And so it came to pass that the Porsche and I were travelling through the wilds of central South Carolina, heading north toward Mooresville. I can’t recall the exact occasion, but it was probably not a particularly happy one.
But getting there was pleasant, as we cruised along the two lane, exceeding the legal limit by enough to satisfy my rebellious nature but not enough to attract regulatory attention. The car was so spartan it didn’t even have a radio, but the strident song of the tuned exhaust kept me content as we ate up the miles.
We popped up over a slight hill and I saw a car driving somewhat slowly ahead of us. I didn’t see that as a problem, and I moved into the left lane to pass. But about a second later I realized that I could see both door handles on his left side. He was turning left. We were in a jam.
The brakes immediately came on, hard enough to slow down but soft enough to maintain steering. We gently drifted right, then the brakes released and the throttle went down enough to stabilize the suspension as the right wheels flirted with the marbles on the shoulder. A set of tail fins flashed by my window, and the throttle eased as the car side-slipped back onto the pavement. The whole sequence took about 4 seconds.
After a few quick breaths, I realized that we were in third gear, although I didn’t recall how. A little gas and a quick shift resolved that problem and we were back at speed. I confirmed that I was still alive, although that simple fact had been at issue a very short time ago.
For the next few miles, I expected a comment from the car. I didn’t hear anything, although there was a loud thumping noise in my chest that might have drowned it out.
But the next morning I went out and there was an interoffice memo taped to the wheel.
Yesterday I pulled your roasting chestnuts out of an open fire. I didn’t do it just for you, I also didn’t want to smack my immaculate fenders into that hideous piece of Detroit scrap iron. It’s OK, you don’t have to thank me.
You know I am proud of my 4 wheel disks and my agility, but I would really prefer not to be called upon to demonstrate them without proper notice, particularly on a public road. Let’s leave that sort of thing to the track, OK?
In the future, please try to exercise what little intelligence and judgment you may possess to avoid such situations.
Well, my first impression was, “What a snob!” But given my own history of such things, I didn’t have a lot of standing to complain. And more importantly, I had indeed been asleep at the switch the day before.
I did try to clean up my act. Many years and many cars later, The Boss has been known to say, “Maybe I should drive, so we’ll get there on time!”
But I know, in the imaginary made for bad TV screenplays that cycle through my head, when the Federal Agent commandeers my car and says, “Follow that Evildoer!” I’ll do just fine. I’ll kick the bad guy’s butt into a spectacular flaming crash scene, and then pose for the heroic final shot before the credits roll.
Or perhaps not.