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Friday, October 15, 2010

Unexpected Passenger

Another Friday! I hardly know what I've done to warrant yet another Friday, but here it is again!

Shall we get straight to it? After all, this morning's iPod playlist, played during my commute, holds the key to understanding what we can expect over the new few days.

What? Of course it's true! It's true and I absolutely believe it!

Oh just play along. I have so little...

Hurricane by Jamie Lidell
Kundalini Express by Love and Rockets
Radioactive by Kings of Leon
Pardon Me by The Blow
The Hazards of Love by The Decemberists
Black Mirror by Arcade Fire
Buena by Morphine

OK! So avoid the heavy weather, be polite, keep your wits about you, and stay away from needle-injected drugs. I think I can manage all that.

And for your October-sure-is-scary pleasure, I am reserving the rest of the Fridays in this month for "scary stories", stories of unnatural happenings. Some of you may recognize aspects of these stories from last year, for which I apologize and can only say, "hey, how many scary things do you think happen to me a year?!"

So let's all have a seat, dim the lights, crack open a cold one, and listen to your Aunt Pearl tell the story she likes to call The Second Time I Almost Died.


This scar on my neck? Funny story, that. Well, not “funny” funny. "Weird" funny, actually.

It was 2001, maybe 2000. I had received a tax refund, enough money that I was going to the mall, going to buy a new outfit, a new pair of shoes. Heck, I was so rich I was even going to replace all my underwear.

It was as I was leaving the mall, leaving the parking lot, that I first noticed it. Something about the sky. No, not the sky. Something about the light. The light seemed to be sharper, somehow, outlined and distinct. The colors were too bright.

‘Flashback?’ I thought. ‘Am I having a flashback?’

I didn’t feel right.

The exit for Highway 100 was coming up, and I pushed the Hyundai to 60. The house was, perhaps, four miles away. I just needed to get home, maybe lay down.

But what was going on? The colors grew more and more vivid, and now my hands were starting to tingle, and what – what was going on with my peripheral vision? I stuck my right arm out to my side, wiggled my fingers.

I couldn’t see them. I couldn’t see my wiggling fingers.

As a matter of fact, my line of vision was changing rapidly; and it was less than a mile later that I noticed that my sight had been reduced to what amounted to the wearing of one of those cone-shaped collars they put on dogs to keep them from chewing themselves after surgery.

I shook my head vigorously. It was 2:00 in the afternoon, the sun was shining, the traffic was moving, and I was having some sort of issue.

That's not like me.

My line of vision was now less than the windshield. I blinked hard. My arms were tingling, my hands numb. I felt dizzy.

I felt scared.

I spoke aloud.

“What the hell is going on here?” I demanded.

And a very low male voice came from the backseat, as clear as any voice is in a small car, and said something I will never, ever forget.

“You are passing out very slowly. Get off the road NOW.”

I didn’t think twice. I didn't think at all. When very low, male voices speak to me in declarative sentences, I listen.

Get off the road NOW.

I cranked the steering wheel, hard, to the right, crossed blindly over two lanes of traffic, pulled off on to a side road and into a Denny’s parking lot. I got out of my car, grabbing my purse, locking the car behind me.

All of this took maybe 30 seconds; and by the time I crossed the parking lot and opened the external set of double doors, my vision was just a pinhole of light.

I opened the next set of double doors and the hostess approached me.

“Table for one?” she chirped.

The pinhole of light with the hostess’s face in it closed, and I was in the dark.

I was completely blind.

And I say what I always say just before I faint.

“Wait,” I say.

And when I came to, I was on the floor, surrounded by loose change; and whereas just moments ago I could not see but I could hear, now I could not hear but I could see.

There was a crowd around me, all looking down, their faces a ring of varying expressions: I particularly remember a black man, his eyes the most perfect vision of compassion that I had ever seen.

‘Oh,’ I remember thinking. ‘Look how kind he is. Someone must be hurt.’

But it was me. I was the one who was hurt. I struggled to my feet, falling several times, hard, on my elbows, my knees. The man with the compassionate eyes offered his arm while the rest of the crowd watched.

The next thing I remember was that I was seated at the counter, shakily trying to drink the glass of ice water they insisted I drink. After knocking the glass against my front teeth several times, I gave up. Chipped teeth, I don’t need.

“Would you like some soup?” the manager of Denny’s asked me.

No, no, I’m fine.

“Do you want me to call an ambulance?”

No, no, I’m fine.

And then the manager watched me leave. The woman who walked in to the restaurant, fell heavily into the plastic bin collecting Coins for Jerry's Kids, crashing them to the floor, the woman who appeared to have had a seizure when she regained consciousness and is bleeding from her swollen, wounded neck says she doesn’t need an ambulance?

That’s good enough for him!

I got into my car, disoriented and bleeding.

I stayed in my house that night, confused. It did not occur to me to pick up the telephone.

I regained enough of my mind to see a doctor the next day, and he put me through a number of tests.

The conclusion?

I’m a fainter.

And I have abnormal brain waves.

I paid for that information, you know.

Abnormal brain waves? I'm sure there are a number of people I know who would vouche for that. But that’s not really important, is it, the abnormal brain waves, the cut on my neck, the egg-sized lumps that ran along the back of my head from ear to ear? Those things are small potatoes when compared to what could have happened had I stayed on the freeway for just 30 seconds more, the damage my car could’ve caused doing 60 mph, had I not listened to the voice in the car.

So if anyone ever asks you - and they just might! - you tell them that Pearl knows how to take direction.

And then you ask them for her, because she wants to know...

Whose voice was that in the backseat?


Oilfield Trash said...

Sometimes those "voices" can be a life saver as in your case.

Kr√ęg said...

Gary Busey. The voice in your back seat was Gary Busey.

Pearl said...

Oilfield, I tell you, that voice has never left my head. I heard it clearly. I only wish there'd been somebody else in the car with me -- I'd give anything to know if they could've heard it, too...

Kreg, that got a big smile out of me. :-) Gary Busey. Why I oughta...

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

The voices in my head are never quite loud enough to be helpful--they mutter a lot, quite a discouraging bunch. But to have that voice so loud? Was it God?

Simply Suthern said...

Gary Busey? Now that is Funny. And Scary.

Glad you listened. Not sure I trust the voice that told you to get back in the car??

I over slept the other morn and I heard a voice clear as day that called my name and told me to get up. Not near as earth shaking as saving your life but was odd none the less.

There are Angels among us.

savannah said...


this is the first scary/weird story? i might have to abstain from friday readings, honey!!!!! xoxoxoxo and still shaking

Pearl said...

Green Girl, perhaps it was. My father has his own story like this, but he didn’t hear a voice, he saw a giant hand come at him from miles down a road, forcing him to stop his car (and thus avoiding catastrophe). He swears it was God’s hand. Me, I just can’t get over the fact that I heard a disembodied voice in my car. I mean, years later, I’m still shaking my head!

Simply, weird, isn’t it? Angels? God? Your own subconscious? Gary Busey?!

Savannah, and still have the scar! When people ask me about it, I usually start by telling them it was a knife fight at Sturgis – which freaks them out enough – but end by telling the real story, which freaks them out even more.

Vintage Christine said...

I just don't understand people like that manager who let you leave after what happened. Actually, how any of those people could've let you leave and DRIVE OFF! I'm glad to hear you were ok, though. That was nice of the angel to tell you to get off the road, but where was he/she when you got back in the car? Guess he/she knew you were ok and had already flitted off to the next rescue.

Andrea said...

I'm so happy you listened! Usually I try to listen to 'outside' voices at that speed...well, unless they are my children's.

Freaky Fridays with Pearl...I'm in.

Pearl said...

Vintage, looking back, yes, it blows my mind that the manager let me leave. I have NO memory of the drive home. In defense of the others, however, I sat at the little railing there for a good 30 minutes. Pretty sure a lot of the customers had gone...

Andrea, good!!! Gotta couple more freaky stories at least.

a Broad said...

Your voice is a lot better than my voice ! Mine just annoys me when I am trying to sleep.
Thank God for your voice ! and you :)

SeaD said...

A knife fight at Sturgis! I love it! I may have to use that one, if that's okay? I am so glad you listened to your voice. I believe we all have them and need to train ourselves to listen more closely.

Sarah said...

My mom has also heard a clear, distinct male voice in the car just before an accident.

The whole family (her, Dad, little sis, me) were all in our Volkswagen van heading directly for an extremely steep ditch on the side of the road.

You know how tipsy those older vans are. There was no way we wouldn't have rolled going into that ditch. It was almost 5 feet down!

But just like you, before we hit, my mom heard a clear, calm male voice tell her three times in a row "You're not going to roll".

And miraculously, we didn't. Afterwards my mom asked all of us whether we heard the voice. None of us did.

Thanks for sharing, it's good to know that Someone is looking out for the good ones out there, and that others have had similar experiences.

Camille said...

Mornin'Pearl; Freaky Friday Stories? I'm in!

Gary Busey and Sturgis knife wounds - honestly, I spit sprayed my diet coke at both comments. My laptop is a mess. I think some may have come out my nose. That's exactly why I haunt this blog every day, you're an absolute stitch and so are your readers.

Yankee Gal

Elly Lou said...

*looks under desk, looks in closet, locks front door*

Yay and eek all at once. I'm going to sit here quietly a moment and process. Maybe I'll rock back and forth a little, too.

Canadianbloggergirl said...

Wow that must have been sooo crazy and scary!?!


Anonymous said...

I sometimes hear a mysterious voice just behind me. It often whispers, "Don't buy it if it's not on sale..."

Damn that voice.

Jhon Baker said...

They put me on medication for listening to the voices speaking into my left ear.

vanilla said...


RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

If your brain's abnormal, it's abnormally smart and self preserving. Good thing it told you to listen to that man in the back seat. This was indeed a scary story.

Z said...

That is quite incredibly alarming, impressive and scary, all at the same time. I've always said that I am the luckiest person I know, but I think I'm going to step aside with a respectful bow.

Noelle said...

What a story! I'm a firm believer of angles acting for God. That's what I think.

Pearl said...

A Broad, so sweet! Thank you. I think of that day fairly often…

SeaD, I agree that we all have an inner voice that is available. I have always listened to that voice re: places, people. The Voice is always right! And yes – use the knife-fight-at-Sturgis story. :-) The right tone and the right look on your face (slightly haunted, slightly defiant) and they’ll never know what hit ‘em.

Sarah, that absolutely gave me chills. Absolutely, and I’m so glad you told us. I wish I could hear that voice again – but am also relieved that I have not!

Camille, I’m glad you do haunt this blog. :-) And I agree that the comments are funny. I “hit” my commenters back as often as I can just to get a little more of their silliness in my life.

Elly Lou, maybe I shouldn’t, but I really enjoyed your comment. :-) Sorry if you’ve assumed a curled-up position in a tidy corner somewhere. Come back next Friday and the next!

Canadianbloggergirl, I was, honestly, too “scrambled” to be scared afterwards, and when I heard the voice there was absolutely nothing to be frightened about. The voice was low, calm, and factual. The voice was not scary. The voice wanted only to protect me. It wasn’t until several days later that the full weight of what had happened hit me.

Sweet Cheeks, oh, I’m sorry! That’s me!! Those cold hands pushing coupons at you? That’s me, too! …you little smartie…

Jhon, have to admit I wondered if anyone would think I was nuts. :-)

Vanilla, excellent. I shall mark you as “interested”. :-)

RawknRobyn, thank you! I’m quite glad to still be alive!

Z, glad you stopped by! And yes, I was very lucky.

Pearl said...

Noelle, While living a rich fantasy life, I'm a practical person; and yet there are many things that I don't understand, even while struggling to do so. As I've said, I would like to hear that voice again...

Joanie M said...

That voice? It was your guardian angel. He was there to protect you and he did his job.

Pearl said...

Joanie, I hope to think so. :-)

lunamother said...

The back seat, eh? My voices generally whisper in my ear, but I think that's just to annoy me.

Truly a spooky story- and good on the voice, no matter who he was.

Blu said...

Thanks for the visit to my blog, your story about your brain waves was an interesting one. I feel sure that the voice was inside your head unless you have a talking car.

Best wishes from Brittany France.

River said...

Hi Pearl, I popped in to have a read, have to say that voice from the backseat made my whole body go cold and goosebumpy. I think it was your Guardian Angel, and thank God you listened to him! Reading some more now.....

Dave said...

I have nothing to add, but felt you needed to hear my voice too.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! What a close shave?! Hope you DID eventually go to the doctor to have yourself diagnosed...

The Jules said...


No, elves!

No, car lice!

All hail our glorious new car-louse overlords!

Also, glad you're still around m'dear.

Eva Gallant said...

Wow! You were very lucky. Thanks to that backseat passenger!