I remember the day as if it was yesterday. The calm of the day’s sky was being infringed upon by the cloudy murk. The breeze was slight and soft as it tickled my face. It had been a grueling day of shopping at the grocery store and I was tired of it. I was two years old at the time, manning my post in the shopping cart’s seat staring back at my mother, a woman who would never hurt her own child. Oh how naïve I was.
I journeyed out of the sliding doors of the grocery store, so ready to savor the sugary nectar of freedom. Already mentally drained from the day’s exhausting efforts of trying to get Mom to put my favorite foods and drinks in the cart, to little victory, I needed something to put me back in the driver’s seat, so to speak. My young child’s brain toiled over ideas for fun activities my mother and I could perform.
Suddenly, I thought of one. I looked up at my mother, past the swollen belly that later expelled the being called my little brother, and she smiled back at me. I readied my plan, which used gravity to propel the cart down the slightly inclined urban battleground that was the parking lot.
I shouted excitedly, “Mommy!”
“What, Ethan?” she returned.
“Get on! I wanna go faster!”
I remember she pondered a moment. Probably thinking about the possible risks, and there were many! I think that shortly after this the managers of grocery stores put up the signs that say: “No riding on shopping carts!” Apparently, the pros outweighed the cons and my mother cautiously placed both feet on the little metal bar above the wheels.
As I suspected, the cart began to accelerate. I remember the rush of it! The dull breeze became a hair-pulling wind, and I whooped excitedly as the cart sailed toward our car. I felt as invincible as Wolverine from the X-Men. In retrospect, it was probably all too good to be true.
Newton’s Third Law states: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” I hadn’t heard of Mr. Newton before. This plan would’ve normally worked, but my mother was six months pregnant and carried my unborn brother’s dead weight.
Just as I felt that the day couldn’t be any better, Newton’s stupid law kicked in. There was apparently too much weight on our side of the cart that those worthless groceries couldn’t offset. The cart went up on two wheels. My mother lost her balance seconds later and landed on her feet.
The cart had escaped her hands. I remember that about the time the tangerines when sailing passed my head and the pavement seemed to be sprinting up towards me I thought, or would’ve thought, had I known the phrase at the time, Oh…crap!
The cart and I struck the pavement. It took a few seconds for me to come to my senses. But when I did, I looked to my legs; the left was folded safely under me, and was pinned under the cart, but the right was a bit stranger. My first clue that the leg was broken was when I noticed that my foot was upside down and looking at my face.
At the time I had never really experienced pain. Oh sure I had gotten a skinned knee or two when I was running at day care and had forgotten to tie my shoes, but nothing like this. I don’t actually recall the ride to the hospital, at the time if I had known the word I would’ve said, “I’m in shock.”
But after a few months in a cast I was back to normal. I still remember blaming my newly born brother for my mishap with the shopping cart. That’s why I remember always letting him ride in the shopping cart’s seat I; from that moment on, I preferred to walk.