When I was a little kid, I had this recurring nightmare, and it went like so:
My parents have parked the car and left me inside of it as they pop out to get something from the house, or from the store or wherever. Maybe I’m in the car to get a toy or something. However it happened, I am in the car, and they are not. Suddenly, the car starts to DRIVE!
Maybe I bumped the parking break, which I must NEVER EVER touch, or I tried the keys just to see what would happen, or maybe just MAGIC, but the car is now racing up the road, possibly backwards. If my little brother is in the car, he starts crawling all around! In some iterations, I glace behind me, horrified, to see my parents, horrified, running after me, but the car is too fast!
This dream happened a lot when I was little, and pops up every once in a while still, always with the full weight and punch of childhood fears.
It wasn’t actually a dream. IT WAS A PREMONITION.
I took a drive to my cousin’s house earlier tonight. I’d never been there before, and it seemed pretty easy. Take rt 9 for like 30 miles, turn onto her street, done. I was going to breeze my way there, easy-peasy. I have never had any sort of accident or anything, and am a very conscientious driver. Here’s the thing, though: I drive like 8 times a year. I have only driven at night like once before ever (short errands in well-lit town situations aside), and never at night and alone. I just got ahold of this car a few days ago, and it is a big, fat, old minivan.
Route 9 has HILLS. TURNS. Turns on hills. Twisting turns that follow other turns. On hills.* 50 mph speed limit on a turn at the crest of a hill in a van??? Route 9 has oncoming traffic. The traffic has high-beams! The road has blessed, blessed reflector-strips between the lanes…but not all the time! You crest a hill, wince at some high-beams, and then *whistling wind* Are you on a road? YES. BE CAREFUL!
I mean, nothing bad happened at all. I drove exactly the speed limit, and took every turn gracefully. Textbook. A couple of freaking lunatics who needed to go 20 mph over the limit on that serpentine, undulating horror passed me; that was cool. I took a wrong turn at one point, and made an awkward little U-turn where there was no traffic. That’s it.
Even so, it was my nightmare come to life. I recognized this a few miles in and then I was suddenly 5 years old, trapped in a missile, barreling through the night, alone, DRIVING THE CAR. I was trembling like a leaf, sweating like a pig, white as a sheet, my heart racing like the horrible racing car surrounding me was racing. These effects lasted for like an hour after I arrived at the house, and again after I got BACK from her house. Every time I shut my eyes, I see oncoming traffic, or imagine myself flying off the road into a tree.
Readers who drive: Tell me I will get over this!
Especially because I’m driving to/from NH tomorrow!