That time I nearly died in a Cadillac

Last night
  1. The Cadillac in question: a 1984 Biarritz
    It is a boat made of steel
  2. I go to the grocery store for boring things, and get a burrito at a local place called Taco Fiesta
    The cadi is acting a little weird, but this place is just a few minutes from my house
  3. In the parking lot, the car dies, after 10 minutes or so of trouble shooting I get it running again.
  4. I'm a little nervous, because on the way back to the house you have to climb this massive endless hill, it's scary when you're not having car trouble. But I want to get home, and I'm a dummy
  5. Seems to be going OK, car is slowing a bit midway up the hill but I keep thinking, just get home, two more minutes...
  6. At the very top part of the hill, I think I'm in the clear and suddenly the car dies. All the lights go off, I'm rolling backwards. Crap.
  7. I pull the emergency break, nothing. Put the car in park, still rolling, slam on the breaks and it stops.
  8. But now what?
  9. I'm suspended on a hill, I don't even know how to explain how steep it is, and the car won't start. The only thing stopping this thing from barreling backwards is my foot on the break
  10. I feel like I'm holding a live hand grenade. And trying to breathe. I've had pretty bad panic attacks before and now is not the time
  11. A car comes up behind me, thank god, I think. But he goes around me and disappears into the night.
  12. Next is a motorcyclist coming from the bottom of the hill. I open my door a little and wave him down, I cannot get out of the car. I yell, I need help! (It sounds silly but it's all I can think)
  13. He stops, I tell him what's happening and suddenly he's completely panicking. He has no idea how to help me. What am I supposed to do? He yells. My foot is shaking. I don't know I say, quietly. Cars are coming up the hill now, people are honking, no one gets out, they assume I'm being a jerk/idiot/etc.
  14. A woman comes out of her house (probably the noise) and the motorcyclist grabs her. Then he leaves because why not?
  15. This woman, she's so cool. She looks like Rachel Maddow. I explain to her what is happening, the car still won't start, my leg is trembling, foot on the break
  16. She is calm. OK, she says. This is bad, but I'm not going anywhere. Keep the door open (should I need to jump and roll out of this death trap). Keep your foot on the break, she says
  17. I keep trying to start the car. Turn the wheel so the car will roll into this curb then presumably into the canyon rather than down a residential street (in case, in case)
  18. People are driving around us and no one is stopping to help
  19. She's still calm. Alright sweetheart, she says, here's what you're going to do (I'm trembling at this point). You're going to put the car in the lowest gear, release the emergency break and try starting it from there
  20. If it starts, you will have to take your foot off the break. You will roll backwards, but hit the gas and hopefully it will work. Be careful, it might not, but I'm not going anywhere.
  21. I think, fuck. I hope my last meal wasn't from a place called Taco Fiesta. I think about my mom telling me urgently last month that I need to learn how to ask for help, how to trust a little, how to tell the difference between what I can do alone and what I can't. I trust this stranger, I do what she says
  22. The car starts, I take my foot off the break, I'm rolling backwards and sideways toward this canyon drop off and I hit the gas, I'm suspended for an infinite moment and then
  23. It works, I'm moving forward, I make it to the top of the hill, I want to get the hell out of this car and hug this woman/goddess/saint
  24. Don't stop sweetheart! She yells, don't stop until you're home!
  25. I'm yelling thank you, thank you, thank you out the window as she gets smaller and smaller.
  26. I don't think about any of the people that didn't stop and help, only the one that did, only that someone did, and I don't stop until I'm home
  27. I don't know her name, but I'm pretty sure I owe her my first born.