My father was extremely shy. Dad was so shy that he blushed when anything risque was mentioned or a discussion included a description of a “private” body part. Dad’s cheeks turned red when mom said we were having roasted chicken breasts for dinner. My sister and I would tease him by saying “sex” just to see his face turn red. If we discussed our “time of the month,” Dad would leave the room. Looking back, I wonder how my Dad survived living in a house filled with women and a female cat.
One particular day as Dad was driving to work, it was pouring rain and commuter traffic had slowed to a crawl. As cars inched forward, Dad noticed a woman on the side of the road waving him down. A bit intrigued, Dad steered the car in her direction even though she didn’t look familiar. He had every intention of just lowering the window to see what she wanted. Since the windows in the car weren’t automatic, Dad reached over to crank it open but the handle wasn’t there. The strange wet woman had pulled open the door, plopped down on the seat and closed the door behind her. Beside the fact that Dad now had a strange wet woman in his car, his hand was stuck under her bottom.
Dad had no choice other than to wrench his hand free, put that same hand firmly on the steering wheel and keep his eyes staring straight ahead. Dad was in a state of shock. He couldn’t participate in the conversation she had with herself nor could Dad comprehend the situation. Dad could not get past the knowledge that his hand had just been buried under a stranger’s seat.
When they finally arrived at her destination and she got out of the car, Dad’s umbrella fell out and splashed into a curb-side puddle. The stranger picked up the soaked umbrella, thanked my Dad for the ride and tossed the soggy parasol onto his passenger’s seat.
It took awhile for Dad’s heart rate to return to normal but he did survive. Dad learned to drive with his doors locked, not to stop for strangers and to “all-ways” keep his hands on the steering wheel.