Elster's World

Monday, December 26, 2005

Fear's Ugly Face

So I went to a wedding last night. Because of the dreaded Christmas Day/First night of Chanukkah combo, we couldn't find a babysitter (though in all honesty, the Mrs. didn't try all that hard) and Elster was forced to fly solo. Ordinarily, this isn't such a big deal (though I often dislike going places alone) as was only going to the ceremony, not the reception, but it certainly was to become one.

I'll tell you a secret. I left right after the shmorg (place where jewish people eat like pigs before the actually ceremony takes place) and before the chupah (wedding ceremony). But to be fair, my intentions were pure. I really wanted to light the first night Chanukkah candles with my kids before they went to sleep. Channukah lighting is one of the truly special times we share together, we only get eight shots at it a year, and I didn't want to miss the very first one. Two years ago, I had to work late every night and my whole family was asleep before I got home. So every chance you get is a gift.

Well, I slipped out of the hall unseen (everyone else was making their way to find seats on either side of the aisle) and managed to quickly get lost while attempting a shortcut. Normally, this wouldn't post a huge problem but my cell was dead so I wasn't even able to call for backup. After about ten minutes of taking one poorly thought out wrong turn after another, I was forced to ask for directions and made my way to the highway. It was here that things took a bad turn (no pun intended).

At about 6:30 last night, the Lord decided to open up the skies and pour forth a tidal wave of rain. Now, I'm a pretty good driver (well, I'm at least average), but as I take a train to and from work every day, I don't really drive all that much. So there I was in the dark, already a little shakey from being lost, and I'm driving through a wall of water.

I cannot ever remember feeling this insecure behind the wheel (except for right after I was involved in a minor accident when I was younger which shook my confidence for a while). I was sure that I was going to get in an accident. I was almost frozen with fear at some points - you would have thought it was my first time behind the wheel. You know the jerk sitting in the middle lane going 45 mph while cars whiz by on both sides? Well, that me moi last night.

When I got off the highway near my home and back on the empty streets, my relief was like something you could taste. Even thinking about it now causes a quickening of my heartbeat and a sour feeling in my stomach.

Well, I got home in one piece and I lit candles with my kids. We gave them each a present (Yeshivah Boys' Choir cd for my daughter, Dumbo dvd for my son) and shipped them off to bed. I was alternatively mad at Mrs. Elster for not coming with me to the wedding and relived that I wasn't lying in a hospital bed or worse.

Why am I writing this? Because I'm home from work, babysitting my son, and feel the overwhelming need to write. I get that sometimes.

Also, I feel writng stuff like this out is very theraputic. I don't mind admitting my flaws. I don't mind throwing stuff out, warts and all. I'm sure we all have moments of sheer terror where we look back at now and wonder where it came from. I don't know why I felt such panic at the wheel last night and I hope I never feel that was again.

But at a minimum, I think it might be time for some night-driving glasses.

Happy Chanukkah.


  • I got caught in the storm last night while driving with my 1 year old son from Brooklyn to Queens. It was pretty bad - especially since, when I got home feeling very weak I discovered that I had been driving with a fever of nearly 103.

    But if you really want to experience rain, head to Florida. A couple of years ago, driving from Boca to Miami, I experienced a storm worse than anything I could even have imagined. And I assume that even that storm was nothing compared to the hurricanes (though perhas people even the road during the hurricanes).

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 4:09 PM  

  • I watched the rain last night. I guess it would've been scary to drive in it, even though I don't drive anyway...About panic..sometimes we can be put in situations that we've been in before and still find a certain amount of unassuardness..(is that a word?)

    By Blogger Eshet Chayil, at 4:10 PM  

  • Nature will always strike fear in man - because we have no control over it. Driving in a downpour can definitely be scary...glad you made it home ok...

    By Blogger MC Aryeh, at 4:47 PM  

  • I went out with a friend because we're both on winterbreak. After arriving at our destination, he got a call from his father who said, "if you were thinking about going to (insert our destination), you probably shouldn't because there are torrential downpours." Precisely. :)

    By Blogger BrownsvilleGirl, at 7:03 PM  

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