Saturday, February 20, 2010

I think it was the snow bank. His car must have glanced it, just enough as he came down the hill, to veer more to the right than the left. That's the only reason I can think of. It had to be the snow.

We were getting out of the car, ready to go to karate class, when a faded black car came tearing up the parking lot that connects a back road to Route 30. Gavin was still climbing out of the back seat, actually, as the punk roared past us. I looked at the driver, annoyed at his speed, but more interested in the beige 4 x 4 that was pulling out of the adjacent parking area and making sure that Gavin didn't run out in front of him.

He didn't. The driver saw us, paused, and I herded Gavin -- who is "almost seven" as opposed to "only six" -- to the passenger side of the car. He deals well with my eternal belief that parking lots are full of cars ready to careen out of control and slam into him.

The parking lot is a hill, so when you pull in it's easier to get out of the driver's side (which is the downhill side) than the passenger side. He'd left his bag with sparring gear in the backseat, as usual, so I got it out. Closing the doors on that side take a little extra umph depending on just where one parks on the slope, but the over-sized button on my coat caught on the frame and the umph was for naught. Gav was patiently waiting on the other side of the car.

I didn't hear the crash itself. It was the sound of something metal dragging along the pavement that made me look up as I made my way to my little guy to hand him his bag.

The faded black car was speeding down the hill. It's front end now smashed, the bumper barely attached.

I remember screaming Gavin's name as I ran to him, dragging him backwards, remember realizing that it was making a beeline for my car's back end, and remember watching -- just watching -- as the driver somehow managed to miss by inches.

And then he was gone.

And I was kneeling and holding my son, shaking, because I had dragged us towards the front of my car and, had that punk hit my bumper, the force very well could have turned the car around and slammed it into us.

"That front was really destroyed," Gav said. "It was totally destroyed!"

"Yes, it was." My voice sounded normal, for which I was thankful.

"It was totally destroyed, Mom!" He had no clue what could have happened. Small mercies.

We made it inside and class started and I sat there, just not quite able to focus on the economics paper I was supposed to be writing.

My mind was racing and I kept seeing the car coming down the hill. Sometimes I saw my button caught on the door frame and wondered what would have been different had it not caught. I went back outside and looked at the snow piled high next to the building and at the fresh mark where he must have hit it, walked up the hill to where the accident had happened. Only the bumper of the car he'd hit remained by now. A man was on the phone, and I told him that I saw where the driver had sped off to, pointed out the road, and said I'd be in the karate school if there were any questions once the police arrived. Then I went back inside. Then back outside.

A police car was quietly sitting at the entrance to the dead end road that I'd seen the black car head down once he'd left the parking lot.

I went back inside.

Eventually, the adrenaline rush ends and rational thought returns. By the end of class, I was able to focus much better and was, for the most part, done replaying it in my mind. Thoughts of what could have happened were replaced by white hot rage and what I wanted to do to that son of a bitch who could have killed my son. The enduring image is a meat grinder and his hands so that he never drives again.

(Just because rational thought returns, doesn't mean one has to be rational, you know.)

And when we left karate and walked through the parking lot once more, Gavin listed all of the karate kicks he would have used on the driver had I been hurt.

Maybe a meat grinder is too humane.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Captain Chaos and the Matchbox Cars

Gav inherited a solid wooden box from my Dad. It's about 13" x 8", roughly, and was a Christmas gift to Dad years ago. A bucolic hunting scene is on the front. For those years that Dad was alive, it sat next to the fireplace at the cottage.

It's still next to a fireplace, but now it's our fireplace. The box used to hold matches for the fireplace. Now it holds Matchbox cars. It's a good little box, sturdy enough to survive the abuse even a six-year-old can dish out.

And the other night, well...

Chaos does not own just brand name, indestructible Matchbox cars. He also owns a few dozen cheaper ones from the local dollar store. Those cars break rather easily -- which he discovered that Friday night. The handle of a wrench can easily smash one of these cars.

Very easily.

Six cars later, the Big Guy told him that enough was enough, that his curiosity should be appeased, and to quit bashing cars on the kitchen table.

Always a good little man, Gav handed over the wrench. Reluctantly, I might add.

The Big Guy was wrong, however. Curiosity was not appeased.

Stripped of his wrench, he needed a new method to crush the cars. Preferably one that was a bit less noisy so as not to attract the notice of his parents (who have this crazy tendency to back each other up on things like this).

The next thing I knew, he was adjusting the kitchen chair, then sitting down rather hard, then adjusting the chair, then sitting down rather hard, then adjusting... well, you get the idea.

I'm not sure if I should take the science books off of him or not. Seems that we've moved from Rube Goldberg machines to simple machines. You see, he was putting the cars under the chair's leg then slamming all fifty pounds of himself onto the seat to effectively (quite effectively) crush them.

Wheels, fake glass, and cheap plastic were flying all over the place. While it was certainly quieter than the wrench, and certainly more thorough, it was much less controlled. I'm still finding occasional pieces of the wreckage in distant corners of the kitchen, leading me to think it wasn't so much a crushing but an explosion.

Chaos demolished two cars before I had to swoop in, hide my laughter, and make him stop.

He, again, was reluctant to obey, but he knew that it was the wiser course of action. Anything else would have resulted in the remaining cars residing on top of the fridge.

But he hadn't really stopped. He'd paused. It was now all a matter of determining what he would use next to accomplish his objective.

Ah, but bedtime has a way of hampering the best of plans, so he had to wait until morning to annihilate the remaining ten cars. So for the next nine hours, all was calm in the Louch house.

"Mom. Mom. Hey, Mom. Are you getting up yet? Mom. Mom..." When he was three, I would wake up and be eyeball-to-eyeball with him. Now that he's six, he has to lean over a bit, but we're still eyeball-to-eyeball when I open my eyes. "Mom, can we go downstairs yet?"

Gathering my wits, I got up and we did just that. He fussed with his cars while I made breakfast. I was curious that he hadn't started trying to smash them, but wasn't about to remind him.

Then I saw it. The wooden box, which is a good 15 pounds or so when filled with toy cars, sitting a bit a-tilt on the fireplace hearth. Underneath, a cheap plastic car, slowly... very slowly... being flattened...