Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Arm, Part II

Yes, I too remember the days of no seatbelts. One summer we went on vacation. We drove from California to somewhere really far away (Florida, maybe?) in our Ford Gran Torino. It was olive colored and for that trip The Norwegian made a seat for us. Yes, there was a seat in the back of the car, but not a good one for two little girls. (The Editor and I must have been 2 and 4? or somewhere close to that.) The seats were too deep for us to see out of the windows. So a seat was made out of a long, wide piece of plywood, I guess, but covered with green shag carpet. It sat on the arm rests/door handles of the car doors. This seat was a foot or so above the real seat which made it possible for us to see the country as we drove along—no TV/DVD players in the car, no video games to play. No, we played our driving games (points for seeing animals, different colored cars, etc.) and had our old-fashioned fun (coloring books, dolls and their clothes, etc.) which handily and conveniently fit underneath the make-shift booster. It was a great set up for two little girls, on vacation, out to see the world.

That booster did negate any type of seatbelt configuration there was in that car. And that was OK because there was no seatbelt/booster/car seat law in effect.

I, too, remember Gigi putting out her arm to hold us on the seat, when we were sitting in the front with her. I always thought that it was a good system. I was never scared that I might fly through the windshield because I knew her arm would stop me. It came up EVERY TIME SHE APPLIED THE BRAKES. I guess if you were sitting in the backseat they figured that if the car stopped fast and hard enough, the back of the front seats would stop you.

I can also remember driving around town with Grandpa (Gigi’s dad). He had a white Chevy Impala with a beautiful red interior. The front seat was a long bench. He used to let me stand up next to him while he drove, with one had on his shoulder, so I could see out of the front windshield. Every time we stopped or slowed, his arm went up too. Maybe that’s where Gigi learned it from.

Fast forward about 12 years. The Editor had her driver’s license and I was her co-pilot. We used to cruise around town, seatbelt-less, having the time of our lives. Those were, indeed, the good old days. We weren’t preoccupied with safety and potential danger back then. We just had fun. (***Gigi, just for the record, if you DID read that part that the Ed told you not to in her version of ‘The Arm’, I do not recall sitting on the open window of the car while we cruised through Knott’s Berry Farm. The Editor must be confusing me with one of her friends who was with her at the time. I swear.***)

Our kids will never know those days. They do know the motto, “Click it or ticket.” And they know that their seatbelts on their car seats/boosters and/or backseats (if they are under 12, because you can’t even sit in the front if you are younger than that) have to be firmly fastened before we start the car or we might have a brush with the local law enforcement officers.

Hubs, being former law enforcement himself, usually prefers to re-live the good old days. I have to remind him, especially if he’s in the passenger’s seat, that he needs to “Buckle up for safety.” And I have to gently remind him that he is setting an example for our kids. Begrudgingly he straps himself in.

Even so, every time we slow down or stop suddenly, my arm flies out across his chest, to keep him from hitting the dashboard, like a vestigial appendage of when times were simpler.

Yes, those were the days!

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body

Note from The Editor to Busy Body: **GIGI, DISREGARD THIS NOTE. STOP READING NOW!** It WAS you on that ledge...circa when the muffler was making that horrible noise but we didn't care because it meant more people were looking at us when we cruised through...I do believe you might have been waving.

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