Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Fingers Hurt

"Hi. Um, Hi. My name is Wife."

"Fire, Police, or Ambulance?"

"Um. I don't know."


When I was about four years old, I had a plastic fishing pole. It was yellow with a green reel and thick string for fishing line. There was a yellow hook at the end of the string. It was all very innocent and very safe.

One summer day, I really wanted to play with it and searched our new house high and low to no avail. Where was the last place I had it? The station wagon. I walk outside and see it sitting safely in the back on the red seat where I had been playing with it earlier in the day on one of our outings.

The door was locked. Sigh. I get the keys, unlock the door and return them to the kitchen before locking the car back. The fishing pole safely in my hand, I slam the door.

On my fingers.

I scream for all I am worth. My fingers are, literally, stuck in the door- locked. I scream louder. I try to pull them out.

Nothing is budging.

Our neighbor's son, Jeff, heard me screaming from inside his house and came running. He grabbed the keys and freed me from what would have been a fingerless life.


The second time I slammed my fingers in the door, a taxi cab stopped and the dark skinned driver poked his head out of window and asked if I was okay. This is the middle of DC, mere blocks from the White House. Cursing under my breath, I said I was.... a lie. My fingers had barely missed certain death-- only how I wish they had.

Surely, surely I had not locked the door by accident. I pull on the handle. Nothing. I curse again.

Walking around to the passenger side, I stop a stranger and say, "Excuse me, but do you have a cell phone?" (as if to say, "Excuse me, do you have ears?" This is 2012. Of course he does.)

"I do."

"Do you mind if I borrow it? I just locked my daughter in the car."
{Oh, did I not mention that little nugget?}

My fingers are throbbing.

"Who do I call? Triple A? 9-1-1?" I ask, a little clueless on how to handle this.

"I bet 9-1-1 would get here faster."

"Good point," my wheels spinning.

"9-1-1. Fire, ambulance or police?"

"Um, I don't know. I just locked my daughter in the car."

"Hold please for fire and rescue. What number are you calling from?"

"I don't know. I stopped some nice man on the sidewalk."

"Don't panic. Hold please."

(don't panic? DON'T PANIC? Seriously? Sure. Why not? Don't panic. I locked my daughter in the car. It's about to rain. This liberal city has zero tolerance for negligent parents. I'm going to jail. I am going to jail. This is the end.)

"Fire and rescue. What's your emergency?"

..... I go through it again.

"The fire department is on its way."

"Okay, well, I'll be here. I'm the panicked one in the blue t-shirt."

Hours pass (minutes? seconds?) and I hear a siren. I'm biting my fingers. I'm in Downtown DC and it's lunchtime. It gives new meaning to noon rush hour. Chinatown- you are my nemesis right now.

The sirens get louder. I'm holding my throbbing fingers with one hand and constantly looking at LMC in the car. I start hearing sirens coming from the other way.

Is there a fire? Please don't let there be a fire-- I need some help!

Two firetrucks stop- one from the south, the other from the north.

In front of me.

Traffic screeches to a halt.

Traffic in DC stops for motorcades and apparently idiotic mothers.

The fire chief with the chevrons on his shoulders and official cap came from around the side of the truck. The support vehicle came up behind the second truck. Three sets of sirens are at full blast in my ears.

Five men get out of the fire truck and I start crying.

"Don't panic, Miss. We're here."

"You aren't going to call DFCS on me, are you? I'm so sorry. Please don't call DFCS."

"This happens all the time..."

People pull out their cell phone cameras on the sidewalk. Apparently they had never seen a firetruck with a ladder before. Strangers stop and ask if I am okay. Thank the sweet Lord for sunglasses. My fingers might be falling off, but my eyes are bloodshot red. I should really wear nicer clothes when I am out-- t-shirts and jogging skirts aren't the best first impression.

Forty-five seconds later, the door is open. They all get hugs and high fives from me. LMC freed from her buckles, absolutely clueless to what has happened in the last five minutes. LMC says "DANKS, guys!" We pay for parking (which started this whole mess in the first place) and walk up to the Landsburgh... waving at our new friends the whole way.

Sirens wailing, they are off again to the next adventure.

I have new heroes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have forgotten when Jeff locked one (or maybe both) his babies in the RENTED minivan in front of your mom's house in the midst of a freezing spell at Christmas one year! And wait until LMC closes the door on her hand or head. It's all prep work, Ray Charles!