song would cause the destruction of this car
"Never Let Me Down Again"Sorry little car,
Sorry I let you down

* Disclaimer- Depeche Mode is not really to blame. My own negligence and lack of safe driving were. Depeche Mode still brings me happiness, or darkness depending on the song (ahem... Blasphemous Rumors) I think I may go turn on my ipod and get nostalgic :) 


  1. I seriously got goosebumps, when reading about the accident.

    When I was 12, and after spending the day with my alcoholic dad and his equally alcoholic friend, my siblings and I were being driven back home, when the overcrowded car, skidded and crashed into the car in front.

    My only partially lived life, flashed before my eyes as at the time, I was sat on my dad's the front seat...without a seat belt on.

    After that, I never did have the desire to learn how to drive.

  2. What a bad experience. :( I have car anxiety too. I was in an accident with a drunk driver, which made it worse, but it started before then. Actually, looking back, I think my car anxiety started when I spent a year in Africa. Even though I didn't get in an accident, I swear that I nearly died every time I got in a car or a bus, and when I came back to Canada, I would have to squeeze my eyes shut and press on the imaginary break anytime I was in the car.

  3. Lily and Stephanie- So I am not alone!!!!! YES!!!!
    So sorry for what you went through, but glad to know I am not the only automobile nervous person. Drunk drivers!!! UGGHHHH!!!!

    Mine is strictly freeway. Around town, you would think I am a Nascar Race Driver. It is all getting better though, so fingers crossed.

    Also, if I brought on any Post Traumatic Stress for either of you.....Sorry!

    I was listening to Depeche Mode on my ipod, while vacuuming (where I then sucked up poor little worry guy) and thought woila! A blog idea!

    Lily- God, how scary for being so young.:(

    Stephanie- I have an insane driving memory from another country as well. I had forgotten about that until right now. Hmmmmm, that could be it too...


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