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This happened in Douglasville recently. I was there. The good news is, I am pretty sure no one was hurt, unless the truck counts. That truck looks TERMINAL.
I am not sure HOW no one was hurt, but a lot of folks were standing around in non-urgent, irked poses, and tons of cops and no ambulances came in the half hour I sat completely blocked in, happily missing a yoga class I secretly didn’t feel like going to and asking myself deep, philosophical questions like, “HOW did that truck DO that? WHY did that truck DO that? What was the truck actually WANTING to do, because that was not it.”
It also took me in the way back back machine, all the way to driver’s ed. Sophomore year. Washington High School. It was taught by some sort of manly coach person— time and a faulty memory wire have amalgamated him into a blurry composite of actors I have seen play coaches on TV.
In my head he looks like what would happen if Craig T.Nelson, Billy Bob Thornton, and Coach Ernie from Cheers had a paunchy baby.
I feel I owe the actual guy an apology for this, but too bad, because there was only one car with a working AC and I never freaking got it. I grew up in the Florida panhandle, home of the boiling spring semester, and I DO remember THAT.
I also remember, vividly, vividly, watching a film called ANY TIME IS TRAIN TIME in which we saw photos of teenagers in unforgiveable 70’s pants who were dead from trains.
I put that exact film, and those hideously be-pants’ed dead teenagers, in Mosey’s driver’s ed class in A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty.
Even in her tiny rural south high school, I doubt folks are still running those same films on the same super 8 projectors. But I wanted her to watch Train Time, Blood on the Highway, all of them that kept me up shivering in terror at the idea of crossing the tracks or, PLEASE LORD NO, Merrrrging. At Mosey’s age, I firmly believed that Merging = Death. I wanted Mosey to see the movies, so I put them in there.
The thing that destroyed my fragile teen wah was the film footage they collected of actual cars getting hit by actual trains in actual accidents that killed actual people. I remember watching car after car being righteously smoted into crumpled little sad remnants from which nothingnothingnothing could possibly emerge alive.
I credit this film with my absolute refusal to get a driver’s license. Instead, I dated boys with cars or rode about with my friend Yvonne. Finally, when I was seventeen, my dad MADE me go get one, saying I could not go off to college dependent on the kindness of tit-for-tat college boys. I think Daddy worried that a college boy would assume that providing me a ride would be tat, and I would be expected to provide the other part. If you follow me.
My first car was a thousand year old white VW rabbit with s standard transmission. I named him Oswald after the little cartoon fellow Disney invented before Mickey—you can see Mickey is sort of a mutated, more user-friendly version of Oswald. Oswald had tendency to rapidly overheat if he had to idle in place for more than three minutes.
I never got the hang of changing gears by foot and fingers, and the need to pull over and let Oswald tick down out of the red on his temp-o-meter after every longish traffic light wait was ENRAGING. I truly learned to cuss in that car. Oswald drove me both to school and to dizzying-Kilimanjaro-level-thinned-atmosphere type heights of grammatically borked and biologically improbable profanities. I have never since equaled that level of enraged, linguic foulness. Not even in grad school.
What was your first drive?