The Price of Fear
Nauseated pelican phobias and more
LORI OSIECKI ILLUSTRATION
There are some things we would be better off without.
Nail polish that glows in the dark. Unless you are the kind that likes to be kept awake at night by the glow of your own fingernails.
Two left high-heeled shoes, which you packed by mistake for your cousin’s wedding in New Jersey, and is why you have to wear your $1.99 flip flops glitzed up with a couple of plastic geraniums you snuck off the centerpiece in the Holiday Inn lobby.
The sun roof on my car.
Now maybe you like the sun roof on YOUR car. Maybe you like to dress your car in a extra-large tutu and drive in parades and fling Carnival beads out the top. Maybe you got a tall dog that likes to stick his head out. Maybe you are in a suntan competition and need that drive time to soak up rays.
Not me. Now, I got a little red Volkswagen bug, being as I live in the Quarter where you don’t parallel park, you parallel wedge. If I had a car any bigger, I would have to pay good money for a private parking space, but if I had one smaller, I couldn’t fit in it with two grandkids or even one hefty mother-in-law.
Anyway, this Volkswagen is perfect. Except for the sun roof.
I didn’t go looking for no car with a sun roof. But it runs good, and the used car salesman said the sun roof could save me from drowning. I should open it just before I got on the Causeway bridge, and if I wound up in the Lake Pontchartrain I could swim out through the sunroof.
And I believed him.
I got to drive across that Causeway to get to my daughter Gumdrop’s house in Folsom. I read that if you drive into the lake, you are supposed to calmly open the window or break it using your high heels or a $12 device called a Res-Q-Me which you can buy from the Causeway commission, and which I actually bought in case I was driving in my bedroom slippers. But this sounds even better.
Which goes to show. Fear sells.
Now what this salesman didn’t say was, if you get up late and rush outside carrying a bunch of stuff, including your cup of coffee, and you set your coffee up on the roof while you unlock the car, and somebody - probably a person that you once gave birth to - left that sun roof open, you get a seat full of coffee.
So you got to drape a plastic garbage bag over the seat, and put a towel over that to keep from getting your backside wet while you drive, smelling like PJ’s, to your daughter’s.
But at least you got a escape hatch in case of going into the lake, and you feel good about that when you get on the Causeway.
Just before you become the only person you know who has got befouled on by a pelican.
Remember brown pelicans? The ones we thought were going to go extinct from DDT and the BP oil spill, but they persisted and now they glide and swoop joyfully along the Causeway. And sometimes not joyfully, when they eat a fish that don’t agree with them.
And your sun roof looks to a pelican like a port-a-potty.
That right there might make you drive into the lake. Which I did not, even with pelican plop on my head, but it was close.
I screeched into the first gas station after the bridge, dumped most of the squeegee bucket they got for windshields on my head; drove to Gumdrop‘s and shampooed with Mr. Clean. Twice.
I was in the process of duct-taping that sunroof shut forever when I come to my senses. Could I un-tape it from inside if I happened to be under water?
So I still drive the Causeway with the sunroof open. But on my head, I got a big yellow rain hat, which I bought at the Walmart.