Yesterday, as I was on my way home from running errands and grocery shopping, I thought my heart was going to stop.
There is this wacky couple mile long stretch of road between my last stop and Prescott Valley. So when I exit the parking lot of Costco, I get immediately over into the inside lane of a three lane section (five lanes in all, three in my direction and two in the oncoming). This three lane section shortly becomes two lanes (four in all). Not long after that the road widens to three lanes in one direction (six in all) again and the inside lane I was in becomes the middle lane. Once again, not long after that, the road narrows again to two lanes each way and I am traveling in what has become the outside lane. Don’t ask me why someone thought this little bit of insanity was a good idea.
I prefer to be in the outside lane because I don’t exceed the speed limit and it causes fewer problems for me with the other drivers. Dirty looks, horns honking, that sort of thing. Plus sometimes nasty gestures.
So there I was, driving along in the inside lane of an undivided highway and already outside of my comfort zone. I was heading for a downhill stretch and knew my car would speed up. As I approached an intersection, my speedometer read 51 miles per hour and the limit is 45 mph. So even though I would be braking going into an intersection with the traffic signal green for me and the people behind me, I put my foot on the brake pedal and started to brake just a little. I’m a little fanatical about obeying the speed limit.
Good thing I did that. A woman at the front of a line of cars in the oncoming lanes was in the left hand turn lane waiting for the green arrow. For some insane reason, she opened her door. It stuck out right into my lane. That’s when I thought my heart would stop.
I pressed down hard on the brake pedal. Her eyes flew wide open and her mouth made an “O” and she yanked her door closed. Just in time.
I honestly believe that if I had not already had my foot on the brake pedal and was already pressing down on it, that I would surely have hit her door and maybe ripped off her arm in the process.
I was pretty rattled all the rest of the way home. I can still see her face and her expression. I have no idea why she thought opening her door at that moment was a good idea. Maybe she had a bee in her car, or a sudden and intense need to see the black top. In any case, it was harebrained. That was the word that popped into my head. I know, you’re probably thinking all sorts of swear words were going through my mind. That didn’t happen until much later.
Being the person that I am, I had to look up harebrained when I got home. It means what you’d think: rash, ill-judged, foolish, reckless. But why?
This is from word-detective.com: Our modern English word “hare” (in Old English, “hara”) comes from Germanic roots, possibly carrying the sense of “gray,” which many hares are. The adjective “harebrained” first appeared in written English in 1548, simultaneously with the appearance of the noun “harebrain,” meaning a witless or reckless person.
Another site says it stems from “having no more sense than a hare.” A hare is a cousin to a rabbit. Given that rabbits around here are prone to darting into the road in front of cars, I suppose this is apt.
I survived the encounter. Made it home. Prepared a nice Valentine’s Day dinner for me and the hubby. But I can’t help being a bit angry that some crazy, harebrained woman tried to kill both of us.