Friday, May 22, 2009

Feel Free to Move About the Cabin

In memory, it's always playing out in slow motion. We hit the ramp and go airborne, then drift lazily over the balance of the blacktop, coming down with a few sparks off the front anti-roll bar to drive merrily home.

The reality is and will remain a holy fuck moment when I realized that I lived in a state where the Amish are the technological vanguard and the roads department thinks its nostalgic and fun to keep archback single lane stone bridges in service even though we are barrelling towards the twenty first century faster than a drunk in a Mustang two blocks from home having to piss so bad he can taste it!

After he let me whip his Lotus around the cloverleafs of Toronto and then we got out on some prime flat straightaway north of the city where we hammered it and my thoughts came to me six seconds after I had passed them at the crossroads, I thought I'd be magnanimous and treat Evan to a half hour on the back twisties of the six tooth, trailer-dwelling swampland I was currently living in.

Yep, rural Pennsylvania where you can count to six on one hand and Nascar would be fun if'n you didn't have to add all them points up.

We took off in my current ride, a mid nineties Ford Probe who's salvation was that it was lightweight coupled to a four cylinder. If it hadn't been built about as sturdy as a Monogram Monte Carlo by a kid who would stick a fender on as a cheap excuse to huff some glue...

That is to say if it had been built out of, oh, steel instead of cardboard it would have an issue being run by that four banger I sacrificed rabbits upon to prey to the gods of torque just to offer up another few pound-feet.

I almost got the six it was offered with but that idea was kiboshed by my then wife or as I like to refer to her now; the Wicked Witch of...

Everywhere.

So I settled for the four and took Evan on a blitzkrieg-downshift tour of the single lane blacktop where everything was fine and why bother reading the signs that say "Single Lane Bridge Ahead?"

I was ok with the single lane. It was around eleven on a Sunday morning which meant that if the locals weren't still asleep they were in church looking around at who was sitting uncomfortably because THAT was who they had gone dating with the night before.

The single lane though did have to span the creek and it achieved this by arching not unlike a horny camel's back. And I'm not talking plain horny. I'm talking being in a stockade for seven months with four guy camels named Lance, then being ridden across desert only to wind up in a pen a few strands of wire away from Natalie who has just come in from the market after a good wash and rubdown. That camel horny.

Picture a road. Now look straight up. Now look directly in front of you. Now look down. Now you get the idea of the rise across this fucking bridge I happened to coach the Ford across at about sixty. This took a lot of dumping pure kerosene directly into the intake manifold hoping the shit would kick up something somewhere.

The reality was about 3/4 of a second of free flight at which time I did the only thing my irrational mind thought to do. Hit the brakes. See, I logically reasoned that idle wheels would create more drag and slow us faster than spinning wheels. That added to the drama of shreiking tires once we hit.

In memory we are up there, airborne, for a whole lot longer. Evan lights a cigarette. I pour coffee for us both. We talk about the boat outings of the past few years. Both of us perched on the bridge, scanning the water fifty feet out for the gray highlights that will bear Evan out about the outcropping of rock he KNOWS is around here somewhere. And of course he's right but he's right in that the hollow SKRUTCH against the hull proves him so. Oh well, step back and see that we're not taking on water.

SKRUTCH-SQUEAL is kind of the sound we make when we hit and like Evan and the rock outcropping I give him the "Yeah of course I knew this fucking one lane camelback stone bridge was here."

"Nice landing." Is all he says.

A couple of miles later he asks "How's your oil pressure?"

"Fine."

"Good, you didn't leave your pan back there."

Meant to do that. Really did. Meant to do that.

Bunny on.

1 Comments:

Blogger Jeni said...

Are you sure you aren't my son, writing this under a "pen name?" Somehow or other, knowing him and his penchant for doing what ever he can to "check" out a vehicle I'm thinking it's either that or you are a distant relative of his somewhere along the way. (Except for the fact we don't have those type of bridges in this part of rural Pennsylvania though.)
I'll have to make sure to show him this post when he shows up here later today, I think.

3:25 PM  

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