We're Even

When I was three years old my family moved to a new house, and within the first two days of living there I fell into the creek twice - both times under the supposedly watchful eye of my older sister.  She insists she wasn't trying to kill me, but I have my doubts.

Fast-forward 15 years.  My sister and I were in our dad's car heading down the highway on a Sunday dinner food run, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate my driving prowess by executing a "Hill Lane Change."  This maneuver was made famous by my best friend in high school - though she'd be the first to admit it's conception was entirely unintentional - more a result of lack of experience than anything else.  Later, however, it became her signature move - in no small part due to the screams and peals of laughter emitted by her passengers whenever she performed it.  In fact, it was so wildly popular, it was adopted by most of the teenage boys in our crowd - that infamous sector of the driving population most likely to die while proving their immortality.

The Hill Lane Change was really nothing more than a quick, unexpected jerk of the steering wheel.  The car would pitch and lurch, then eventually settle, and invariably there was some honking involved by those unfortunates who happened to be nearby at the time.  And so it came to be on that Sunday afternoon, traveling at 60 miles per hour on the freeway with my sister sitting beside me, I executed a Hill Lane Change - not before first gleefully boasting, "Watch this!"

We were instantly out of control.  We zigzagged across all three lanes of traffic - twice - before we started to spin.  I don't know how many times the car spun around.  As I was looking out the windshield in front of me, all I saw were intermittent blurs of cars, cement, cars, cement, cars, cement...  well, you get the idea.

Miraculously, the car came to a stop on the shoulder next to the center median wall, and even more miraculously, we did not touch the wall or another car during our gyrations.  Impossible as it sounds, we were completely unscathed.  We did, however, come to a stop facing the wrong way.  It's hard to describe the feeling one has when one finds oneself staring into three lanes of oncoming traffic - suffice to say, it is most unsettling.  After taking a moment to gather my composure, I waited for a break in the traffic and simply turned the car around and pulled back onto the highway.

My sister later informed me she had considered grabbing the wheel, but fought the urge because, she reasoned, I was younger and my reactions would be quicker than hers.  Good god.  Her faith in me implied she thought I knew what I was doing, which I most certainly did not - the fact that we were spinning out of control in the middle of the freeway as I was correcting, then over-correcting, then over-correcting my over-correction, was evidence of that.  (Not to mention the fact it had never dawned on me the Hill Lane Change at 60mph would yield different results than one implemented on neighborhood streets at speeds less than 30.)  Little did she know, as my sister was thinking, "She's got quick reflexes, we're going to make it," I was thinking, "I have no idea what I'm doing, we're going to die."

But we didn't.  So you see, my sister and I are now even.  Granted, I was much less likely to die standing in a foot of muddy water in the creek than she was doing 360s on the freeway, but I like to tell myself we're even.  It's one of those self-delusional things people try to convince themselves of so they can live with themselves despite what they've done - and I am nothing if not self-delusional.  Yep, we're even.

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