One of my mentors at college gave me a small can of pepper spray to have on hand in case I needed it. I wasn’t too worried about needing the pepper spray in the quiet little college town I went to, so I didn’t want to carry it, but I didn’t want it buried in my room where it definitely wouldn’t be of any help at all.
So it went to live in my glove compartment in the car. I figured on nights I was working late for Astronomy, or if I just had the creepy vibe from someone I could transfer it to my bag and carry it around when needed.
And that’s where it lived 99% of the time. Until one fateful day.
It was summer. I was running late to work and ran outside to hop in my car and race to the restaurant where I waitressed. The door opened, I slid in (searing my buns through my pants on the hot seat), and then started gasping as my eyes instantly filled with tears.
Summer in southern Arizona gets hot. As in Hell’s Oven Themometer hot! If you haven’t experienced a southern AZ summer…well, you’re lucky. So of course cars get super hot. Hot enough to build the pressure inside a pepper spray can enough to make it explode.
But, I was late. So I rolled the windows down and went to work.
I left the car with the windows rolled down all through my shift. I was pretty confident that no one was going to steal that car that day.
So lesson #1 from this experience: Don’t store pepper spray in a car during the summer, especially in Southern Arizona. No one needs a pepper spray accident in their car.
But, there is another lesson from this experience as well.
Once it got closer to the school year starting up again I traded cars with my parents. I gave them the Kia Sophia and took on the Baby Poo Brown 1980 Ford Futura. I never understood it, but all the sudden I was really popular with the guys because of that beast of an ugly car, bahaha.
One day my Mom had to drive to and from Phoenix and was getting home late. It’d been a long day so was tired. Luckily she had sunflower seeds! She opened the glove compartment, saw that the bag had tipped over and spilled, and just scooped up a handful and popped them in her mouth.
That one handful kept her awake the whole rest of the trip!
Lesson #2: Don’t eat sunflower seeds out of a glove compartment that went through a pepper spray nuclear bomb.
About the “That One Time in College” series:
In college I kept a small notebook with me constantly to write down things I learned. Not what I learned from my classes, but what I learned from the whole college experience. Looking through the pages you won’t see notes about the meter in Shakespeare’s sonnets, the chemical formula for silver plating, or the star names in Orion, even though those are all things I learned at college. Instead I wrote down life lessons. And man, did I have some good ones. Some were learned through good times. Some were learned through hard times. And some were learned through humor.
That book has sat in my keepsake box for about 12 years now, and I realized it is well past time to pull it out and go back through the memories and the lessons. There are good lessons in there. Some only pertained to the college years, but some pertain to life.