Sunday, May 18, 2008

Meandering Thoughts

Driving home from seeing my grandfather today, I got to thinking about the time in high school I was driving home the back way down a dirt road that wound through cow pastures and blueberry farms and passed behind the lumberyard before finally passing behind my parents' house.

I had taken this road several times and often took it when I got bored with the normal paved route, but this time I was even a little bored with this alternative route. I decided to weave back and forth a little bit to entertain myself. Now, I was far from a typical reckless teenage driver, but it hadn't rained in a while, and the sandy road was loose and wasn't giving the friction needed to pull off this low-difficulty maneuver. After about a hundred feet or so of this, I lost control of the truck and ran off into the ditch along the side of the road. The truck was hopelessly stuck. There wasn't any damage, but the dirt was too loose and one back tire spun uselessly in the air over the bottom of the ditch. I wasn't getting this truck back on the road.

This was before the universal cell phone. They existed and were relatively common, but teenagers in the area didn't always have their own and I certainly didn't, so I waited in my truck trying to decide if I wanted to walk the last four or five miles to my house or wait until someone took pity on me and picked me up and drove me home. This wasn't a heavily-traveled road, but there were several houses down the length of it so several cars passed but none stopped until finally, just before I would have started hoofing it, this shabby old pick-up truck pulled up behind me and the bearded fellow inside leaned out to ask if I wanted a ride home. I said sure and I climbed in the passenger side, pushing aside empty beer cans to find a place to rest my feet and he drove me home.

He already knew where to take me. While I didn't know him, he knew me and my parents and drove me straight home. Turns out that he was the dad of a kid I went to school with and he had gone to school with my dad. He was friendly and didn't even mention the fact that I'd obviously been driving recklessly to cause the accident. He dropped me off under the giant oak in my parents' front yard and with a wave he drove off down the road to go wherever he had been headed in the first place. I walked into the front door of my house and thought of excuses to explain the current location of my vehicle.


Courtney said...

Don't leave us hanging! What excuses did you come up with? Did you get in trouble? How did you get the truck back home? You're such a tease.

Jacob said...

I told my parents that I came around the bend just before where I slid off the road and there had been a box in the middle that I tried to dodge. There had been a box in the road, but it wasn't the problem.

They called the local mechanic (the one that my dad worked for out of college, and I swam with his kids on the swim team, and who has fixed stuff for free for us in the past) and he hauled it to his shop a couple of miles away, looked it over and sent us home. There was dirt stuck up under the wheel so the truck shook really bad when we got up to a normal speed, so I took it back and he took a hose and washed the dirt out (I'd tried that and it didn't work) and the truck was fixed.

I didn't get in trouble beyond a bit of grumpiness from my dad.

There's a reason it wasn't in the story. All of the rest is rather boring. It's only the part about the sober goody-goody teenager being driven home by the drunk after driving off the road that has any interest in it.

sid said...

I'm dying to hear what you actually told your parents. I think mine would have skinned me alive.

You know you Americans are so lucky. You get to have cars and licenses while you're still in high school.

Julie said...

These are usually the worst kind of stories when retold in my mind. Being a good kid, I always beat myself up when I did something wrong, even if I got away with it.

Mickey said...

Nice, quaint story.

Getting stuck is such a bad feeling.