Sleeping Through Fear

My dad, in addition to being a scary person, is a scary driver. I remember a time in college when I was old enough to be able to understand how scary his driving was, but I wasn’t old enough to be out from under his power…

Being in the car while my dad drove way too fast down a very swervy road — totally incapable of escaping the situation I’d found myself in and terrified out of my mind — put me right to sleep.

Sleep was the only escape I had.

Falling asleep didn’t make me safer from my dad’s scary driving, but it was like pushing a fast-forward button. I got to skip ahead and find out if we’d all survived without having to live through every terrifying second as it happened.

Once in my writing group, a writer brought in a story about an old lady in a house in the middle of nowhere, all alone, who took a nap during the course of some terrifying situation.

Most of the other writers at the table took exception. How could she sleep at a time like that?

But I recognized the moment when I’d gone to sleep to escape my father’s scary driving.

There are so many different experiences that so many different people have. It’s hard to see every side of every situation. It’s easy to write things off. It’s harder to keep an open mind.

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