27 November 2012

The sweater was the least of my concerns

Yesterday, after a great time with the Awesomes, we drove them to our now go-to cheap airfare airport, JFK, to send them on their way.  As the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML made our way back to our little corner of New England, and after losing count of the dead dear in Westchester County (it was NOT a good day for Bambi's kin to be playing a live version of Frogger), I saw a beautiful Porsche 911 Carrera speeding up the I-684.  Beautiful car driven, as expected, by a middle-aged dude who was seriously overcompensating.  The fact that I overtook him in my OMC (Old Man Car) was reason enough why he shouldn't have had such a nice car, but I digress.  Anyway, it took me back to my own experience behind the wheel of a Porsche - settle in as this is a long one.

It was Thanksgiving 1984.  I was in college and I was at the peak of my college freshman, overconfident hubris.  That hubris occasionally blinded me from satire, including "The Official Preppy Handbook."  I embraced plaid and Izod's with a fervor reserved for deathbed conversions, although I never went so far as to run around with my collar turned up.  I mean, c'mon, I had standards.  I had just flown back to Utah that Sunday after Thanksgiving and had been tasked with returning to the Salt Lake Airport that night to pick up a girl that I had been on again/off again dating.  Said girl had a Porsche 924 that she had foolishly agreed to let me use to pick her up.  I was sans car that semester, thanks to my umpteenth ticket, so I had to use something to pick her up.  Why not the Porsche, I ask you?

I wasn't going to pick her up looking like a slouch, that is for sure.  While I wasn't wearing plaid, there was an argyle sweater vest, a pink shirt, and, wait for it, a Member's Only jacket involved.  And penny loafers. Paying no heed to the weather, I left Provo for Salt Lake City.  I should have paid attention, because a snow storm was developing very, very quickly.

Now would be a good time to remind you that I had grown up in the desert of Arizona and had driven in the snow, um, never.  And by never, I mean never.  This lack of experience was going to come to roost momentarily.

As soon as I was on the I-15, the snow storm had unleashed its fury.  I, again thank you hubris, ignored the slowing, cautious drivers around me, and sped on. Why not?  I was in a fine German driving machine.  Right  outside Orem, near Lehi, my stupidity got the best of me as I began to slide, ever so slightly.  My reaction was to slam on the brakes.  Said fine German driving machine instantly converted itself into a very heavy, and out-of-control sled.  I'm not sure how many times I spun around but I know what stopped me...the snow piled up on the median.  The car was still running as I sat there, stunned.  There was snow all over the hood and for some reason, I could not open the door.  Probably because I'd forgotten how.  So I opened the sunroof and crawled out.  No one was stopping to check on me, as, no doubt, they'd seen me blow past them earlier, and were thrilled to see I'd gotten what was coming to me.  There was a rest stop across the freeway and I made my way over to it, none to pleased to do so. Rest stops were more than a little unnerving.

Anyway, since this was in the pre-historic era before cell phones, I used the pay phone to call the Highway Patrol.  It took forever to get through because of the storm.  When I finally got to a dispatcher, I immediately launched into my story of woe.  The dispatcher asked if anyone was hurt.  I said no.  Wrong answer as the dispatcher said I was stuck since there were a lot more serious issues to be addressed.  I was stunned.  I told her, "I don't think you get it.  This girl's Porsche is stuck in a snow mound and I'm in an argyle sweater at a rest stop.  You need to send someone.  Now."  As I recall, she hung up in less than three seconds. The sweater should have been the least of my concerns.

Knowing I still had to pick this girl up, I did the only reasonable thing I knew to do. I called another girl I'd been on again/off again dating who had a 4-wheel drive and asked her to come pick me up and take me to the airport to pick up this other girl.  And she did.  Unbelievable.  In the meantime, while waiting for her to get to the rest stop, I'd called a tow truck, and we agreed that he'd meet me there later to get the car out of the ditch.  So, 4-wheel girl shows up, drives me to SLC, where I pick up the other girl and have to very deftly explain why we are going to be driven back to Provo by this other girl.  Incredulously, she was forgiving.  Whew!

It's been a long time since that happened.  I'm glad to report I've mastered driving in the snow.  I'm even more pleased to report that there are no Member's Only items in my closet.  But there are still some argyle sweaters.  Some habits die hard.

1 comment:

Middle-aged Mormon Man said...

Great story! The most amazing part to me was that the other girl was kind enough to come and get you, instead of telling you to buzz off.