...the Journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

For the next few weeks, we'll be seeing magnets from Ned & Marta's refrigerator door.

How could they not buy "Marta Magnets"?? Problem is they have to keep them wrapped in the package, or you won't know what they are!

Household Hints


A Medieval Home Companion:
Housekeeping in the 14th Century

On hiatus while I get ready to go to Boston.

Here are some of my theatre reviews, if you're interested.

Updated 3/10/01


In a Sunburned Country
by Bill Bryson


Videotape of a 20 minute
segment of last Sunday's
60 Minutes
with a story on the Boy Scouts

That's it for today!


6 April 2001

It was my worst nightmare and it was staring me right in the face on my television screen this morning.

I have no idea where I got this idea, but for years Iíve known how Iím going to die. I have had the strongest feeling that I will die when a semi truck topples over and smashes the car Iím in. The truck will come from the right, so someone else will be driving.

It scares me just to see those words on the screen here.

While Iíve "known" this for a long time, the whole idea of it never really gelled for me until about 15 years ago.

It was right after Gilbert died and there is absolutely no logical reason why I suddenly developed a 10-year freeway phobia.

It would have made sense if heíd died in an auto accident, but he died during routine surgery. He had a bad reaction to anesthesia, had a massive heart attack, and in a matter of hours, he was dead.

He hadnít even driven himself to the hospital, for Godís sake.

But at some point very shortly after his death, I became terrified of driving on the freeway. I kept it a secret for a very long time. I continued to drive. But I became that little old lady, creeping down the freeway at 50 mph in the slow lane. There were times when Iíd have to get off the freeway and just sit there, building up my courage to go a couple of exits more.

I can remember feeling "trapped" on the freeway, surrounded by big trucks and shaking like a leaf, crying--almost screaming--praying for the next exit so I could get off.

This is so totally unlike the self-confident woman who used to zip back and forth from the Bay Area to Davis at 80 mph, looking in the rear view mirror for the highway patrol, who could recognize a CHP car half a mile away by sight of the rifle mounted on the floor of the front of the car in the rear view mirror.

It's an hour and a half drive from here to San Francisco. About 20 miles away from the bridge, itís possible to get off the freeway and reach the bridge via city streets. It takes twice as long, but I did that many times when the terror of being on the freeway got to be too much.

Riding in a car when someone else was driving was even worse. It was worse partly because I felt I had no control, and partly because nobody else knew that I was terrified. I became an expert at pretending to be asleep so the driver wouldnít know that I was terrified to see the traffic to the right of us.

I finally confessed my terror to Walt, who was very good about making certain never to pass a big truck if he could avoid it. I was grateful for his sensitivity. It slowed many a trip and he wasnít always able to avoid large trucks, but when he could, he did. He grew used to my sudden intake of breath and jumping when I thought a car was coming over into our lane and about to hit us.

Over the years, the fear gradually subsided. It actually started getting better when the unthinkable happened. A car did hit us and sent us careening across three lanes of traffic. Fortunately it was a little-traveled freeway and late at night, so we didnít get hit and damage to the car was minor, but while we were spinning around on the freeway, I was rigid and my brain was thinking "I really was right. This is it. Weíre going to die."

Somehow after the accident, things started to very slowly get better. It still makes me uncomfortable to drive next to large trucks, but I do it. I still close my eyes when someone else is driving--but usually itís because I want to nap (occasionally itís because the traffic makes me nervous, but never stark terror any more).

But there it was on my television screen this morning. A woman and her child had been driving down the freeway, a semi truck lost control and the whole thing toppled over on top of them, smashing the car flat as a pancake. The occupants were trapped for several hours, but miraculously were able to be extricated and it appears they will survive.

Just looking at that smashed car gave me chills. Iím wondering how Iíll feel the next time Iím on the freeway.

Maybe the solution is to move to England or Australia, where they drive on the "wrong" side of the road and when Iím the passenger, chances are the trucks will be on the other side of the car and it wonít seem quite so scary.

But if you read some day that Iíve been squashed by a truck, you can all remember that you heard it here first.

I sincerely hope Iím wrong.

One Year Ago:
Bev Loses her Cool

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 4/4/01 by Bev Sykes