So there I am at my mommy dinner group (we call ourselves MOD—Moms Out Drinking) and I am chatting with this mommy I never met before, Zinnia. (This is her real name. She knows I write a blog and she gave me permission to use it.) I find out she is an orthodontist, and for some reason, my slightly tipsy self thinks this is a great little tidbit to grab onto. I start introducing her to other moms at the table, and I am insistent on making her job into part of her name: “This is my new friend ZinniaTheOrthodontist.”
She smiles through her clenched (very straight, very white) teeth and whispers, “Do you think you could stop introducing me that way? Just good ol’ ‘Zinnia’ would be just fine.”
I do what I always do in this type of instance (which happens more frequently than one might think): ignore what she said. Instead, I start telling her all about my blog (did I mention the name of our group? the drinking part of Moms Out Drinking? I’d had about three glasses of wine by this point. I was officially not the designated driver.)
ZinniaTheOrthodontist recounts a funny story and then she says if I stop calling her ZinniaTheOrthodontist, I am welcome to steal this amusing story for my blog and pretend like the story happened to me.
No dice, ZinniaTheOrthodontist. I do not pretend other people’s stories have happened to me. Do you think blogs are fiction?!? No. Every word of every blog must be 100% true and accurate (maybe, dear ZinniaTheOrthodontist, if you had gone to law school instead of orthodontist school, you would know that).
So I will recount ZinniaTheOrthodontist’s story, but I will let you know up front it happened to her.
(Told in the first person as if ZinniaTheOrthodontist is telling it, not me):
I had just graduated magna cum laude from college, when my dad generously gave me a choice of graduation presents: a summer in Europe, or his vintage 1962 black Corvette. I believe that memories are something sacred you hold in your heart for a lifetime, but I believe even more strongly in making memories by zipping along Pacific Coast Highway in that sports car. Yeah, yeah—I picked the car. Can you blame me?
I was blonde (I’m a redhead now), I was 22, I was living in Santa Barbara, and I drove a convertible Corvette. Let me tell you, it was a pretty hot summer.
I’d had the car exactly two months when it happened. I was driving on PCH and a cute guy in a green truck pulls up next to me, waving frantically. I knew a lot of people in Santa Barbara, but I couldn’t recall anyone who owned a green truck. He's waving like he knows me, so I wave back. About a minute later, a red Honda starts honking at me. I was used to this kind of attention (see above: 22, blonde, vintage Corvette), so again, I just waved back. The more I smiled and waved, the more he seemed, uh, well—agitated. I sped up. He caught up and then passed me. He continued to wave and honk.
I glanced at my reflection in the rearview mirror. I had just recently gotten my hair cut, so I was confirming that it looked good. It did.
A new car pulled up to join the fun. A police car. He clicked his sirens on and motioned for me to pull over. Now, I had had a lot of guys hitting on me at this point in my life, but never a cute policeman! I was on fire!
Yes, literally, I was on fire. When I pulled over, the policeman yanked me out of the car; the underside of my dad’s beautiful Corvette was on fire, flames shooting out both sides and the back. Just like a movie.
I stood there, transfixed and horrified, not knowing what to do (“Run” was a thought that sprang to mind). Somehow, firemen appeared (again, like a movie) and put the fire out. I was grateful to be alive.
But a teeny tiny part of me was just a little bit disappointed that those young men were not really flirting with me after all; they were merely trying to save my life.
(as told to MOV by ZinniaTheOrthodontist)