Pull Over! I Must Write!

I just had to make an emergency coffee shop stop. But then I didn’t even make it to the coffee shop. You see, I was driving down the road on my way home from work and Auto Zone, when I experienced a great thought-collision that demanded documentation. You’d think that being a writer would offer more flexibility for capturing moments than, say, a photojournalist, but it really doesn’t. If I were to witness a car crash, I would have to take the photo at just the right moment or the scene would disappear in the to the great hole of history for sure. Well, for the writer, it isn’t a car crash. It is a thought crash.

In order to document my thought crash, I immediately pulled over. Now I am sitting in the trunk of my car (it is open) on a hot day with my laptop in my lap frantically typing away. I wonder what the passers-by are thinking? Don’t care.

You also may learn, in the course of reading this blog, that not all thought collisions are worth recording, but you never know when it’ll be an important one.

So at Auto Zone, the attractive and somewhat-older-but-still-quite-young man was helping me replace my break lights (after they’d been out for almost a month). I awkwardly stood there while he slowly but surely figured out how to pull the lights out from behind the back door of my 2003 Honda CR-V.

(I keep looking to see what people think of this writing situation, but so far no one’s even looking. Guess I’m not the center of the world. That’s good news.)

Anyway, as I was waiting, I hear a catcall whistle ring out from the road behind me.

(Oh, that guy just gave me a weird look. But I gave him one back.)

I turn around wondering if my ears had betrayed me. I didn’t see anything. The Auto Zone worker giggled to himself then looked up at me. I made a confused face.

Instantly, I felt sure that I had only imagined it. It’s just your vanity assuming everything’s about you, I thought as I brushed it off. It was probably just a cheeping sound. After all, there is a sign with a chick on it just behind me that says, “CHEAP, CHEAP CARPET.” So clever.

Then I thought again. Auto Zone guy had chuckled to himself. And the sound hadn’t even resembled a cheep; it had sounded like a whistle. It’s funny how quickly we can rationalize ourselves out of believing something that very certainly happened.

Anyway, it isn’t really important in that case if someone whistled at me or not, but the moment amused me and made me think of another story that I’d love to tell.

A couple of days ago, Emilie was walking down the street when a group of men began to yell and whistle at her. In her feminine dignity, she held her head high and continued on her way, not sparing them a glance. Then, suddenly, in Marilyn Monroe fashion, the wind blew her skirt up around her chest, exposing her underwear and midriff.

She thought this was incredibly funny. At that moment, she turned to them, laughed at herself, and made a mental note to take a different route home.

When she told me the story, she even noted that her pockets had been weighed down with things in them. This was evidence enough to convince her that the wind had been an act of God.

Now, why would God do such a thing? Well, he did it to test and sanctify my darling Emilie. She is easily threatened and frustrated when men try to objectify her, use her, or do anything else to rob her of her dignity and God-given value. The good news of the gospel means that Jesus is the only person from whom she needs assurance of her value. Oh, Em, I am glad you got to share that giggle with the Lord and it didn’t threaten your sense of self as it might have a couple of months ago.

I remember back to middle school where the “Ooh, Hottie!” sort of attention was something I coveted. That’s weird. It’s not like a whistle is even that affirming. Now I just feel like yelling back, “Yes, I am a mildly attractive female by most standards. Thanks for noticing. Why the hell must you yell? Going to do something about it? Didn’t think so.”

I’m not really angry. I just don’t get it.

Now my legs are asleep from this unusual position. Time to get out of the trunk. But first, so you know, if you’re ever shy about stopping to write on the side of the road and are concerned about getting weird looks, worry no more. No one cares.

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About Jacquelyn Barnes

Former English Literature and Writing major at Whitworth University. Spanish Language minor. Browne's Addition Resident. Editorial Assistant at Gray Dog Press. Interested in postcolonial, multicultural, and feminist theories. Former ski racer. Longboarder. Runner. Member of Vintage Faith Community Church (we have no building). Painter. Morning person. View all posts by Jacquelyn Barnes

3 responses to “Pull Over! I Must Write!

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