Years ago, I watched Courteney Cox on late-night television talking about her recent honeymoon with then-husband David Arquette. The two decided to go bungee jumping as a couple. (Perhaps the writing was on the wall for their doomed relationship when they chose to spend their honeymoon engaging in an act that can only be seen as a suicide pact.) When they arrived at the platform, they looked down in horror at the tattered rope. The tied-together elastic bands that constituted the bungee were frayed. Before them was a board with a Bible verse about death scrawled across it. Just before pushing the young Hollywood couple off the platform, the bungee jumping company employee asked, "Do you take Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior, into your hearts?" According to the story, Courteney Cox looked at the makeshift rope and said, "You betcha."
There are very specific times when "you betcha" is the only appropriate response. The other day, I experienced two.
Coming home from our trip to Washington, D.C., to introduce our new addition to the extended family, we flew into inclement weather. Knocked around by the heavy winds, my husband was one of many passengers who got sick.
There are few moments in life that are filled with the same frantic anxiety as those seconds before you can find a barf bag. Perhaps those seconds after realizing you butt-dialed your ex and before you can hang up. Or those seconds after you realize your zipper is down and before you are sure that no one saw your adult-sized My Little Pony panties.
Seeing my husband turn green, I asked, "Do you need a barf bag?" His voice said nothing, but his green face said, "You betcha!" I promptly placed our baby daughter onto our toddler's lap and began digging through the seat pocket in front of me, hands flying faster than the plane. Nothing! I moved on to the seat pocket in the middle seat in front of my son. Dig, dig, dig! Nothing! What is wrong with this airline? Do they want vomit on their seats? Do they have stock in fabric cleaners? The George Clooney plane movie, "Up in the Air," should change its name to "Upchuck in the Air."
My husband methodically riffled through each piece of literature in the pocket in front of him as I dived into our diaper duffel to grab one of the plastic bags used to store dirty diapers on the go.
Just in the nick of time!
About an hour later, we were on the shuttle bus that was going to drive us to where our car had been parked during our two-week vacation. The rain was falling outside, and the winds were so strong the trees looked as if they might lose their limbs. Before we exited the airport ring, the driver pulled over to the side of the road, got out of his seat and walked up the aisle to address us.
"Don't be frightened."
Uh, I wasn't before...
The driver proceeded to tell us there were many accidents on the road and what to do if we were in one. In all my years of public automobile transportation, I've never been given a formal rundown of what to do in an emergency. "If the bus falls on its side, access the roof portal through this red lever."
Well, this guy is just a bowlful of sunshine.
"If we fall down a ditch, open the emergency doors by pushing this button."
Why are we driving near ditches?
"If we end up upside-down in water, use the base of your palm to smash against the lower corner of the window with all your might to break it open."
Good gravy, it's Armageddon!
"And if something happens to me..."
You've gotta be kidding me.
"...someone, please, take the wheel."
I think we just boarded the Titanic.
The driver sat back down in his chair and took a deep breath. In that whole speech, he never told us to fasten our safety belts, but he secured his own. I followed suit, strapping on my own and my toddler's. During our drive to the extended-stay parking lot, we passed lots of car accidents and near misses.
Before we started moving, the driver looked back at his passengers one last time before turning on the engine and venturing into the rain.
"Are you praying, people?"
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Photo credit: Anne-Lotte O´Dwyer