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family rules

Fear of cars begins

My mother was a heavy smoker.  It was kind of gross.  The house smelled like cigarette smoke and there were cigarette butts stuffed everywhere.  My mother always smelled of smoke.  My father also smoked and always smelled this way as well.  Their bedroom was a haze of smoke.  My mother had to supply their habit often.  They went through two or three cartons a week between the two of them.  John and I were always waiting in the car outside the store after school while my mother would run in and buy her cartons of cigarettes.  This was a recipe for disaster since it was after school.  We were both tired and restless and did not want to be stuck together in a car waiting.  John was a hyper child and could not sit still.  He was not happy unless he was making me squirm.  He got the idea into his head that it would be great fun to scare me whenever we were waiting for my mother to come back out.  He developed a plan with great care.  I believe he got the idea from a Rockford Files episode we had just watched.  This was a t.v. show we used to like to sneak in watching because my parents did not want us watching it.  There were always people dying and cars blowing up.  This had something to do with my believing John for as long as I did and he knew it.  He also knew I had trouble figuring out the difference between t.v. shows and reality sometimes.  I don’t know what my brother’s thinking process was for scaring me other than to just torture me and take out his frustration on the nearest and easiest target.  John told me that someone was after my mother.  He said this person would wait for my mother to go inside the house and then they would tamper with the engine of the car.  The car was waiting for the engine to turn on and then the car would explode with us inside and we would all die.  This scared me.  I thought it sounded far fetched but did not think my brother would be so mean to me and make something like this up.  So I began to fear the moment I would see my mother walk out of the store.  She would come back in the car and start the engine.  I would wait anxiously to see what would happen to the car when this would happen.  John would start laughing hysterically at me and make fun of me. This went on for a long time.  I would say this went on for a few months.  My nerves began to get raw.  I was definitely on the short tempered side.  The car became something for me to fear.  This went on until I finally stopped reacting to John.  Then the fun went out of it for him when he realized I no longer cared about what he said.  But the damage had been done.  I became afraid of cars after that and the power they represented.  I was unsure about them. I came to not like cars very much at all because in the back of my mind was the possibility of danger.  I never really got over my fear until years later when I started driving.  It was a tough thing for me to do and the fear of driving was there for a long time.  It took about one year of driving my own car to get over the feeling of dread every time I started my car.

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I will not be silent anymore.

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