I am, quite possibly, one of the worst drivers I know. I cannot count the number of times I’ve nearly died. I’d also have trouble coming up with the exact number of times I’ve been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving – stone cold sober.
I read a hilarious, embarrassing story over at Tawna Fenske’s blog today, and promised to bare a humiliation or two of my own. There are many to choose from. I might have to do a series on my accidents.
I wrecked my car a total of seven times in the first three years I had my driver’s license. Thankfully (or maybe not), my parents had the foresight to purchase me a dependable 1988 Toyota which had the gall to survive them all and live to tell the tale(s).
I couldn’t decide whether or not to go in chronological order or not. In the end, I thought I’d start with the most appalling.
I’d turned nineteen that summer and decided to spend it at the Lake of the Ozarks for a couple of reasons. First, returning home after a year away at college held little appeal. Second, well…there was this guy.
Things hadn’t worked out exactly as I’d planned (do they ever?) and instead of dating “the” guy, I’d been seeing someone else. Let’s call him Spencer Tracy. Spencer Tracy and I had a fight that fateful night. His high school friends were visiting and he wanted me to hang out and get to know everyone. I did not have any interest in that activity and decided instead to go back to my grandparents’ house by way of a newly constructed toll road.
Newly constructed in the Ozarks means winding, dark, and empty.
It had rained earlier in the evening and I took a curve to the right without slowing down. I managed to spin off the road and smash into a sign that mocked me with its clever “slippery when wet” symbol.
The trek off the road shook me up a bit and I couldn’t get the car back onto the pavement. Being the stubborn, willful, independent, and perpetually accurate person I am the last thing I wanted to do was call Spencer Tracy and ask for his help. Still, what choice did I have in the matter?
Spencer Tracy and some of his friends came and pushed my little car, now sporting a dented driver’s side fender, back onto the street. He asked me again to please come back with him, especially now since I’d gotten all shaken up, but I refused. Heaven forbid I listen to the voice of reason in my own head or his. Spencer Tracy and his friends left, their taillights disappearing into the blackness. My legs still trembling, I slid behind the wheel and took off.
Less than two minutes later I heard the telltale thwapping of a flat tire against asphalt and pulled off the road again, albeit this time of my own volition. I got out my cell phone to call Spencer Tracy, pride pushed aside and ready to beg for forgiveness if he’d just promise me a place to sleep.
That’s when I discovered I had a problem. My cell phone had died.
In the middle of nowhere. No houses. No streetlights. No anything for miles in either direction.
My watch told me midnight had come and gone. The tollbooth I’d passed over two miles before represented the nearest civilization. I’d have to hoof it.
I hiked the two-ish miles in the dark, with animal noises making me break into a trot and tears leaking when I felt sure a possum chased me for a few hundred yards.
Don’t laugh. Those things are mean.
I scared the living shit out of the guy in the tollbooth, who certainly did not expect a girl to come trekking up and knock him out of a deep sleep at two in the morning. He looked at me like I had six heads when I asked for the phone.
I do not think I need to expound on how NOT pleased Spencer Tracy was to hear from me. Again. When he’d asked me multiple times not to go.
Good thing I wasn’t the kind of girl to believe in signs.
He came and got me. We went back to his place, a condo I’d been bound and determined to escape two or so hours earlier. We crashed, we slept. The horrified mortification wore off.
It does. Take it from me.
Tune in next time for more of Spencer Tracy and my adventures in Ozark driving.