My Autobiographical Short Story

This post was inspired by an email I sent a friend. I was making fun of myself to her and decided that I could make fun of myself in a long, dumb, short story version. Because it's been a while since I last blogged, I decided to make a post out of it for any readers that still visit my blog. PLEASE COME BACK TO ME!!! I promise September will be a month worth reading! So, here's a silly story that's kind of not fictional. Let me also say, that I didn't know how to end it. As I was writing it, it was getting far too complicated; taking up too much of my valuable jobless time; and I wasn't planning on submitting it to an organization that would grade it, judge it, or read it in any way, shape, or form. So, it's kind of stupid - hopefully funny stupid. This might be the second short story I've ever written. Enjoy this potential Pulitzer Prize winning short story!

Leia woke up late as usual. Her stringy blonde hair was matted in the back due to a forgotten barrette she was wearing from the day before. She wore her pajamas until she took her shower which wasn't until nightfall. She ate the same things for lunch and dinner (breakfast never existed in her world): a scrambled omelet, orange juice, mint Oreos, and Starbursts. Describing her to a stranger, one might think she was five - she was 25.

Leia never really cared about how she looked; the two things that concerned her were hiding her blemishes and making sure not too much of her pale skin was exposed. She wasn't concerned about appearing immodest, or anything. She wasn't even concerned about the suns harsh rays burning her fair complexion. Rather, she didn't want to blind people's sight with her whiteness. "When is pale going to be the new tan?" she always asked.

On this particular morning (technically it was morning because she was awake just before 12:00 p.m.), she decided to structure her day with activities. The day's events consisted of the following: shower, dress, look for a job, pay one of her bills online, call mom, go outside once - even if it's just for a walk or to do laundry – and make a new stranger a new friend. That's it. It didn't matter if two of the items on the list involved grooming, because to Leia, that was a feat in and of itself. When making her checklist, she made sure to balance it with things she could actually accomplish, such as calling her mom, along with the more difficult things, such as taking her resume to a temp agency (not to mention updating her resume). This way, she wouldn't feel like a failure at the end of the day if she didn't complete any of the more difficult tasks, like looking for a job or doing laundry.

Once she made her list, she decided she needed a break or a temporary distraction from thinking about the day’s events. She was glad she didn't have a television because she knew from past experience that watching hours of television was a wasted addiction. She spent about five minutes considering what to do, and then she realized she could always clean. But Leia knew once she started cleaning, that would consume her whole day (as it does with most undiagnosed cases of obsessive compulsive cleaners). However, the thought of a clean apartment was so enticing and also something that always needed to be done. She was so tempted to reorganize the checklist to include - well actually center around - cleaning and not job searching. She debated over and over in her mind about what to do.

One voice argued, "Just clean. It's a task to be accomplished, you know you're capable of doing it, and you'll feel so much more relieved once all the door handles are polished and the grout in the bathroom is bleached. It's something you can do, and do well, and feel good about it once it’s completed."

Another voice argued, "You need to do these other things more. Yes, you clean well, but you won't have a good job if you keep putting off searching. AND, you won't have anything to clean if you get evicted from your apartment."

"True that," Leia thought. By this point, Leia was exhausted from all of the critical thinking taking place in her head so she decided to take a nap. "Yes, I need to clear my mind and rest my body." Leia was feeling like she was running on empty and needed to recharge in some way.

"No, you need to conjure up all the strength you have and get to work. And rest? Rest from what?" voice number two said.

"I don't know, I just feel tired," she answered.

Leia soon discovered she was talking to herself. Somewhere in her mind were two voices telling her what she should do, not to mention her own voice was crammed in there somewhere. She became even more tired because her head was now crowded with voices.

"Great, not only am I lazy, slightly OCD, but now I have Dissociative Identity Disorder as well. Wonderful. How will I ever get anything done in addition to solving these problems?"

Just as Leia was analyzing the psychological state of her mind, she began to hear more voices. Real voices - a woman's voice, then a man's, and back to the woman's. She began to get a little nervous because she knew the only other person in her apartment was her roommate Reegan who had just come home from dance class.

"I really do have multiple personalities or schizophrenia," she worried. She kept hearing the voices over and over again. She listened carefully but they were slightly muffled. She couldn't decipher what they were saying to her. They weren't as clear as the arguing voices from earlier. Every once in a while, though, she could hear cheering and clapping. She wondered what they were saying to her. What kind of message did they want to send her? Was it one of hope, something to be afraid of? Were aliens sending her signals? What could it be and whose voices were these? “Please don’t probe me!” she exclaimed.

Lexia - I mean Leia - decided she had to leave her room. She'd been cooped up in there far too long. She quickly got up, ran out of her room (which only took three steps), and slammed the door shut. Tired from the frenzied run, her body slowly slid down the back of the door. She sat there on the warm wooden floor, put her hands to her head, and began to sweat profusely (and not anxiously or nervously, but because she was in 101 degree weather on the sixth floor of an un-airconditioned apartment). A voice called from Reegan's room. It was Reegan.

She unnecessarily yelled, "Hey Leia, come here!" (because the apartment was only 600 square feet total).

"I can't get up," Leia thought to herself, or someone in her head thought to herself. "I think I'm going crazy," she whispered.

"I have a surprise!" Reegan continually yelled.

Leia mustered up all of her strength, stood up, and wiped some sweat off her forhead. She walked to Reegan's room. Inside Reegan's room was the solution to all of Leia’s psychological problems. There on Reegan's desk lay a small 13" x 13" color television.

"I found a television on the street! Great, huh? I'm watching Oprah, she has a Debt Diet series where she helps people manage their finances."

All of a sudden, Leia had flashes in her mind from 2 and a half minutes earlier: the woman's voice, the man's voice. They were not voices in her head. They were voices alright, but those of Oprah and some guy who was $70,000 in debt. How wonderful! What relief! "I'M NOT CRAZY!" I shouted - I mean, Leia exclaimed.

"What?" Reegan inquired.

"Nothing," Leia said with a smile on her face and a bead of sweat dripping down her neck.

"Do you want to watch it with me?"

Leia was so tempted to just plop on Reegan's bed and learn how to better manage her own debt. "This is good for me to see," she thought. "Maybe I should talk myself into watching it. It could be my long awaited distraction."

Then that other voice came into her mind; not the one that told her she should clean, but the one that said she could be evicted if she didn't look for a job. "This isn't a good idea, there are more productive distractions than this."

Leia stood there in Reegan's doorway. Then took one step backwards and said, "No Reegan. I'm going to blog. I have a great idea for a story."

Leia went rushing to her room (again, only three steps away from Reegan's doorway). She sat in her not-so-cheap K-mart chair and noticed a rip in it.

"I should try and fix that right now - NO! I'm blogging."


I Forget How Much I Love To Play Cards

While some like the smell of a new book, I enjoy the smell of a fresh deck of cards. When Sara and I were younger we used to play cards for hours. Rummy, Speed, War, Slap Jack, Spades, Kings On Corners, Hearts, Uno you name it. I've recently started playing Solitaire again (and "Pounce/Nerts" with my roommate). Playing cards has always been a game of choice in our family. Gambling is of course only allowed if it involves candy -- Snickers bars are the money. I love everything about cards from their simplicity, variety, portability, and any other word ending in "ity" you can think of. The different races of cards always had my interest. "What does this set look like inside?" I always wondered. And yes, being the artist that I am, I even made my own deck of cards as a child.

Of the four suits, the spade is my favorite design (followed by the club). My color of choice? Black. Red is irritating; black is powerful. You can just feel the strength of the Ace of Spades in your hand, no matter what game your playing.

But why has my long lost love of card playing entered my life again? Well, it all began when Martin invited me to his going away party a few weeks ago. On the night of the party, I entered the apartment where I found everyone sitting in a circle happily playing cards. There they sat, like seven naive children unaware of the punishment I was about to lay down on them. They were playing Scum, a game I had played only once before. Cards? Sounds like fun. Because I was the newbie in the group they placed me in the position of scum (the lowest as you can imagine). I had to give away two of my best cards to the person in the number one spot while getting two of their worst cards in return. Alright, I like a challenge especially when it comes to dating. But this post is not about boys. I guess it could be about boys if I'm referencing kickin' their butts at cards!

Let me just say I'm good at a few things in life and one of those things is Spades. We weren't playing Spades, but I killed them all the same. All seven of them. In two games I placed in third and jumped to number one in just one more game. By my third straight win, I was going out in like 8 short rounds. At one point I won every set, one after the other, and was done half-way through the game (the losers keep playing to see who "wins" the next positions in line). This was too easy I thought. Or as my brother, Blake, would say, "I eat cardplaying for breakfast." I take pride in playing cards because it's a skill I've worked on since I was baptised at eight.

As the end of the night rolled around, I walked away in first place. "Always leave 'em laughing," George Costanza declares. However, the circle of enemies I had just made grew tired of me. Throughout the game I told them not to splash the pot, but they didn't listen. Okay, I also love movies about gambling and Rounders is definitely one of my favorites.

After the game was over, I was reminded why I gave up playing cards. It's too easy with most people and I need a challenge. I thrive on that stress of not knowing if the King is still out there or the uncertainty of how will I be able to transform a terrible hand into a triumphant win? Even the psychological struggle of not having control over what gets played next is pressure within myself that I find fascinating.

I gave up cards because it can be addictive. Games last well into the night. I gave 'em up because I didn't want to become one of those competitive people that gets angry when they lose -- or worse, try to change the rules or say something wasn't fair in the middle of a game. I never wanted to be one of those people that couldn't handle leaving a game being in last place. I didn't want cards to affect my emotions or worse, the people around me. I know that if I don't supress the urge to play cards, those emotions will surface and a spark will ignite that could explode. My great grandpa lost his house to gambling, and I'm sure I'm capable of losing even more if I'm not careful. I don't play cards any more for the greater good, or at least for the greater good of those seven "children." They couldn't handle that demon deep inside me as much as I can't. And that's why I abandoned card playing all those years ago.

If only there was a job playing cards that didn't involve gambling.

Matching Stranger and Me #1

I met this nice lady on the subway at 10:50 pm on May 30th -- the night of my gallery reception. I'm glad this unique colored dress has found a twin (and one that isn't my living room wall)!

Sweden Is The New Great Britain...

To me. I love all things British; especially when it comes to music. However, all things Swedish are turning out to be quite dapper. The race is on! Here are a few reasons why Sweden is approaching Great Britain's status in my mind:

1. Abba - they've been training for years to be in this race
2. The Concretes - HELLO! With lyrics like "You can't hurry love" or "He gives me sugar again instead of salt," you KNOW I'm bound to love 'em
3. Envelopes - the band, NOT the thing you put a letter in
5. Massages
6. Ricard (Tina's friend) - somebody please get me a picture!

What country's culture are you particulary interested in? Mongolia, anyone?


Confession #9

I just realized I'm an antique. My mom says if something is 25 years old, it's an antique.


Beach Story Continued...

So, when I finally got the courage to go into the ocean, my next decision to make was do I inch my way into the water until I'm waist deep or do I just jump into the water with full force? It was COOOOLD, therefore I chose option one. Sometimes when you make a decision in life, though, it doesn't really matter what you decide because nature is going to do what she wants anyway and doesn't care about your two options. What? Let me explain.

I was about knee-length in the water, trying to work my way out to where everyone was jumping the big waves, laughing, and having fun, but it was tricky to get out there. I learned that there's a particular section along the shallow part of the water that isn't the best place to be standing, and yet I was standing in it. Every time a large wave would come in, it would crash exactly where I was, and the undercurrent would drag me out a little farther. At times it was difficult for me to keep my balance. I was amazed at how strong the undercurrent was. Still I kept trying to go where everyone was wading. This one guy watched me as I slowly tried to work my way over there and would laugh everytime I almost lost my balance. I'll call him Annoying Guy.

All of a sudden, things quieted a bit. Only small waves would splash my knees, but something didn't feel right. I could sense the earth's energy under my feet and she didn't seem happy. It was the calm before the storm, I just knew it. I was tempted to go back to where my blanket and food were resting. Just as I was about to turn around and head over to the safety zone, it hit! I wasn't at all prepared. It had been quiet and even though I didn't trust it, I still didn't think it would attack me.

All of a sudden my hopes of gradually getting wet were stolen -- stolen by nature. I had no choice in the matter. When nature calls...it yells! And on this overcast day, nature was angry at me. Without warning, a tremen-gigan-ormous heap of water came crashing down on me! It knocked me down, tossed me back as if I were a shot of vodka, and dragged me deep under her belly of hatred. I had no time to fill my lungs with air before being consumed. Fear struck me as hard as the wave. I panicked. "Would this be my last breath?" As much as I wanted to, I couldn't hold the thought of death for long because I felt my leg grinding against the sand, my swimsuit top coming loose, and at one point rolling over a small child. A child? Who would let a child get this deep in such dangerous waters?

Then it stopped. Almost as quickly as it began, it ended. I heard a faint laughter from within the waters. I quickly gasped for air as I tried to recover from the 50 year wave. Slowly I began to orient myself. Laughter, still looming, became louder. No. No, it was real laughter. Annoying Guy was laughing at me...again! I opened my eyes, curious as to how far nature disposed of me. As my eyes focused, I saw that I was next to a little boy standing beside his father, holding his hand. This was the small child I rolled over. I felt the father's foot underneath me as I lay on top of it. I struggled to stand up, and realized I was in about a foot and a half deep water. That's it. My life threatening ordeal ocurred in one and a half feet of water! I immediately thought, "How embarrassing! Man, that salt water is burning my nose and throat. I wish that guy would quit laughing at me. Oh, thank goodness, my top is still on!"

"I'm...I'm sorry," I said to the toddler I rolled over and to the father who's foot I landed on.

How did that happen? I pondered how I could have gotten in such a life threatening situation in such shallow water. I decided it was because I was unaware of the strength of the sea and underestimated my own weakness. I should have known. I DID know, and yet I challenged nature. Those age old sayings "if it were a snake it would have bitten you," and "you knew what it was when you picked it up" keep flooding my mind. Regardless, I tried to slowly get wet that day, but nature had a different course for me -- she chose near death, total embarrassment, and option two.

These pictures were taken after nature's attack on me. In this picture I'm saying, "A cold front broke the back of the heat wave across the Northeast and another front is on the way by late Sunday."

However, in this one I'm quoting a movie, "All that moisture coming up from the Gulf is going to miss us completely and take a dump on Harrisburg." (hint: the blizzard dumps on Puxatony)

Lastly, in this picture I'm either trying to show as many teeth as I possibly can, or doing my skull impression.


I Broke A Vow

I vowed never to wear a bathing suit again in front of others (or by myself for that matter) for the rest of my life. I'm just not in good shape anymore -- or any shape. I'm so pale you can see not only the veins in my body, but the bones underneath them as well. Also, I'm a pear shaped girl which means I have "junk in the trunk." At this point in the story, some of you girls reading this are thinking, "I wish I were more pear-shaped than apple shaped because you can hide your fat with shorts and still look thin because you have a lean torso." No, I disagree. You, apple-shaped girl, have a bossom and skinney legs. You don't look like you're trying to hide your thunder thighs by wearing shorts. Not to mention, I don't have the clearest skin so even exposing my top isn't safe. Alas, I digress. So there were numerous reasons why I didn't want to wear a swimsuit again, but I won't go into every detail.

I made the vow years ago after I gained the freshman 20. I know, my weight gain was a little more than the average. All the more reason to make a vow to myself not to wear a suit! Since then I've lost a little weight, what with living on the 6th floor of a walk-up building (no elevator). But, I still didn't want to wear a suit in front of others.

The day of the beach trip had arrived and I wanted to go so badly. I didn't want to get my undergarments all sandy so I thought, "I can wear my swimsuit underneath my clothes. That way, if I sweat a lot or walk in the water, I won't have to worry about getting my clothes all dirty." I continued to think, "I can cool down if I need to by taking my shirt off and I can at least let the UPPER portion of my body taste a little sun." After thinking, I packed a little bag of necessities (mainly food -- I've gotta sustain my weight somehow) and proceeded to put on my swimsuit.I think it's important to note that I haven't put this swimsuit on since I was in high school. I didn't even know if it would fit. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it did.

I carefully applied massive amounts of 30 SPF sunscreen on my paper white body. You're supposed to put sunscreen on BEFORE you go outside, so that's what I was doing. Reghan was of course waiting on me. The doorbell rang and it was our exterminator, Juan. Juan was the first man to see me in a swimsuit since Dusty, an 18 year old high school senior. I take that back. I just remembered I went swimming in Florida once as an undergrad with my sister and brother-in-law. So, Juan was the first man to see me in a swimsuit since my brother-in-law (note, it was a different suit).

Finally we began the 1.5 hour trek to Jones Beach via the Long Island Rail Road. Jones Beach is bigger than I imagined it to be. TONS of people were there. It was a slightly overcast day, which didn't make me look any less pale. There are two things that create the illusion that I'm tan: sunglasses and night. Obviously it was day, so night could do nothing for me. Thank goodness for sunglasses, though, because without them, I would look like my natural color and not that smooth sepia color that sunglasses so graciously give. Yes, I have a complex about my skin tone!

So we're there on the beach, with our friends from church (it was a church activity). I laid out my blanket and decided to take off ONE article of clothing. I was not going to break my vow. I decided I wasn't going to go in the water either because I thought of how disgusting it might be. New York ocean probably isn't very sanitary. So I laid on my blanket listening to music on my shuffle...and Robert. I was getting really bored sunbathing. I can't lay still for a second when it comes to suntanning. As lazy as I am, one might think I could sunbathe like a pro because all it requires is not moving. I get antsy and bored waiting for the sun's cancer causing rays to kill me, though. I tried talking to Reghan, but she wanted to sunbathe in the serious way where you lay in silence. I was getting hot and people kept saying how cool the water was. I applied more sunscreen and kept waiting...waiting for something I thought would never happen again. I had no idea what I was capable of doing and what I was about to do. Vow-breaking is no joke; especially when it involves a swimsuit.

As I was looking around at the people on the beach I had an epiphany. The sun-drenched girls in their thongs next to me, with their bleached blonde hair, and probably fake "Gucci's" I'll call them, were few and far between. Most of the people on the beach were either old, under 10, or looked similar to me. The one's in the best shape looked like they were in high school, so how could I even compare myself to that? I was realizing I didn't have to be intimidated or embarassed about my appearance. I even looked good next to some people despite my whiteness, flab, and other flaws. The longer I people-watched, the more courage I was gaining. I realized everyone was different, flawed, saggy, hairy, too tan, out of shape and I wasn't the exception.

I decided I would do it. I would reveal the bottom half of my pear! At first I was a little aprehensive. Okay, A LOT aprehensive. You know what though, after a while, I felt liberated. So there I sat, in my high school blue gingham bikini -- in broad daylight for all of Jones Beach to witness. Once I was comfortable in my skin, I even decided to STAND UP and WALK towards the water!

It was nice to be in the cool ocean. We jumped waves and had fun until I realized someone's bikini top foam padding was not just floating next to me but following me. Also, I kept landing on something sharp beneath me. I didn't even want to think about what that could have been, so I ignored it -- like I ignored what people might have thought about me as they saw me in all my pale, jiggly, glory.

To those who actually read this entire post, I've decide to give you a treat: PICTURES!!!

Reghan, Me, and the infamous suit (or the infamous Snow skin)!

Reghan, Me, and my favorite shade of blue.

I Could Inherit Millions From Repatriated Money!

I recently received this urgent email that somehow got sent to my junk mail folder. I should probably clarify that most people's emails get sent to my junk mail, but whatever. If you don't want to read through the entire letter, just skip to the section in bold typeface.
Dearest Snow,

I am Mr.Eric Morgan,a branch supervisor with banque International de L' Afrique De L' Ouest, I am the personal Account Manager to the late Engineer Smith B.Snow who is a National of your country, who used to work with an oil servicing company in Cote D'Ivoire. Here in after shall be referred to as my client On April 21, 2002, my client, his wife, and their three children were involved in a car accident along Grand Bassam express way.

All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives.Since then I have made several inquiries to your embassy to locate any of my clients extended Relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful.

After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his last name over the internet, to locate any member of his family hence I contacted you. I am contacting you to assist in repatriating the money and property left behind by my client before they Get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where this huge deposits were lodged, particularly the BIAO COTE D'IVOIRE. Where the deceased had an account Valued at about ($14 million US dollars) has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin Or have the account confiscated within the next ten official working days.

Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 4 years now, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you have the same last name so that the proceeds of this account valued at ($14 million US dollars) can be paid to you and then you and I Can share the money.

All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.

Call me on my Private Phone number Tel: [personal information has been deleted for privacy]
I wait to hear from you asap.

Best regards
Mr.Eric Morgan

Interesting, no? Well I think this letter I received a few weeks later makes it even more intriguing. Again, you can skip down to the bold typface (or skip back up to the first letter's bold section, you'll see)
Dear Sir/Madam,

I am Mr. Tom Phils a Banker with Spring Bank Plc, here in Nigeria. I am an account Officer to the late Mr. Scott, from your country, who used to work with Shell Oil Development Company in Nigeria. My late client had an account with my Bank valued $5.500,000.00 (five million five hundred thousand dollars). [I'm glad they clarified the amount in text because otherwise I might have thought it was less]

On the 2nd of Feb.2003, my client, his wife and their two children were involved in the Lagos, Ikeja Bomb Blast, which most of the occupants lost their lives.


Since then I have made several enquiries to your embassy to locate any of my clients extended relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful.

After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to track his last name over the Internet, to locate any member of his family hence I contacted you. I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank.

All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.

Please get in touch with me immediately with the following information stated below, as I do not have much time at my disposal.

1. Your full name and address.
2. Your place and date of birth.
3. Your occupation.
4. Your direct telephone/fax number.
I will await your soonest reply.

Best Regards,
Mr. Tom Phils.

My rich relatives Smith B. Snow and Scott Snow were living dangerous lives in Nigeria. Do you think I should put Mr. Tom Phils in touch with Mr. Eric Morgan? Apparently they don't know about eachother, but it may help speed up each case. Maybe there is a connection we don't know about. Also, is it funny that these Nigerian bankers have such English names? Something feels fishy; I just can't put my finger on it.


It's Official. I'm Definitely A Night Owl.

I just realized a pattern in my blog postings. The last 7 posts (8 including this one) have all been uploaded in the wee hours of the night... or early morning... whichever. Regardless, I've created a brief log of the last posts (in consecutive order). Note that the times are in hours:minutes -- in case you were unsure of the column order, or you can't tell time, or perhaps your Dyslexic.

04:01 AM -- Confession #8
01:46 AM -- The Yellow Banana Van
01:36 AM -- I'll Have A Cheeseburger With Lettuce, Tomato...
02:51 AM -- Confession #7
02:10 AM -- I Know It's Far From Valentine's Day But...
02:21 AM -- Guest Writer Installment #2
02:02 AM -- You Mean That Annoying Buzz Is Really The...
And approximately
04:16 AM -- It's Official. I'm Definitely A Night Owl.

Maybe this all has something to do with my being sort of unemployed. Nah, I would be up anyway.

Confession #8

Sometimes when I eat a lot of junk food and then feel sick, I think the resolution is to keep eating more junk food. I'm never right about that.


The Yellow Banana Van

I saw this advertisement for the movie "Little Miss Sunshine" and childhood memories immediately flooded my mind. Why you ask? Because the Volkswagon Van in the movie was basically what I grew up in.

I remember this van so well. It was not what I call weatherproof. In the summertime, the brown vinyl melted to your skin; in the winter, the seats felt like blocks of ice. I was always afraid to sit down in that car.

Because there are six children in my family, money was tight growing up. Note all six of us in what is one of my favorite family photos. [I am the one in the very front with Summer's arms around my neck. Sara is the beached whale my dad is holding] So my oldest sister Cami never had a car in high school. Needless to say, my parents would drop her off at school -- in the yellow Volkswagon bus. This car might have been cool in the 1970s, or whenever they were made, but in the 1980s, this car did not raise Cami's "cool" factor. She was always embarrassed about getting out of the van in front of everyone at school. It didn't help that it was so easy for this van to stand out, what with its screaming yellow shade. Eventually, Cami's friends at school nick-named the bus "The Yellow Banana Van."

Mostly I remember the van because I encountered my first near death experience in it. I never wore seatbelts as a child because the strap choked me and cut off my air supply, the metal clip thing always burned my fingers so I avoided touching it, and it wasn't a law then. Well, I remember riding in the front seat of the Volkswagon with my dad one sunny day in Oklahoma. Naturally, I wasn't wearing a seatbelt. I remember we came to a stop light and for some reason, I either needed to open the door to re-shut it better, or I just wanted to see if the door would open if it was in its locked state. Either way, I slipped my little fingers underneath the handle and opened it. Just as I opened the door, the light turned green and my dad accelerated. While my dad was turning left, I was swinging out of the van on the right. Next thing I know, I'm outside of the car, holding on as tight as I can to the handle, feet dragging on the concrete in the middle of an intersection, and knowing this was not a good situation to be in. I wasn't yelling or crying; I was in complete shock for a brief moment. I didn't know how I was going to get back inside the van. All of a sudden, I felt my dad's arm. Somehow he reached over while he was still driving, grabbed my body and returned it safely to the hot seat inside. I remember so clearly feeling the strength of my dad. Sure I was light, and in intense moments your strength is heightened, but at that moment, I sensed the strength and protection of a father. I will always remember my rendezvous with death in the Yellow Banana Van.

Huh. I wonder what the people behind us thought? That would be an interesting sight for someone to see.