Monday, August 25, 2008

The Original Seatbelt

My new car has the annoying feature that if the car is in drive, and you move forward, it BING BING BINGs loudly until you fasten your seatbelt. Since I've worn a seatbelt religiously since it became law when I was living in California (about 1985) I didn't think this would be an issue. But when you're doing quick "in and out" things like repositioning cars in the driveway, that BING BING BING gets real annoying, real fast. Still, annoying as it is, I think it's a good feature, because I definitely put on the belt just to shut the damn thing up.

Darling Daughter and I were running errands today. Of course every time we got back in the car we put on our seatbelts. We even wore them in the car wash. We didn't really NEED to as the car was in neutral, but it was force of habit.

This got me thinking (yup, I'm thinking again) about how friggin' OLD I am (with 50 coming up in a few days, everything makes me think how friggin' old I am) that I can remember when cars didn't even HAVE seatbelts. In fact I remember when my family got our first car that had seatbelts. It was pretty exciting. How modern! (the term high-tech hadn't been invented yet). (Damn, I'm old!) (In another post I'll tell you about when we got our first color television set. Good times!)

Even with seat belts in the new car, they were only lap belts. Which brings me to the title of this post.

Is anyone else old enough to remember when you were a kid and riding in the front seat of the car, and your mom had to suddenly stop, her right arm would whip out and across your chest to stop you from falling off the seat and flying through the windshield? (Good God, that was one long, continous sentence)

My daughter couldn't believe it, as I demonstrated the technique to her. In fact her first instinct was to bat my hand away. ("What the heck are you DOING, Mom??")

Herewith, I would like to extend to all the moms of a certain age, who were in fact the ORIGINAL SEATBELTS, a big THANK YOU! I'm sure lives were saved thanks to your actions!


Sue said...

OK, yeah I remember my mom doing that, and I still do it instinctively. My husband can be sitting there and still my arm will fly out. It's a reflex? (And your not going to be old, by the way!)

RiverPoet said...

Yep - Mom always threw her arm out. Of course, now that I know the exertion of force and the actual weight of a kid flying forward upon a sudden stop from - say - 50 mph, it seems ludicrous that anyone thought they could stop us from flying through the windshield.

Isn't it amazing we all didn't die horrible deaths back then? :-)

peace - D

Moi said...

I totally remember the "mombelt". In fact, I do it as well ... which is weird, since my kids sit in the back. I guess my purse will be safe!

noble pig said...

I remember sitting in the from bench seat in the middle with no seatbelts. My Dad slammed on the brakes and my elbows went into the a/c vents. Let's just say blood was everywhere!

Coffee Slut said...

de-lurking here your blog!
I remember no seatbelts or child car seats ...someone just held the baby on their lap.
I always throw my arm out and my son is like, "You think that's gonna save me if you crash into something?" He's got a point. It does work for quick stops though.

Queen Mommy said...

Um, yeah I remember those days. In fact, my dad had us practice in the event of a crash. He would slam on the brakes and we were to brace ourselves. It was, in hindsight, absolutely ridiculous! My mom tells us stories of the "car bed" that hung on the back of the front seat for babies.

Not old AT ALL!!!

Tee said...

Now that I'm about the apply for Social Security, I remember all of the above! My Mom always put her arm out to stop us, even now my husband will do that acting silly and we both crack up. As little kids we always stood up in the front seat so we could see.

Terry said...

Those were the good old days!! My mom had a picture of me when I was in the local newspaper, advertising wearing seatbelts. I was 2 yrs. old and shown sitting in the front seat of some big ass, huge automobile, I'm sure a Ford or Chevy. Wish I had that picture now. Hard to believe we were ever two!!!!

Ditto to all of the above, I remember it well.