Here’s what happens when you get shot on Florida’s Turnpike.
I was driving along, happily cruising at 70 MPH or so, listening to the radio. I was in the passing lane, trying to get past a trucker who was not being very gracious. Actually, he was being a complete jerk. Speeding up, slowing down, then speeding up again. You’d think a guy who was traveling with a huge trailer wouldn’t play chicken with a mini van. I was right next to him, again, trying to pass. I looked at him. He looked at me. Our eyes locked.
And then. The explosion.
The window shattered completely, spraying glass all over the passenger seat and all over me. My first thought, the most obvious thought, was “Oh my God, I’ve been shot.”
Because what else could have happened?
And since I am well-versed in movie etiquette regarding these situations, I immediately jumped to the next logical conclusion, “I’m bleeding to death, but I don’t know it because my adrenaline has kicked in.”
I pulled over to the shoulder, put it in “park” and assessed the situation.
I wasn’t dead. That was clear. I searched for the gashing wound, the entrance and exit hole that must have been in my arm, or my neck, or my head.
But I was fine. I even did the “Indiana-Jones-in-the-truck-in-Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark-Arm-Squeeze-and-Gasp” but, really, I was fine. Unscathed. Just covered in glass.
I sat on the side of the highway, getting my bearings, and wondered, among other things, how I was going to do carpool later that day.
But I also realized quickly, that no, I wasn’t shot. The truck driver hadn’t pulled a gun. Though somehow, my window was shattered, that truck was already somewhere close to Orlando, and I still had to get to work.
My parents instilled me with such a strong work ethic that I think it’s a flaw. Seriously. Because before I called FHP, or Geico, or even my husband, I knew I had to call work and let them know that I was going to be a bit delayed.
I waited for the police.
I drive on the Turnpike every day, and there are always police officers around the corners, under overpasses, or behind billboards. But that day, the day my window exploded, there was not a cop within miles. Good thing I wasn’t bleeding from my arm.
Though I checked again. Just to be sure.
I got out of my car and inspected the damage. Of course, any movement brought more glass cascading into the front seat. It was quite impressive.
Pretty soon a policeman pulled up and asked if I was okay. I mentioned that I was shot, but he was pretty sure a rock hit my window.
I told him about the trucker. About the look he gave me right before the window exploded. About movie tropes.
Clearly this was a rookie cop who didn’t watch 24. He wrote up a police report – something about “debris” – and drove off.
I couldn’t sit on the highway, and I couldn’t drive with glass flying all over the place from the window. I had little option.
I knew what I had to do.
I found an old lunch bag in the back of my car and broke the rest of that window like a BOSS. And then, with no window left, with glass all over my seat and floating in my coffee, I started the car.
Driving on the turnpike, wind blowing like a turbine, random pieces of glass trailing behind me, I looked pretty sketchy. So I blasted some DMX and OWNED that sketchy van.
I learned a few things as well.
First, I should have filmed the whole breaking the glass with my hands thing, because that was pretty cool. I was awesome.
Second, I need to work on the whole “last words” thing. I would like to think that if I were to die, my dying words would be a soft prayer, a final confession, an affirmation of some sort – not the expletive that I shouted louder than the shattering glass. One definitely doesn’t want to meet her maker with “Oh Sh–” as her final breath.
Finally, and this is probably most important, when driving on Florida’s turnpike, don’t mess with the truckers.
The drivers might be armed.