July 10, 2009 12:01 am
When I was in high school, my brother totalled his 72′ Chevy Nova. He was merging into traffic when the car in front of him slammed on their brakes and he hit a light pole when he swerved to avoid him. Thankfully nobody was hurt but he loved that stupid car and was bummed to have lost his ride.
Later that year, I was driving my VW Bus to work at Chick Fil-A one Saturday morning. It was summertime and the infamous Florida torrential downpours were in full swing. I came up over an overpass and passed the point of my brother’s accident. At the bottom of the hill, I hit a puddle and started floating. I was only going about 35 mph but it felt like I was on a fucking roller coaster. I hydroplaned for what seemed to be forever and then came to a stop when I took out a light pole of my own.
DING. I can still hear that sound fifteen years later. Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle” was playing on the radio and fly I did. When I came to a stop, the car stalled but still the song played on. The light pole slowly tipped over and landed in the grass with a soggy thud. I wasn’t sure what to do next. These were the days before cell phones so I couldn’t call for help. I stepped out of the van and was instantly drenched. As I tiptoed around to inspect the damage, I noticed a car pulling over to help. Panic set in and I hopped back in the bus and tried to drive off. After my initial shock, I remembered that the van had stalled so I started it back up.
The sound of the engine starting was sweet relief. As the good samaritan pulled to a stop, I hauled ass. I’m not sure why my instincts told me to run but I had a feeling I was in BIG trouble for knocking over that pole. I kept on driving until I reached the mall where I worked. I ran in on shaky legs, barely able to contain my tears. My brothers (who both worked there too) saw me come in, drenched and pale as a ghost. At the sight of them, I lost it and recounted my tale of the accident and how I had sped off. They tried to calm me down and then we all walked outside to inspect the damage.
When we got to the parking lot, we were expecting the worst. My brother’s car had ended up with a light pole shaped dent on the driver’s side and that was an American muscle car. My wimpy VW was surely in worse shape having floated full speed into a light pole. What we saw was a teeny tiny dent on the front of the bus. The windshield wasn’t even cracked nor the bumper marked. My brother’s words were something like “fuck you, stop crying.” He was a little miffed that my bus had survived vehicle vs light pole and won.
I spent the next several days waiting for the police to show up and arrest me. They never did and I never turned myself in either. The light pole stayed on the roadside for several weeks and then one day it was gone. Someone came and took it away and they never bothered to replace it. Every time I drive by that spot, I remember that rainy summer day and the wild ride I took. I’m pretty sure The Steve Miller Band had something different in mind when they told me to fly like an eagle but I like to think that my interpretation was pretty kickass too.
Tags: Spin Cycle