Narnia and Behind the Wheel

This afternoon, after a rough night that left us both short on sleep and then sleeping in, we headed out to get lunch, run some errands and to take in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Heavy rain was falling when we left and it didn’t let up until after the movie. We made some timing errors over the course of the day, missing the first showtime because we took too long over lunch and then nearly missing the second show because I got bogged down in post-holiday shoppers at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Despite the hitches in our plans, we managed to pick up the new standing lamp we needed for the living room and scooted into the darkened theater with Julien in tow, just in time to catch most of the movie. Sadly, we missed the opening sequence which I particularly wanted to see because it’s one of the film’s few additions – something that wasn’t in the book and I’d heard good things about how it set the film up. The last bit of the opening credits was sliding off-screen while we tried to find seats in the packed room, so the first scene we got to watch was the children disembarking from the train.

Over the course of the next hour and forty-five minutes, I did actually get sucked into Narnia. Though the film isn’t really sticking with me the way some of my very favorite films have in the past, I think it was a decent representation of the novel. I enjoyed a lot of it, but I do have quibbles which I’ll cover at the end of the entry because there’s spoilers in my comments. Suffice to say, it was good entertainment for a rainy, winter afternoon, but not good enough to keep Sebastien from dozing off in the middle of it.

After the film was over, I took the bull by the horns and offered to drive. We’d gotten Julien into the car and I was eyeing the line of cars waiting to leave the parking lot with a great deal of apprehension, so we talked it over a little and decided that Sabs had better back us out. Backing out is not and never has been my forte, and this would be the first time I’ve driven a car in five years. Once we’d backed out, the panic got to be too much and I said I’d drive home from Vic’s school instead.

At the school I went in and got Vic, spent a minute or two talking to his teachers, then ushered him outside into the pink-hued twilight to buckle him into his car-seat. The storm that dumped rain on us most of the day was on its way out, leaving Mount Diablo’s crown shrouded in dramatic white mists. The sun, hidden for most of the day, was visible now, the lingering clouds and fog refracting its light into a diffuse rosy glow.

Sabs got out of the driver’s seat and ushered me into it, with a grin. I shed my coat and scarf and took a deep breath and got in, closing the door tight. Here I was, behind the wheel again, this time with very precious cargo in the back. Not exactly the best setup for dealing with my paranoia about driving. I waited for the other parent who was parked in front of us to pull out, fiddling with the mirrors and the settings on my seat until I felt comfortable. Finally, there was nothing left to delay the inevitable, and I released the brake, pressed the gas and inched the car forward down to the end of the driveway.

Thankfully, traffic was light this evening so it made for a simple enough turn out onto the road. Immediately, the panic started to rise again as I realized that I’d misadjusted the rear-view mirror and that the infant shade we’d put there to keep sun off the baby made it incredibly difficult to see out the back. This is the fear I always feel when behind the wheel – this feeling of being blind and having too many things to look out for that I just can’t see. I hate it. Hate the blind feeling, my eyes jerking all over the place trying to make sure that everything is accounted for.

Stop it I told myself and reminded myself that it was only what was ahead that really mattered because I wasn’t backing up or making any strange turns. I stopped staring into the rearview mirror and concentrated on the traffic ahead, only looking behind me as we pulled up to the green light where I needed to turn left. It wasn’t a perfect run, I slowed down a little too much before the turn and had to speed up again, I swung out a bit too far when turning into our driveway at home. Otherwise, it actually went very smoothly. Of course, it’s less than a mile between the school and the house, so it’s not like this was a particularly difficult stretch to navigate. Baby steps though is the name of the game, baby steps.

Narnia spoilers follow.
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