On Love and Car Seats
“Who is screaming?” Time was choppy like a scratched CD as I stared at the black Grand Prix flying towards me in my rear view mirror. “I wish they would just shut the hell up. I can’t concentrate.”
Then everything pressed on me from behind — the seat, the air, the sound of squealing tires, all wrapping around me from behind like a cement blanket being tossed across the room. My car was flying forward, careening towards oncoming traffic, my foot slamming down on the brake, my forehead hitting the steering wheel, my arm catching as I tried to spin back.
Then I stopped screaming (thank god).
I pulled over neatly like I was parallel parking downtown on my way to a light lunch with old friends. My knee hurt. And my head hurt. And my seat belt region hurt. “When they ask me, what should I call my seat belt region? My chest? My ribs? They should know what seat belt region is, shouldn’t they?” I thought to myself as a man ran up to my car.
“Are you okay?” he asked me.
“That hurt.” I told him, surprised.
“Stay in your car. I got this.” he said, running off to the car behind me.
I sat still for a moment. “I’m going to take my seat belt off.” I decided, moving my fingers a bit. I watched Abbey pull over and climb out of her car. “I’m going to take off my seat belt,” I reminded myself as she came towards me looking worried, “And then I’m not going to cry.”
I climbed out of the car and looked at the damage. “We shall all live to see another day, Little B” I said aloud to my dented but drive-able car.
“I’m so sorry!” I heard from behind me.
I turned and a young man stood next to his girlfriend. She was holding her pregnant belly and covering her swollen face with her sleeve. I looked at their car. Broken windshield, air bags steaming, a baby in the back seat.
No car seat.
There isn’t much I could tell you after that, except that it was very cold. If you really need details you can ask Abbey. She pretty much ran the show.
I do remember there was a fireman and he had a piece of yellow and white paper with him that he held out towards me on a clip board while he whispered questions.
“Do you want to go in the ambulance?” he asked in a voice three decibels lower than Michael Jackson.
“That baby needs a car seat.” I thought looking at his pen.
“If you don’t, you can say you don’t want to but I need you to say that.”
I looked at Abbey. I watched her face change a bit as she said some things I couldn’t hear and then the fireman asked me again. “Do you want to go to the hospital?”
“Abbey will take me.” I told him, looking past him at the Grand Prix, “That baby needs a car seat.” I stood still on the corner, watching the fireman pack up, signing papers that were handed to me, giving out my phone number like I was in a speed dating session and answering questions.
“Write a description of what happened here.” the officer told me, handing me a frozen pen and a clipboard.
“A car hit my car from behind.” I scrawled on the paper and handed it back to him.
“Do you want to write more?” the officer asked me, eyebrows raised.
“What else happened?” I asked him, genuinely curious, losing my train of thought as the pregnant girlfriend pressed ice to her face, “That baby needs a car seat.”
“Come sit in my car.” Abbey suggested. It had been twenty minutes and I hadn’t moved. The wind stung my face as I squinted to watch the young family buckle their baby into the backseat of a less destroyed car, still without a car seat.
“That baby needs a car seat.” I told Abbey.
“Yea…he does.” she agreed, packing me into her car and helping me record the information for a Child Passenger Safety contact at AAA to give to the young family.
I sat uncomfortably in the waiting room at Urgent Care. No one chooses to wait in a doctor’s waiting room when they are in tip-top shape. You think they’d consider this when designing the damn things. Maybe an armrest or two, or a magazine from this decade.
“Everyone is all upset about that Nationwide commercial during the Super Bowl.” said the old man sitting across from us.
Abbey uttered something vague and I nodded.
“It was just too depressing! Let us enjoy the game.” he continued.
My head hurt too bad to argue but did my best to scowl at him. “It’s depressing but that stuff happens.” I thought, “It happened today.”
“I don’t know why I had to watch something so depressing with a damn dead kid in it while I’m just trying to enjoy the game.” The old guy continued plaguing the waiting room with his senseless opinions about how to educate the masses that he developed from a combination of stress and flu like symptoms.
I cringed as the waiting room nodded. “That baby needs a fucking car seat.” I reminded Abbey.