Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Adventures in Driving

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend me your ears! I come to blog, not to.....not blog."

You guessed it! With that brief homage to Bill Shakespeare behind us I start yet another new blog post. Thank you, your applause is deafening.

Recently I was reminded that I am, infact...a very poor driver. It pains me to admit that, it really does. For 6 years I have fought with every fibre of my being to ensure that everyone I come into contact with knows that I should probably be a Formula 1 race care driver. (Sidebar: Formula 1 sounds too much like a dog food brand for me to take it seriously) However, my arguments and daily reminders of my clearly superior driving skills started to hold less water after I may or may not have rolled my second vehicle. (For those of you that are confused with that last statement...I did infact roll a second vehicle...it wasn't a may or may not situation...it...it was just a "may. Ie. I flipped that sucker)

Anyways...after much personal strife and inner turmoil I decided it was okay to finally admit to myself, and to the world, that I am actually just a terrible driver. Now let me just clear the air a bit. I am not bad in the sense that I'm all over the road, or mowing down pedestrians or running red lights. I am a bad driver in the sense that I make bad decisions when I drive.  To prove this point to you I have 2 tales to tickle your mind juices with today.

Story A. AKA: Holly follows a gang.
Story B. AKA: Holly rolls her body across a darkened highway.

Join me won't you?



Story A) I like to joke with my friends that I suffer from "rage blackouts". It's not a hilarious joke...especially seeing as millions of canadians suffer from rage blackouts every year (that is not an accurate stat), but anyways it is a go to joke of mine. This particular story is about one of my more famous rage blackouts. I used to live in a community called Marda Loop with my friend Laura.  Marda Loop is not what I would consider a "gang breeding ground", but it has had, on occasion, the odd raucous youth terrorizing the streets. These youths would usually not come out until nightfall. But not today. Today was different.  I was driving home from school, probably around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, on my way home to lie on the couch in my awesome apartment and probably watch my roommate Laura, play Mario 64. The way I came home that day required me to make a left hand turn onto the street that I lived.  The road I was turning off of did not have a stop sign, so there was literally nothing in between me and my goal of happily doing nothing while watching my roommate do speed runs of Mario, aside from simply completing the turn, parking the car, and going inside. OR SO I THOUGHT. I was in the process of completing my turn when suddenly I heard a blasting car horn, yelling and swearing coming from my left. I was not oblivious to the fact that there was a car waiting at their stop sign for me to complete my turn, so I turned my head to look. BOOM. EYE CONTACT.  This car was full of young, 20 something boys, clearly growing impatient for me to complete this very complicated driving maneuver. They were not small boys, and they all looked quite uncomfortable as there had to have been like 6 of them crammed into that Grand Am.  The yelling continued, insults were hurled, fingers were given, enemies were made.  I finished the turn and the boys tore off down the street, no longer having to wait for me, the stupid law abiding citizen, to not break the rules of the road. Something in my brain clicked...something rose inside of me like fire bubbling in the pits of hell. I went crazy.

I turned my truck around so fast I'm surprised I didn't flip it (I have a tendency to do that), and without thinking I tore off down the road after my prey. Now...at this point in the story you might be thinking to yourself "What the hell is wrong with you, you are car chasing 6 grown men down a side road with no end goal..."

...Yes, well, we can't all be swift thinkers so it took me a little longer to arrive at that conclusion. All I could think about was what I would say to these horrible young men when I got out of my car and berated them. They pulled up to a house, obviously aware that I was now stalking them, and looked at me uncomfortably. They watched me as I approached and slowly got of the car and made for the house. THIS was the point where I thought to myself:
"WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU HOLLY. YOU JUST CHASED A GANG. WHAT WERE YOU PLANNING ON DOING WHEN YOU GOT HERE. ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE ON 6 GROWN MEN? TURN AROUND TURN AROUND TURN AROUND OH GOD TURN AROUND"
So...I pretended that I infact was not stalking them and drove right past them while I nonchalantly fiddled with the radiostation. My goal was, of course, to communicate that clearly I had only hastily turned around to chase them, not because I was angry, but actually because today seemed like the perfect day to take in the scenery of that particular Marda Loop street...

Then panic set in...what if they follow me home? What if they saw my license plate and come find my car in the night and slash my tires? What if they somehow managed to rig up explosives under my car as I drove by? Panic does funny things to the mind. SO I drove around Marda loop for about 10 minutes to shake them off my trail, before returning home to my apartment. I arrived home safely! I had mixed feelings. Shame and accomplishment, anger and hilarity. I mean, after all I had LITERALLY just taken on* 6 gang members and lived to tell the tale (*Driven away in terror from).   I then proceeded to tell the tale to everyone I knew...it was met with reactions of shock and awe, but mostly embarrassment for me. Except Laura...she laughed...but then yelled at me for making our apartment building the future potential location of gang activity. But...I don't live there anymore, so, Laura, if that gang ever comes back to exact revenge, then you have my sincerest apologies.

(This is what comes up with a google images search of "car gangs")

Story B) I was driving home on the highway between Okotoks and Millarville one night, at around midnight, when I started to become slightly drowsy. So, I unrolled all of my windows and cranked up the tunes. Now, I had recently been gifted some Calgary Flames car flags for my birthday from my dear friend Becca. I had obviously forgotten about their presence because I opened the windows anyway. I remembered instantly and looked back to see if they had gone. Indeed, they had disappeared into the night.  I was disappointed, so disappointed in fact, that I knew I had to drive back and find them.  So, I hastily turned around on the highway and slowly drove the length of the highway where I knew the flags had to be, scouring the ditches for any sign of red. There they were! I had found them! They were on the left side of the highway however, and I was currently on the right. Any smart person would have turned their car back around and collected them that way. Not me. No. I was braver, I was better, I was brilliant. I could see them and I wanted them. So I pulled over and got out and ran across the highway to retrieve them. However, I had driven past the flags so my headlights were no longer illuminating where they were. I didn't realize this until after I had crossed the highway though.  Now, I was parked at the bottom of a hill. It was a really long hill, so it wasn't like if anyone came over the crest of the hill a kilometre away that they wouldn't immediately see me at the bottom and have more then enough time to slow down appropriately. But still, the hill factor is worth mentioning.  Anyways, I groped around in the dark for a bit looking for the flags. I found them again and was getting ready to bend down and pick them up when out of the corner of my eye I saw a light at the top of the hill.  OH. NO. Instead of just, oh I don't know...waiting on the opposite side of the road for what was CLEARLY an oncoming vehicle to pass...I hastily grabbed the flags and turned to run back across the highway. However, in my haste, I forgot to pick my feet up to walk.  Instead of taking a step I plummeted face first into the pavement, twisting and destroying my knee on the way down. Now I was really panicking. Now I was lying on the side of the road, where the oncoming vehicle would never expect me to be, and they wouldn't see me and they would drive over me and I would die a horrible, painful death, flames flags in hand. I tried to stand up, but the pain in my leg was too much, so instead of rolling safely into the ditch...

I. ROLLED. ACROSS. THE. HIGHWAY. Straight up, log rolled across the highway. I got to my car on the other side safely without becoming roadkill, as the car had not yet reached me, and used my arms to pull my now useless lower half into the drivers side.  But wait a second, shouldn't the oncoming vehicle be almost upon me by now. Or shouldn't I at least see it somewhere in front of me? You would really think so. But nope, no car. It was at this point that I realized that the light I had seen had infact not been an oncoming vehicle, but rather MY OWN HEADLIGHTS reflecting off a road sign.....-_-

I started to cry.  I was bleeding from both my knees, my palms were destroyed, and I had narrowly avoided death (death had never actually been imminent).  I calmed down for a few minutes and then went sadly back on my way.  I arrived at home 20 minutes later still beat up from my late night roll.  I limped up to the front door, covered in blood, pants torn, hair all in disarray and met my mother at the front door where, she sleepily deliberated over whether or not she should let me in as I had forgotten my keys.  In fact she looked at me through the window beside the door clearly confused and said "What are you doing out there??" At which point I yelled for her to "JUST OPEN THE DOOR".***** I limped up to my bedroom and lay on my bed pondering what I had been through that night.  I was in pain, and I could have died, but the victory of flag retrieval was just so sweet. Also, I had discovered a cure for driving while tired. It turns out if you subject your body to extreme stress and physical pain you won't fall asleep while driving afterwards.  Feel free to use that method. No need to thank me.

*****Upon reading my latest post this morning my mother entered my room to tell me that she had some input. I opened one eye groggily and listened to what she wanted to add.  Upon careful deliberation I decided that my mother was hilarious and that I would allow her to add her take onto one of my stories. So without further ado, adding onto Story B, I give you, My Mom!

"As Holly's mother I would like to flesh out rather more fully, my contribution to Holly's evening adventures.  Her father and I are waiting up for Ms. Gruszecki, and snoring softly on our respective couches while taking in a pair of excellent episodes of "Petticoat Junction" on Retro TV.  I snort awake to an insistant knocking on the front door and stagger out into our darkened front entrance.  As I peer suspiciously out the glass on the left side of the door I note a disheveled young woman glaring balefully at me from the other side.
"Holly, what are you doing out there?" I demand blearily.
"Mom, could you unlock the door please."
"Where are your keys?" I inquire.  A question not without merit, surely.
"Can you just open the door?"
"Why is your key in your purse and not on your key ring?"  I ask, clearly up for a lengthy discussion on the subject.
"MUM, OPEN THE DOOR!!!!"
 "Honestly!!" I snort (and I meant it to sting!) and I jerk open the door.  My daughter staggers in sporting gravel and twigs in her hair, torn jeans and clutching two tattered Flames flags in her hand.  "Have you been in a gang fight?" I demand.  I've heard of the Marda Loop debacle and am aware gang retribution is a real possibility with this child. She shoots a look in my direction and stomps up the stairs trailing highway debris in her wake.  "Harrumph!" I respond huffily and head back to the family room.  "Holly Home?" inquires her father.  "Yes" I respond and pause a moment to gather my thoughts to relate my tale of Holly's irresponsibility regarding gangs and keys.  "Oh Good!" he says and promptly begins to snore again...I bet Kate Bradley of the Shady Rest Motel in Petticoat Junction never had to put up with this."*****


Well faithful companions, my lengthy stories have come to an end and I hope you emerged from the experience a little wiser.  I hope you learned that chasing down gangs in your car is not something you should do, and that rolling across a pitch black highway is not a good decision.  But mostly...mostly I hope you learned that if you just open your mind, then driving with me can be an adventure...and that usually no one gets hurt.

....For real though, you should probably drive when we hang out.