About twenty-four years ago, I was on my first solo drive. We were living in Glen Arm, Maryland, a semi-distant suburb of Baltimore, and because of this the post office was even farther out in the middle of nowhere.
Because I had a junior prom coming up, I was being allowed to drive alone, and so because we had a package to pick-up at the post office, I was sent out for my first solo drive. There was still the occasional patch of snow on the ground (yards and woods, not on the roads), and so it really didn't seem like that big of a deal.
On my way back, I was right by our volunteer fire department when the siren went off. You can only imagine what went through the head of my sixteen-year-old self. My heart racing, I continued on home, waiting for the fire truck to come roaring up behind me. I never saw anything more until a couple miles later a jeep-like vehicle with a flashing red light came racing down the road towards the fire station, one of the volunteers on his way to help.
Now, in the words of Bill Cosby, "I told you that story to tell you this one."
Yesterday, I was on my way home from work, and was passing by the Pacheco fire station. Right when I'm in front of the doors, the truck starts pulling out and the lights go on. And I'm ready to turn left, and there are cars coming impeding my progress. Luckily, the next few pulled to the side and I ducked across and pulled over, but it brought back a little slice of my fear from two dozen years ago.