Our local newspaper reported a few days ago on the front page that an 85-year-old woman, who presumably didn’t want to be late, arrived 30 minutes early at the salon for her weekly hairstyling appointment. Of course, that wasn’t the news interest and that’s not how her story got onto page one. It’s how she arrived that got her in the news. It appears that, as she was pulling into the parking space directly in front of the salon’s doors, her car leaped forward, jumped the curb, passed perfectly between two brick pillars that are barely wider than a car width apart, then crashed through the walls and deep into the salon lobby. Then her tires caught fire. This is the stuff that Hollywood only dreams about, but it really happened.
Police report that the woman could not remember what happened. Her injuries were minor and nobody else was injured, although a nurse who happens to work in the building had to be treated for smoke inhalation after helping our unfortunate driver from her car.
I happened to drive by the scene of the accident five days later and can report that the salon has an “Open” sign on the plywood where the glass windows used to be, and I believe I saw a salon patron standing outside. So, one can only imagine the conversation that could take place the next time our now unpermed subject calls to make an appointment. My understanding of elderly females, acquired from my own dear departed mother, assures me she will almost certainly make the call. If you’re old enough yourself, think Bob Newhart on the phone here.
“You still need your hair done since it didn’t work out last week? …Uh, huh… Will you be arriving early? … In a new car? …Uh, huh…” Etc. Use your imagination.
Seriously, this is the sort of “I did what?” moment that anybody might experience in their older years. These days everybody over 50 jokes about “senior moments” to make their mistakes less embarrassing. What happened to this lady was sort of an ultimate “senior moment.” I’ll leave the issue of whether she should still be driving or not to the authorities.
Personally, subject to the news follow-up that may or may not come, I don’t believe that she blacked out or had a mini-stroke or anything like that. After all, she had just maneuvered her car into perfect position between the lines in the parking space. What I think happened next is that she decided the car needed to go just a few inches further in, but when she gave it gas the car surged forward and she became confused and pushed down further on the accelerator. In other words, her mind was saying no, but her body was saying yes.
So, you’re going to tell me this only happens to old women?
Boy, am I in trouble now…