One of the things I enjoy about blogging is that I can read a blog and it will trigger a memory that I can write about and share with my own readers. Such a thing happened last night as I read Joanne’s post at My Life Lived Full.
When I lived in Los Angeles, we (my kids and I) spent a lot of time in the car, on one of the many freeways we had to take to navigate from one part of the county to another. One of these times, my daughters and I were coming back from visiting friends. They were about 19 and 13 years old. It was dark out and we were traveling west on the 134, which is the Ventura Freeway. That night, as happens most nights, the traffic was buzzing along at about 70 miles per hour. No one was going slower or faster. That’s not an ideal situation because it pretty much forces drivers to drive just as fast as everyone else and it makes it very difficult to move over from one lane to another. I was driving along with the flow of traffic but because we had to drive the same freeway for about twenty or more miles, I had gotten into the far left lane of a four lane freeway. I was sort of stuck there.
Suddenly, Tina (the older of the two girls) starts screaming. “Something is crawling on me! Something is crawling on me!” And she starts swatting at the something and wiggling around to get away from the Something. Of course, she was riding shotgun so as she screamed and swatted, she was distracting me from the driving. I tried to keep my eyes and mind on the road and I did, but I had to really concentrate. The screaming continued. “It’s a spider! Mom, get it off of me! Mom! I hate spiders, get it off of me!” More shrieking and swatting. As I drove, I tried to find a spot to move over four lanes so I could pull off the freeway before she swatted the steering wheel out of my hands, blew out my ear drums, or had a heart attack, whichever came first. As I glanced over toward the right to check traffic, I spotted the spider as it was briefly lit by the headlights of the cars behind me.
It was a tiny spider. Tiny. As in eensy weensy spider! I cracked up. That made Tina more upset because she thought (okay, she knew) I was laughing at her. And the screaming at me continued. “Don’t laugh at me! It’s not funny. I hate spiders! Get it off of me!” Susie, in the back seat, had been pretty quiet the whole time, just watching the entertainment Tina was providing. Then I blew it. I told Tina it was a tiny spider and started singing, “the eensy weensy spider climbed up the Tina girl. Down came Tina’s arm and slapped the eensy weensy spider down.” As I sang, Susie and I cracked up. By then I had managed to move over a couple of lanes, almost in time to get off on an actual exit but I missed the exit. More screaming and swatting, then finally, as I reached the next exit and began to get off of the freeway, Tina laughed too. There were tears in her eyes but I think she finally realized the humor in the situation and she laughed. Either that or she was laughing in relief that I was going to get the spider off of her.
We made it off of the freeway, where she got out of the car and shook off anything and everything that could possibly have been on her then she swatted at the seat and the windows before getting in the car. All the while, Susie and I cracked up. When she got back in the car, she asked me not to get back on the freeway. She wanted me to take surface streets so if there were anymore spiders, we could pull over quickly. I complied and we proceeded home. After about five minutes, there came a little voice from the back seat as Susie sang the words to the eensy weensy spider song. And we all cracked up. Even Tina.