Welcome to Post Traumatic Sundays, which are posts written during my first marriage. None have appeared on this blog before, and only a couple were included in my book. So what’s the point, you ask? Simply to offer reflections from someone dealing with an unhappy marriage in the best way he knew how:
Eight years later, I am happily re-married to someone who inspires me each day to laugh for the right reasons. It’s good to laugh with you now — for all the right reasons…
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They say it takes a car thief less than a minute to break into a vehicle, hot wire it, and be on their way. So, when I locked my keys in the car in the grocery store parking lot, I thought, “Hey, if Nick Cage or Vin Diesel can do it, so can I.”
True, I had no “Slim Jim,” or any other special car theft device to work with, at least not until I remembered the coat hanger that holds the bumper in place. With a little twisting and unraveling, the wire came off and I had my thieves’ tool.
After setting the bumper aside, I moved to the door and shoved the end of the coat hanger down the window and into the doorframe. The door locks had no knobs, which meant I would have to unlatch the lock from inside the frame.
No problem. I’ve had the panels off, I’ve seen where the mechanism lives. With a little patience, and a perfectly timed yank, I’d be twirling my keys in no time.
Used the force.
And broke the coat hanger off in the door.
OK, time for “plan B.” Shoving the bumper aside, I crawled under the rear of the Honda and reached up through the rust spot covered with plywood that leads into the spare tire compartment; there was a chance I could reach the inside handle and open the rear hatch. Once open, I could crawl through the back, over the baby seat, and behind the steering wheel, where I would quickly nurse the engine to life and be on my way in a cloud of exhaust fumes.
True, it wouldn’t look as cool as Nick Cage hopping into the front seat of a high performance Mustang with Angelina Jolie, but then again, what could?
I slid my hand beneath the spare tire, over tools and jumper cables, and up toward the latch. I stretched, pulled, contorted my arm in an effort to reach the latch, but it was no use; my arm wasn’t long enough. I began to pull it back through and discovered that the rust spot, which had been so pliant and forgiving on the way in, had become the equivalent of a giant Chinese finger cuff on the way out.
There was no way I was going to retrieve my arm without blood loss.
My only hope was that someone would either see my feet sticking out from under the car, or my severed arm in the spare tire compartment. Needless to say, I was well past the one-minute mark at this point—so I slipped a loaf of French bread from the sack with my free hand and took a bite.
That’s when I heard the metallic rumble of a shopping cart, which was followed by screaming in a language I presumed was French. From beneath the car, all I could see were sneakers running back and forth in a frenzy. I began stomping my feet, waving my arm, and trying to talk to her with a mouthful of bread to assure her that I was alive.
Instead, she screamed louder — and was gone in less than 60 seconds.
When my wife arrived with a can of WD-40 and the spare keys a bit later, she was miffed and more than a little embarrassed as the store manager brought her to me. After apologizing to him, she opened the hatch and sprayed my arm, which I gradually wiggled free of the car.
“I don’t understand you sometimes,” she said, and unlocked the door.
After explaining how things came about, I gave her my best, most endearing smile.
“I’ll admit, I’m not as cool as Cage, but I definitely have as much style.”
She stared at me momentarily before throwing the can of WD-40.
The doctor says the lump on my head should be gone in 60 days.