You hear about the problems with the new Toyotas. You put your foot on the brake, and the car doesn’t stop. This is not a feature you appreciate in a car.
I don’t drive a new Toyota. I drive an eighteen year-old Lexus. Though it is made by Toyota.
I pull into the parking lot at a nearby mini-mall. I drive around, looking for a parking space. Finally, I spot a car pulling out. I pull into the vacated parking space, which faces a major thoroughfare, and I drive up to the front of it.
I put my foot on the brake.
My car will not stop.
I press harder on the brake.
The car still will not stop.
I press down more urgently.
It continues moving forward.
I’m beginning to panic. Apparently, my car’s age, and the fact that it has never done this before – and that it’s not a Toyota – are not relevant factors. I am driving a rogue Lexus.
And I am going to die.
Any moment, my car will plunge uncontrollably into the major thoroughfare, where I will be immediately crashed into by oncoming traffic.
Oh, woe is me. I’d paid little attention to the news reports. I wasn’t driving a Toyota. I was certain I was safe.
And I was wrong.
As it turns out, dead wrong.
Though not conventionally religious, I begin saying my prayers.
Only then did I, belatedly, realize…
That my car was not going forward. The truck beside me was backing up.
(A paralleling, though less life threatening, incident, confirming the anxiety-triggering mind-set, destined to permanently undermine my wellbeing:
I am standing over the sink in the master bathroom. I look down. There are swirls of brown (my color) hair liberally adorning the porcelain. My immediate conclusion: I am suddenly and irreversibly going bald. When I tell her, Dr. M informs me she’d been cutting her bangs earlier in the day.)