What is fear? According to dictionary.com fear is, “something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension”. I never really thought of fear in this way, but I figure the people at dictionary.com know what there talking about and I trust their definition. I find this definition very unfortunate because it means that I have many fears. I’ve never thought of myself as a fearful person, but I guess I am because I can’t tell you how many things cause me to have “feelings of dread or apprehension”.
I know some people, you know who you are, think my fears are a little irrational. Obviously, I don’t agree with this view. My fear of heights stems from many years of living in a mountainous area and getting into various vehicles, with various people, all of which drove way too fast. Really when you think about it it’s a mini miracle that I’m still alive. I should be lying in a crunched up car at the base of a mountain, not writing a blog.
My husband, a member of the some people club, finds my fear of heights irrational and used to look for ways to exploit my fear. Then one day we almost went over the side of a mountain in his white, Chevy Love. Needless to say, he has toned down his exploits since then. It was this event that made me realize there is some logic behind my fears. My fears may be what have kept me alive all these years.
We were supposed to be meeting some friends to go fishing at a pond that was up in the mountains. I say supposed to be meeting some friends because we never made it to the pond, we never saw our friends, and we never went fishing. Let me tell you why none of this ever happened. We were driving up the one lane dirt road to the pond. I was really nervous because I don’t like heights. With every turn I’d look out the window, over the side of the mountain, and wonder how far it was to the bottom. No matter how hard I tried to stop myself from looking out the window, it was if my body had been taken over and I had no choice, but to look out the window.
I kept telling my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) to slow down. I was really nervous and the last thing I wanted was for him to loose control of the car and for us to go sailing over the side of the mountain. Apparently we weren’t on the same wave length, so when I said, “slow down” he took it as speed up. I can’t say what was going through my husbands mind as he pressed his foot down harder on the gas petal, but I doubt that the thought of us actually going over the side of the mountain, was floating around in his brain. As the truck sped up, the last thing he expected was to loose control of the truck when it hit the washboard, but as fate would have it, that was exactly what happened. We hit the washboard and the truck went careening into the side of the mountain. My husband likes to argue this point and states that we didn’t hit the mountain, he says we hit a rock. I argue this because the rock was sitting on the side of the mountain. There was absolutely no way to hit the rock unless you ran into the mountain. Since I’m the one sharing this experience, I get the final say and I say mountain.
I know we hit the mountain on the driver side, how the passenger side ended up air born, I’m not sure. I remember hitting the mountain then almost tipping completely over on the driver side. Luckily or unluckily, the truck didn’t tip completely over, instead the passenger side went up into the air and the only two wheels that remained on the ground were the driver side wheels. I’m sure my parents are going to love this part; but the passenger side seat belt didn’t work, so of course I wasn’t buckled up. When the truck went up on two wheels I fell over on top of my husband, who was desperately trying to get a grip on the steering wheel and his foot on the breaks. Only by the grace of God, did the truck get back onto all four wheels before we went flying off the side of the mountain. My husband slammed on the breaks and the truck stopped, leaving the front wheels teetering on the edge of the mountain.
When the truck stopped and we realized we were still alive, the first thing we noticed was that there was a wheel rolling down the road. Not a good sign. After a thorough inspection of the vehicle, we realized that it was the spare tire that had rolled down the road and that all four tires remained intact. However, after said inspection we realized that the truck was totaled and for the first time we saw just how close to the edge of the mountain we had come. When I say teetering I’m not exaggerating, another couple of inches and we would have gone sailing over the side of the mountain.
I had an epiphany when my husband went to retrieve the spare tire, not only had one miracle occurred, but two miracles had taken place. I sat there wondering, how had I remained in the car? I wondered this because during this whole debacle I didn’t have a seatbelt on. When we hit the side of the mountain, we hit the mountain with such force that it catapulted the spare tire, which was in the bed of the truck, over the cab and up the road. When we saw the tire rolling down the road it wasn’t rolling down the road away from the truck, it was rolling down the road back towards the truck.
After our nerves had calmed a bit, we got back in the truck to go home. The truck was totaled, so of course it didn’t start. Luckily the entire journey had been uphill, this meant that we were able to coast downhill all the way home, but not to my home, no, it was my husband’s house that we went to. I had never met my husband’s parents and it was after this event that I got to meet my husband’s parents for the first time. As you can imagine this was not how I envisioned meeting his parents for the first time. My father in-law drove me home and I will be forever grateful to him for letting me be the one to explain why he was driving me home. I remember that he told my mom that my husband had wrecked his truck, but he left it up to me to fill her in on the details. Until now, I don’t think she has ever heard the full story about what happened that day. I’m sure that if she had been aware of all the details, I would’ve been grounded for life. Luckily I’m grown now with kids of my own and I’m the one that gets to do the grounding, not my mother.
I feel that this story proves that not all fears irrational. I think fear is health. You never know when your fears could save your life. The next time you’re on a mountain and enjoying the view, remember this story. I think you’ll be a lot more careful on the drive down. Oh yeah and don’t forget to buckle up.