Tuesday's are dance night, with the three oldest kids and Lisa all taking classes out in Brookfield. Normally Lisa's Mom helps out with the transportation but she was sick today and so I came out of the bullpen to save the day.
Unfortunately, my Mom called to say she needed a ride to Urgent Care, having let a tooth infection spread to the point where her visiting nurse feared it would go after her heart. WTF? So my sister K went to the classes with Lisa to keep an eye on the kids while I drove my Mom.
It was actually a pretty good time, aside from all the infection and schtuff. Rare is the conversation with my Mom that isn't a monologue of her day or a ratcheted-down argument, but it happened tonight. No moaning and groaning about her ills - ironic, considering why we were together - and actual give and take.
[When we put our minds to it it was surprising how much of my preschool we could remember, from the sliver I got on the playset and the time I tried rubbing two sticks together to see if it would start a fire, to the upstairs area for 'older' kids and the infamous crush I had on Christy, a young blond teacher that set my heart a'flutter.]
Afterwards I went on a few errands on her behalf and after listening to her marvel at all the 'new stores around', and realizing she spends most of her days inside her bedroom, I decided to take her with me out to Brookfield to pick up the kids.
I guess she enjoyed it, because by the end of the ride she asked me if I'd take her along the next time I would go to the bookstore. So, cool beans and a nice evening with her.
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On the way home an odd event. My sister C was in the car hitching a ride home when an Alero (sp?) pulled up alongside of my van. It was making an awful noise, part putt-putt, part groan, part the sound of metal tearing. It was unique, I'll give it that.
Eventually the Alero pulled ahead when I was stuck at a light. When I was through the intersection he was about two blocks ahead (this was between 27th and 20th on Oklahoma).
And then, in a flash, the underside of his car was on fire. I do not mean it was sparking or smoking or anything of the kind; I mean it was full on on-fire, with smoke billowing out and flames visible even from that distance. Not a fireball, (let's keep this in perspective) but inevitably well on its way to becoming a burnt-out shell.
The cars around him all pulled to the side of the road. Only he kept going. And going. And going, seemingly oblivious to the fire. I thought about calling 911 but saw another driver bring his phone to his ear. The yahoo was still driving the speed limit, right down the center of the lane as the flames got worse.
"He's going to burn alive," my sister said. "Oh my God, he's actually going to burn."
At which point the kids reacted with terror and screaming. So I floored it, bringing the van up to sixty and laying on the horn. We pulled aside and rolled down the window, screaming 'Fire!' and gesturing to the ground. The driver, a young Hispanic man, continued to bounce merrily to whatever tune was on his radio. When he did see us he reacted in anger, and for a split second I thought 'This moron wants to fight'.
It didn't get that far. Instead he took the next turn without slowing his Ghost Rider self, squealing his tires and hitting the gas. The flames grew larger, but the hell with him. I'd done my part. If he was still truly oblivious to it, then his mind is someplace I'd rather not visit.
It was a good few minutes before the kids calmed down - as I write this YaYa just came downstairs crying and asked to sleep on the couch - and I had to put off questions about what 'Burn alive' means. Bad slip of the tongue there Aunt C.
I told the kids what I believe the truth, however. That somewhere a block or two down the kid recognized what was going on, pulled over, and ditched the car. It'll go down in the books as one more lackadaisical car fire, he'll ride the bus tomorrow, and all will be well with the universe.
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More juicy news from work er, ex-work. Details Friday, after I pick up my final paycheck and the hounds are loosed upon the moor;)