In the early 1980s, I worked at my hometown police department. During my tenure, I made some headlines with my colleagues. My antics may have reminded them of episodes from the still popular classic, “I Love Lucy”. I just didn’t have red hair like Lucy.
One of those episodes happened just after I got my brand new red Chevrolet Cavalier. I was so proud of it. I remember my Dad showing me how to check the oil. I may have been overzealous to trying to do it all by myself.
When I was going home for my lunch break, I noticed an oil spot. Never mind it wasn’t exactly under my car. I went into alert mode. Overreacting wasn’t unusual for me. This was long before I knew I was living on the autism spectrum.
When I got home, I commenced to checking the oil just as Dad showed me. I propped up the hood and properly checked the oil. The oil level was fine, of course. My anxiety level returned to normal; that is until, I tried to get the hood down. I somehow picked the wrong hole to put the stick into. I could NOT get the hood down. It was stuck and I do mean stuck good!
I felt like a robot swirling around, arms flinging, repeatedly saying “PANIC ALERT”! I knew I couldn’t drive it back to the police department like that. Although it was just a few blocks from my apartment, there was no way I could see over or around the hood from the driver’s seat. Never mind the possible traffic jams I could cause by being the main attraction on the road.
So I called the police. I hated having to do that since the police was my employer. They knew me and this wasn’t the first antic I had pulled.
My knight in shining armor was a patrol officer I hardly knew. It would have been more humiliating if it had been one who knew me all too well. The office was able to get my hood down. In fairness to me, it took a few attempts before he got my hood unhinged. I asked him, “Have you ever gotten a call like this one?” I could tell he was making an effort not to laugh his head off. He said with a controlled chuckle, “No, Maam, I haven’t.” I asked him to please not tell anyone back at the station. He said he wouldn’t.
He didn’t have to keep his word. When I got back to the station, I was asked about the hood before I got back to my desk. I learned that when the call went out from dispatch on the police radio, the dispatcher stated my NAME and my HOOD problem. Any police personnel or in the community who had been listening to the police radio channel knew about my having a stuck hood. At least, my hometown wasn’t so small that everybody knew everybody and their brother.
After I got to my desk, my police captain came in from lunch. Unfortunately, he was in his car with the police radio on when the call went out. He didn’t say a word at first. He didn’t have to. It was written all over his face. It was all he could do to keep from rolling on the floor in stitches.
I wasn’t totally humiliated though. Why? All these folks had kind hearts. My colleagues weren’t laughing at me; they were laughing with me.
After my anxiety level returned to normal like the oil level was in my car, I thought it was hilarious too when I stuck the stick in the wrong hole.