Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Morning Story With Mookie - Episode 44

The Time Mookie Wrecked The Shit Out Of His Car

One night back in college, I wrecked my car.  Not just wrecked it, mind you.  I WRECKED THE SHIT OUT OF IT.  What happened?  Read on.

I was going to college and living at home with my parents at the time.  So while I was a full-time "college student," you could argue I wasn't getting the "real" college experience.  I wasn't off banging the entire co-ed community on campus every day like most regular college-going folk.  I still lived at home, commuted to school during the day, and worked part-time at Hardee's.

I wasn't a total loser though, as I had friends that did live on campus, and from time to time I would go and visit them when the time allowed.  One Wednesday night I went and visited a friend for some various reason.  It was getting to be close to midnight, so I decided to call it a night and head for home as I had class and work the next day.  I had not been drinking, so the idea of me driving was not a big deal.  While my friend lived approximately 45-50 minutes from my house, it was a bit of a drive...but I was used to it.

I was flying along doing about 60 on a rural highway, I had the windows down, and had the Van Halen album "5150" cranked as loud as my whiny JVC cassette deck would go.  My car was a 1986 Ford Escort EXP.  It was a 2 seat hatchback, and I loved this car.

I came out of a curve and began a set of rolling hills approximately 10 miles from home.  As I started up the 1st hill, I saw a critter of some kind scurry onto the road and into my lane of traffic.  I tried to swerve a bit to try to avoid hitting it, but accidentally jerked the wheel harder than I should have in trying to swerve.  The next thing I knew was that my car was beginning to go broadside (on dry pavement).  I have self-corrected out of this situation a million times on snow/ice, so while I was caught off guard by the apparent slide I was in, I was confident I would be able to regain control.  Yeah...not so much.  I turned the wheel to try and correct the skid...and all that managed to do was swing the entire car the other way and pointed straight towards the ditch while still doing 60 MPH.

It all happened so fast, but yet it was one of those things where it was in slow motion in your brain.  I remember seeing the ditch coming at me REAL fast, and me going "Oh shit."  WHAM.  I hit the ditch embankment with a sickening crunch, and all the lights on the car went out.  At that point I was totally along for the ride. I couldn't see what was happening, or where I was going, but I was still moving at a high rate for some reason.  I had that whole "life flashing before your eyes" thing when I hit the ditch, but was cognizant of the fact that I was currently in a motor vehicle accident in progress, and thought it was pretty "weak."  Finally, the ride came to an end, and I had no idea where I was.

The first thing I noticed, was that there was a light on in the back of the hatch for some reason.  I wasn't sure why, but figured the car just got rattled around a bunch and turned something on.  I looked down at my lap, and there was a piece of something laying there.  I picked it up and it looked like a chunk of clear plastic.  I opened the driver side door, and tried to get out.  I remember it being difficult to get out of the car for some reason but didn't know why.  I more or less fell out of the car into the ditch, and began to try to look at the car in the moonlight.  My car was perpendicular to the road, and the front was facing the highway.  I walked up onto the roadway and looked at the front of my car.  One of the headlights was gone, and the other was sort of hanging there.  Both of my fog lights were gone, and I could tell one of the front wheels was flat.

At this point, I still had the idea that I would probably be able to drive the car out of the ditch and drive it home.  I was like "My Dad is going to wonder what the hell I did when he sees this in the driveway in the morning."  I decide to try and start the car and drive it out.  I climbed back into the driver seat, and then realized the car was definitely not what it once was.  The entire driver seat was broken.  The back part had snapped upon impact and I had actually been laying down for the rest of the accident.  That explained why it was such a bitch to get out of the car.  Undeterred, I put my foot on the clutch and tried to fire the engine.  VROOOOOOM.  It fired.  Hell yes.  I shut the door, put it into gear and got ready to take off.  Just as I eased off the died.  I pushed the clutch again and tried to start it again, but this time it went no where.  I was dead where I stood.  I fell out of the car again, and decided to walk around the car and see what I was really dealing with here.  It was then the extent of the damage became apparent.  The entire hatch was still locked and shut, but the body had shifted so much I could put my arm through a opening between the body and the door.  A rear tire was flat, and the other one wasn't even touching the ground.  Yep.  I was screwed.

I was still not exactly sure where I was, and because it was about midnight, there was NO traffic out and about on the highway.  I started walking up the highway about 100 feet when I finally realized/remembered where I was.  There was a farm house just up the way a bit, so I ran there to see if I could find a phone to call for help.  I ran up to the dark house and pounded on the door.  I stood there forever, pounding on the door every few minutes or so. Finally, a light went on and some old old old guy came to the door.  I explained my problem and asked if I could use his phone to call my Dad and the deputy sheriff.  He said yes, so he led me to his phone in the kitchen and I called my Dad.  He answered, and I said "It's me.  I was in a car accident.  I'm OK, but I need you to come get me."  He asked where I was, and I told him.  He said he'd be there in a bit.  After that, I called the Sheriff's Office to report the accident.  I thanked the old guy for letting me use his phone, and apologized for waking him.  He was very nice about the whole thing, and to this day I still feel horrible waking him up that night.

I went back out to my car, and waited for the cavalry to arrive.  As I sat on the hood of my busted up EXP, I remembered what got me into the situation in the first place: that critter.  I followed my skid marks back down the highway, and sure enough....there was the critter.  From the way he looked, I think I hit him with at least two wheels.  Bastard.

Eventually a deputy sheriff showed up, and began to write up an accident report.  Much to his credit, he did NOT give me a ticket for anything.  I was sure I was going to get a "failure to maintain control" citation or something, but he was really nice about it.  I had interacted with him before at various community gatherings, and I think he remembered me.  Dad arrived and was VERY glad I was OK.  He asked if I was wearing my seat belt, and I said that I was.  I showed him my now growing bruise from said belt, and the broken seat.  The officer said he called a tow truck, and that we didn't need to wait around for all of that.  He said to make sure I got any "necessary" items I needed out of the car though.  I knew for a fact there were two items I needed to discreetly remove from the car due to their contraband nature.  One was my radar detector.  I didn't want my deputy friend here to see that and rethink the whole necessity of a reckless driving ticket or something.  The second was the pile of "Works Bomb" supplies I had in the hatch.  I had a bag of drain cleaner, aluminum foil, and 2-liter bottles that definitely would not look good in the eyes of the deputy.  While Dad unknowingly distracted the cop, I removed the contraband and put it in Dad's truck.  We then left and went home.

I arrived home to a Mom who was nervous beyond belief, and a feeling of definite whiplash that was beginning to take effect.  By morning, my entire body was the sorest it had ever been, and I couldn't move my neck/head at all without utter pain.

Dad and I went to see my car that afternoon, and remove anything else we needed to.  When we saw my car laying there in its wrecked state, neither of us could believe it.  The auto salvage guy swore that I rolled the car based on the kind of damage on the hood, roof, and trunk of the car.  I told him what happened, and said that based on the condition of the ditch and everything, I didn't think I rolled it.  The guy kinda nodded his head for a minute, and then he said:
"Well kid, you definitely wrecked the shit out of it then."

Indeed I did.

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