Monday, August 31, 2009

Two Wheel Drive

A couple of years ago, my driver side mirror fell off my car. (Okay, I knocked it off because I was walking backwards and wasn’t paying attention.) Then the passenger side mirror fell off (while I was on the highway, so there was no reattaching it). Then on a particularly hot day after the air conditioning went out, my rearview mirror dropped off the windshield onto the dashboard. So I found myself in a zero-visibility, 100-degree furnace with transmission issues. Or what is more commonly called a "deathtrap." I sold it for cash to a man who fixes up cars and resells them in Mexico and said "Adios" to being a two-car family. Then one of my older brothers swooped in to save the day. He let me indefinitely borrow the old truck he used when he delivered mail a few years ago. He had converted a 1995 Ford Bronco into a mail delivery truck by installing a steering wheel and pedals on the passenger side of the car. So he could drive on either side of the car if he so chose.

Okay, sidestory backstory here. This particular older brother likes to fish early in the morning. And he's used to getting up early because of some past jobs (newspaper roller, donut maker, etc.). So he would invite his buddies to go fishing with him and pick them up in the converted Bronco. Then he'd tell them, "I'm actually more accustomed to driving this car from the passenger side, so you can ride in the driver's seat, but I’ll drive from over here." They would blearily oblige and then fall asleep. This would give my older brother the perfect opportunity for a little fun. Because apparently, if you're sleeping in the driver's seat of a moving vehicle, it's easy to convince you that you fell asleep at the wheel. So he'd wait until the sleepy friend was really out cold. Snoring was usually a good sign. Then he'd slowly drift onto the shoulder and lean back in his seat like he'd been drifting off too. Then he'd yell at the top of his lungs, "Aaaaahhhhh! What are you doing! We're going off the road!" I can only imagine what the "driver" went through on this little prank. I freak out when my phone rings while I'm asleep. But to wake up and realize that you're supposed to be in control of a 2-ton beast that's careening off the road must be slightly more terrifying. This is what I imagine the progression of thoughts was for the victim:

1. "What? Why is someone waking me?"
2. "Why is this person yelling?"
3. "I'm driving off the road into some trees!"
4. "I saved us. But why is he laughing all of a sudden?"
5. "I thought I was gonna die!"
6. "I'm gonna kill you!"

7. "Dude, we need to go back so I can change shorts."

I used the Bronco for about two years, but I never got to do that to anybody. He disengaged the steering wheel and brake pedal on the passenger side before turning it over to me. So I just had to warn people to watch where they put their feet when riding with me, so they didn't hit the remaining gas pedal accidentally. Which led to another problem with one of my other older brothers. He decided it would be fun to hit the gas at random times when he rode with me. If I asked him if there were any cars coming from his direction, he would skip the "no" and just slam his foot down on his gas pedal. And let me tell you, there's something very strange about having your foot on the brake and then feeling the car lunge forward all of a sudden. And if we were coming to an empty four-way stop, he'd tap the gas so it was nearly impossible for me to stop before getting to the intersection. Mostly he'd just mess with other drivers, though. If we pulled next to someone on the highway, he'd jerk his wheel towards them like he was running them off the road. It only got bad when I joined in and eased the car towards them too. We only did that once, though. I won't forget that traffic ticket.

1 comment:

frigglesnitz said...

I know of some supermarket tractor trailer drivers that found a coworker asleep on the clock at a rest area. One of the drivers drove his truck facing directly in front of Sleeping Beauty and laid on the airhorn.
They claim he snapped the steering wheel. They swore it was true. A change of shorts would be in order as well, I would imagine.