Friday, April 10, 2009

The Shame of it all

When I was sixteen and had just recently gotten my driver's license I was lucky enough to be provided with a Mercury Sable to drive. It only chirped like an angry bird who'd swallowed a frog until you lifted the hood and put a bar of soap up to the running fan belt to quiet it down. I kept the bar of soap in the glove compartment for easy access. I was possibly more popular than my best friend Dawn who had gotten a brand new black Pontiac Firebird with removable T-tops, at least that's what you might think by the hoards of people who turned to look when my chirping car pulled into the High School parking lot.

One day my younger sister Katie and I got in the car to go somewhere. I put the key into the ignition, turned the car on, and immediately saw smoke rising from the hood. Upon seeing the smoke adrenaline hit my body, and I sprang to action. I jumped out of the burning car and ran into the house slamming the door behind me. After I had calmed down from my near death experience, I gathered my senses and realized I had broken the cardinal rule. I had left my sister behind. I peeked back through the garage door to see Katie still sitting in the passenger seat giving me a strange look. The car in fact was not on fire, and the smoke had died down to a small, post birthday candle blow out like drizzle.

I had over reacted. But worse than my over reaction was the fact that I had not had the sense to get my sister out of the burning car. Not that she couldn't have gotten herself out, she was 14, but I had actually slammed the door behind me, leaving her to die. I always felt bad about that. I wrote an essay about it in my Freshman Honors English class at BYU. Have you ever seen the Seinfeld episode where George runs away from a kitchen fire pushing children and grannys in walkers down to exit the apartment? Yeah, it was kind of like that.

And I feel the same shame to tell you that I kept the money I found on the floor of the Spoons and Spice kitchen store. But just as with Katie and the burning car it was an honest, split second decision that I later regretted. Only not enough to take the money back, just yet anyway. I honestly thought it was mine. I for once had some cash in my wallet and wasn't sure exactly how much was there. So my immediate first thought was that it must be mine. It wasn't until I exited the store and saw the cop car parked by my car that I thought I'd robbed the store and the cops were there to get me. I should have turned around and taken back the two five dollar bills and given them to the store clerk for her to steal and have on her conscience. But I didn't. I still have them. And I'm deciding what to do with them. Had I read this scenario I would have thought I'd have turned the money in too like an honest person. But I lived the scenario and I didn't. Just like I would have said that I'd have saved my sister from a burning car, but instead I slammed the door in her face leaving her to die in our inferno of a garage. You just never know how you're going to act in a situation until you're in it.

Did I mention how last week I saved my neighbor's down syndrome child and new puppy all within a 24 hour period? I did. There I feel better. Maybe I'll take the money back to the store so I can keep my temple recommend.

6 comments:

Mike and Joy said...

So, are you sure it isn't yours? I am dying laughing here.

hendywow said...

You just need to chalk it up to a learning experience, I am sure your Karma is still solid! Have a great Easter! We wish we could eat eggs with ya!

pam said...

Unless you specifially mark the cash bills you carry around, you will never know if the money really was yours anyways. Now we want to hear just exactly how you saved your neighbor's child and puppy. I do remember that Sabel and all the fun problems. I had to drive it too.

Jennifer Woodbury said...

You are so funny. If it were me I'm sure I wouldn't have thought twice about the $10!

Anonymous said...

Don't hate the face book

Steph said...

I remember that car, fun memories! I think the first time you took us out in it we plowed through some orange cones...maybe that is why it chirped? I love your stories! Thanks for the laugh!