There are some bucket list items you never think about listing until you’ve actually crossed them off your list. Like the one one I put a line through today: leaping from a moving vehicle.
I’ve thought about what I would do plenty of times if for example my brakes suddenly failed in between intersections on a busy boulevard, or my car had a blowout on the highway, or I lost control of my car crossing a bridge and it plunged into the river, or God forbid if the concrete overpass I was on suddenly gave way (scream all the way to my death would be my only option).
But nothing prepared me for Ian’s car rolling away from the gas pump with me in the passenger seat and Ian inside the station hut paying the bill. After the first few seconds of shocked disbelief, I felt the car picking up speed and screamed for Ian. With my life flashing before my eyes (and an image of the running shoes I’d regrettably exchanged for sandals before leaving the house), I undid my seatbelt, opened the passenger door and leaped out of the moving car.
Peeps, I gotta tell you, it’s a lot harder to do this in real life than they make it seem in the movies. I am incredibly grateful that I recently joined a gym and have been duly practicing my deadlifts and squats. As a result I managed to plant one foot squarely on the ground, drag the other one out real quick, all the while keeping my balance. I swear the only thing missing from this stunt was a Captain Kirk barrel roll. A week or so pre-gym and I likely would have injured myself, badly.
By now, Ian had heard the commotion and ran out of the hut in time to watch his poor jeep crash into a fire hydrant. Awful as that sounds, it was a better case scenario than heading into the busy intersection just beyond.
We examined the damage and determined the car was drivable but would need to be repaired. My only excuse for flight instead of fight was that I didn’t know what else to do. Ian asked why I didn’t hit the brakes. Duh, but that would only have worked if I had Gene Wilder’s leg length à la See No Evil Hear No Evil instead of Hobbit feet clad in comfy sketcher sandals. Alternatively, I could have straddled the middle console, grabbed the parking brake as if it were a kettle bell, and performed the mother of all deadlifts, saving the day and the front end of the car. Obviously, neither scenario crossed my mind while my magic car ride was underway.
These kinds of accidents always leave us feeling yucky and wishing we had done things differently. Like leaving a little earlier, or stopping at a different gas station and paying at the pump, or maybe keeping our running shoes on and our wits about us.
If I could channel Hiro Nakamura and alter the space-time continuum, I’d stay in the car this time and somehow stop it from crashing. But I didn’t and we didn’t, and it’s only stuff, right? Stuff that can be replaced or repaired. Besides, nobody got hurt which is the best part. And what’s a bucket list for after all, if not for crossing off.