Spin Cycle: Fly Like An Eagle

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.

Today’s story was posted in participation with the Spin Cycle. This week’s topic was “driving”. Stop by Sprite’s Keeper for more ways to drive yourself insane.



  1. Pseudo

    It’s stories like this that make me appreciate cell phones. Gald you were OK. I hydroplane hubs VW bug in the rain one night. Frickin scary. I did a floating 180 and flew backwards on the freeway, looking at the headlights coming at me.

    Pseudos last blog post..The Voices in My Head

  2. Cat

    I’m knocking on wood all over the place now, and this wasn’t even my story! SCARY! Hydroplaning is the worst feeling in the world.

    Cats last blog post..Or MAYBE…She Just Had Shingles

  3. Lin

    Here’s a story about Billy Joe and Bobby Sue….go on, knock over the pole and run. Whoo hoo hooo hooooo.

    It sort of goes, doesn’t it?!

    What on earth made you run?? You are lucky good Samaritan didn’t call the cops on you. Well, maybe they did and the cops are STILL looking for you. Hmmm….

    Hey, Happy Weekend, pally!! Go play legos with those kids or something. Or wrangle spiders. 🙂

    Lins last blog post..I’m Boney, I’m Boney, Leave Me Aloney

  4. Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

    I’m so glad you didn’t write this before our trip…since I felt some hydroplaning going on on our first day of travel back from vacation – I would have been a bit more freaked out with this story in my head! Especially since I was going much faster than 35… 😉

    That’s too funny that your vehicle only got a minor ding compared to your brother’s car…but still scary!! So glad you were both OK!

    Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)s last blog post..Friday Fragments – So Good to be Home!

  5. Michele

    That is just plain scary. This was my biggest fear when the boys were starting to drive.

    Micheles last blog post..Friday Foodie – Brown Rice with Beans

  6. Sprite's Keeper

    Wow, you got lucky! Hydroplaning is awful as it is, but the song? Talk about irony! Glad everything worked out and the VW died of natural causes…It did die of natural causes, right? You’re linked!

    Sprite’s Keepers last blog post..Spin Cycle: Driver’s Ed, I’m Shotgun. And you are?

  7. Kyooty

    Very scary stuff!
    now when you get that bill with interest for the damage you know it’s cause you blogged it? 😛

    Kyootys last blog post..Friday Fill-ins More talk of Summer

  8. Kirsty

    LOVE that you had a VW bus..lol What a perfect tune to be playing for hydroplaning. ;0) Glad you came out of it unscathed.

    Kirstys last blog post..State Trooper Blooper

  9. Keely

    I bet you would have slowed down if you’d seen that bleeding billboard, huh?

    Keelys last blog post..But at least we didn’t have to master driving on the opposite side of the road

  10. robin

    Ugh, accidents like that are terrifying! I lost control of my car on an icy highway in Connecticut back in college and went backwards into a ditch where I hit a gas pole. Good times! I’ll never forget that sick feeling in my stomach when I felt car starting to spin. Awful.
    The first worry is always the car, but really, thank god you were okay.

    robins last blog post..Wordful Wednesday

  11. Mama Badger

    Nothing like hydroplaning to make your life flash before your eyes. With SMB for a soundtrack none the less. Wonderful.

    Mama Badgers last blog post..Spin Cycle- Driving…

  12. Krystal

    so jealous!! i wanted a VW bus – still do actually…..my interaction with inanimate objects and driving has to be the post at the end of the gas station pump. Yeah, I backed up into that darn thing…told my grandma it was a shopping cart that an into the car at the grocery store…that i just “found” it like that….thing is she totally believed me….and yeah, it was HER car

    Krystals last blog post..Thank God it is Friday!!!

  13. anymommy

    There is nothing worse than the sound of the car you’re driving hitting something. Especially when you are young and irresponsible and you know you were going to fast (that might just be me!).

    Happy Anniversary to you both too, I haven’t been around in a while!

    anymommys last blog post..Over and Under

  14. Sam

    I’ve only ever hydoplaned once and it wasn’t even that long ago. I was driving a minivan and listening to American Idiot.
    I like your version better.

    Sams last blog post..D’You Know What I Mean?

  15. FoN

    All is well that ends well, I guess. See? Hippies have good karma.

    FoNs last blog post..Random Tuesday – Americans, toques and mindless drivel. In that exact order.

  16. jessica

    I had a toyota something 4 like a week in the rain the guy in front of me stopped short. I hit him. The guy behind me hit me and my car was totalled I still miss that car

  17. GiGi @ Incrementum

    Wow, I would have responded the same as your brother LOL the poor guy must have been enraged.
    Car accidents are terrifying. I spun off once too, slamming my Honda Civic into the median on the Turnpike three times and leaving my bumper, radiator, and some other thing on the highway behind me with each hit. I had to tow my car from Orlando to Miami (which cause the biggest dent of all) and I was without for three months while the insurance took FOR.EVER to fix it.

    * I have to say however that those were the three most peaceful months of my life. I took the bus everywhere and read. I knew nothing on road rage, gas, traffic, nothing…

    GiGi @ Incrementums last blog post..Spin Cycle: Driving

  18. Zip n Tizzy

    I have a light post to thank for saving my husbands life when it broke his fall after being thrown from a motorcycle – without a helmet when he was 21.

    He’s got the battle scars to scare his boys from ever getting on a motorcycle. Ha!

    I crashed (bumped into) a car at a stop light 2 days after I got my license. I was so freaked out and was sure I was going to lose my lisence. The father I bumped into looked at his bumper and in his best fatherly voice warned me to look where I was going next time.

  19. Lisa (Jonny's Mommy)

    You were one lucky girl! I was hit broadside by a car one time and knocked down a street and it scared the crud out of me. No one was hurt, but man, did it shake me up. I couldn’t have driven that car away if I wanted to! I’m glad you were able to and were OK (Of course, in PA. . . . if you drive away you can get fined for it.)

    Lisa (Jonny’s Mommy)s last blog post..Sunday Shout Out: bessie.viola

  20. bex

    fly like an eagle -what irony!

    bexs last blog post..the story

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