Imagine coming out to your car after midnight when it is pitch black. You’re wrapping up a day that contained far too many hours. There’s very little light in the parking lot.
Your biggest fear is likely to be a mythical lurking bad guy, and that was mine. For a few minutes, anyway.
You get to your car. Before you leave the parking lot and hit the road, you figure you should wrap up some last minute business on your phone. (If you think texting and driving is bad, imagine what a poor decision breaking news and driving would be.)
Ten minutes later you’re finally going home, just hoping you can fight the tired head long enough to keep it between the lines on the 10-mile trek to your house.
Then you hear it – a strange noise. Not in the engine, but inside the car.
Most people would think something was rolling around the back seat, but then again most people haven’t lived my weird, weird life.
Obviously there was a wild animal in my car.
Not having a working air-conditioner in my vehicle, I far too often leave the windows down. And therein lies the precedent that led to my (what some would consider large) leap to the animal conclusion.
When I was very young, I had another A/C-less vehicle; windows were almost never up in the summer.
One morning, my dad came back in as he was leaving for work to tell me my headlights were on.
My car had been parked for more than 10 hours. If I’d left the lights on the battery should have long since died.
Nonetheless, I stagger out in my pajamas to investigate.
In the seat are not one, but two raccoons feasting on some leftover Whataburger I’d left in the car.
As soon as we saw each other the trio of us ran three different directions (leaving my dad in a fit of laughter.)
Back to 2018. I decide to pull over in a well-lit gas station. I look around, and see nothing out of the ordinary.
At this point I was too tired to:
1) Think of turning on the overhead light, or
2) Get out of the vehicle and do a thorough inspection.
I proceed on my way. It doesn’t take long for me to hear a different – and much more animal-like – noise.
I don’t want to stop again. It’s after 12:30 at this point and I just want to get to my bed.
Plus I was in no man’s land on Hwy. 199, so it was safer for me to take my chances with the wolf I’d determined was in my car.
I get home, and while gathering my things, see in my rearview mirror…a squirrel.
Not outside in a tree; it was on my back seat.
A squirrel, y’all.
I dart out, and once I’m a safe distance away, it scampers down and runs off.
My first thought was “Welcome to Azle.”
Followed by “Only to me could this happen twice.”
Christina Derr is a reporter for this paper.