The scariest moment of my life happened yesterday. Yup, this one beats out Matilda for the top spot. Then I was worried about a opossum gnawing Joe's leg off; yesterday, I thought my family was going to die.
(Before I go any further, we're all 100 hundred percent, absolutely OK. Not even a scratch on us. Praise God.)
So yesterday, Madeline and I picked up my parents and younger brother to drop them off at the airport. I was driving The Steed, the trusted 1994 Honda who has been so good to Joe and me.
As I started up a ramp to the highway, I realized I couldn't go over 40 MPH even though I was flooring it. Then the car suddenly rocketed off and I eased off the gas.
But even without my foot on the gas pedal, the car went faster and faster. The brakes weren't working so I only had steering control while my car was increasing speed.
It was like riding in a car with a mind of its own. Like KITT in Knight Rider but not as fun. The Hoff wasn't with me.
This event showed me how I react in crises: um...I shut down. I didn't scream but I also didn't even ask for help. Visions of us speeding around Indy at 100 MPH and slamming into a guardrail were flashing before me.
I remember being thankful that we just bought a new car seat for Madeline and praying God would open the lane in front of me.
My parents noticed something was wrong when my body was hanging over the steering wheel so I could put my entire weight on the brake. And I was muttering, "I can't brake. I can't brake."
Thankfully, we didn't get too far before the car decided the joyride was over. It stopped accelerating and we coasted to a stop on the shoulder.
So we're all fine and perfect. We even picked up another car and my family made their flight in time. But as soon as I waved bye and pulled out of the airport, I broke down crying.
I have never been so scared before in my life. Even though I've always driven older cars (Chip, my 1989 Dodge Aires, is a whole other post...), I never felt unsafe. I thought the worst that could happen would be to break down and not be able to move. I never thought about a car speeding on its own.
It turns out the acceleration cord had no lube and probably was stuck below 40 MPH until I pushed it to go higher. The brake are fine but just couldn't override the acceleration.
Also, the mechanics discovered something in our steering column is in "catastrophic condition." (I think that's the ultimate word you never want to hear about your car.) So while I never want to do my own version of Knight Rider again, I am thankful this showed us an even bigger problem.
So we're fine, we're fine, we're fine. Which is what I keep telling myself when the scene replays in my mind. Thank God, we're fine.