July 31st, 2002

duke-thoughtful

Irrational carseat fear

I have a peculiar fear of car floor mats. Just reading a random comment about one somebody made a moment ago sent shivers down my spine. I also have a fear of reaching underneath car seats. Sound strange? Yes, I'll agree. I am a little strange. But let me explain.

It was probably around 7 years ago. I'd just gotten my car washed and vacuumed, and I stopped in the parking lot of Meijer, a big superstore kinda place, to pick up some stuff. I drive a 2-door Sunbird, with front seats that move back and forth for rear seat accessibility. I glanced in the back seat, maybe to fetch something out of it, maybe just to admire its new cleanliness.

I noticed that the rear floor mat was bunched up oddly, and halfway under the front seat. I idly reached down to pull it into its proper place. I gave it a tug, but it was stuck on something under the seat. I wrestled around with it, unable to extricate it, as whatever it was stuck on was underneath, hidden from view. I reached under, wiggling it around, trying to pull it free.

All of a sudden I felt something grab my right index finger, and pull it underneath the seat. It hurt, and my hand and arm followed behind it. There I was, half-kneeling in the parking lot, leaning into my car, with my hand/arm pulled underneath my car seat and totally stuck there. I could feel sharp pain in the top of my finger, and something still pulling my finger under the seat. I couldn't move it at all.

I couldn't see what was going on, so I had to reach awkwardly under the seat with my left hand (I am right-handed) and identify by touch alone what was wrong. I felt along my wrist to my hand, then my finger. I found something metal touching my finger. Further exploration revealed that the metal-something was actually inside the top of my finger, where my index fingerprint is.

It was a metal hook of some sort, curved, because I could feel more metal where the end of it came out of my finger maybe a centimeter away. The metal hook was attached to a thick metal spring, full of tension, which was pulling my hand, flesh firmly hooked, underneath the seat of my car. Trapped.

My skin crawled in horror as my fingers told me the story. I wanted to panic and start shaking my hand free, but any movement at all pulled painfully at the torn flesh, the spring still trying to retract. Instead, I forced myself to hold my right hand very still, as my left hand explored the hardware more fully, and determined the angle of the metal's entry and exit. I then steadied the hook with my left hand and used my right thumb and fingers to pull my finger off the hook.

Seconds later I was free, staring in awe at my blackened fingertip, with two bright red beads of blood welling up from the entry and exit wounds. I had nothing to clean it or anything, and I didn't want to get my clothes all bloody. So holding my hand gingerly in front of me, I walked quickly into the store, and across the entire end of the store to the bathroom. I noted later that I'd left a trail of red splashes behind me.

The bathroom was one of those obnoxious types that only have one temperature of water, warm, which did nothing to sooth my now-throbbing finger. I held it under the warm water until it didn't seem to be bleeding quite as much, then wrapped a handful of toilet paper around it, tucking more into my pocket.

I found a store employee who gave me a cup full of ice, which I held against my finger with relief. I got a cart, and wandered about the store in a daze, holding my ice in my injured hand, trying to remember what purchases I'd wanted to make, then adding bandaids to the list. Finally I got everything home and was able to bandage it up properly.

I still to this day have two round white scars on my fingertip, a centimeter apart. They look a little bit like I imagine a snakebite scar would. Also, I have a very strange fear of reaching underneath a car seat, any car's seat, and even floormats make me a bit nervous....
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duke-hips

Old Men

I was talking with my parents and sister this evening about the advantages of a woman marrying a man younger than she. Men don't tend to live as long as women, so you even out your chances of spending the maximum possible amount of time together. It's always such a tragedy when one half of a couple outlives the other.

"But men age more gracefully than women do," my father pointed out. I disagreed, saying that although society has taught us to perceive things this way, it really wasn't true. My sister said that some men age very gracelessly indeed. They lose their hair, they put on weight....

I think the big problem is their additional hair -- older men start spurting hair out of orifices which are not meant to have hair. You see tufts of hair peeking out of a man's nose, or his ears. I also don't like when you see a huge sprout of hair bursting out of a shirt collar, just at the neck.

Furthermore, when men age their cartilage areas get bigger, for some reason. I guess it keeps growing, long after the rest of the body stops. You look at an older man, and his nose is large and bulbous, and his ears are huge floppy things. My father claims this happens to women too. I am not convinced, although it's possible it happens and is just not as dramatic. I reminded the family of our beloved late step-grandfather. He his nose and ears were enormous! Well my grandmother once showed me a photo of him as a young man, still in the military, and I looked. His nose and ears were perfectly normal-sized back then.