Friday, December 19, 2008
Trouble Comes in Threes
Car trouble does for sure. Oh, and did I mention I name my cars? Silly, right? This one is Strawbella. I don’t know how I came up with the name. OK, I do. Italian Strawberry. She’s a lovely colour.
It’s been a busy 10 days with Strawbella. I feel there’s a spell on me or her. I need a reverse incantation.
So far in this life, I’ve racked up well over a million km in driving I would think, if not more. I’ve encountered minor trouble. I never had a serious accident or any accident. Near misses but I can’t even think of a fender bender actually.
People tell me I’m a good driver, they often fall asleep in the passenger seat as I tool along which is the ultimate test, right. I avoid brake usage unless it’s an emergency. I go with the flow, I’m relaxed even though I’m a defensive driver, I classify everyone else on the road as an eejit or a Fwad, which is a private family term for driver-dolts and is quite obscene when not abbreviated. Being defensive is a good way to drive. Always watching out for some careening catastrophe or a wavering wobbler who is either drunk or high.
All the moose that plague the highways here are long gone to beddy-bye for the season, I’ve been told. So I’m more relaxed than usual as I drive at dusk last Sunday. I don’t have to watch for them anymore. I’m heading for a small dinner party at a friend’s. I’ve got a mixed album on. Celtic Women. Lovely voices, I join them as I tool along.
Out of nowhere it gallops out on the road. An effing moose. No car coming, no car behind, veer sharp to the left. Very sharp. Moose veers to the right. Moose falls. Hard. Not fast enough to escape me and my car. And it is sickening this awful sound as I drive over her four legs. Heart pounding, I pull over to the side of the road. What if she’s in pain, bleeding? Broken legs? Briefly I lay my head on the wheel, I can’t look. There’s no sound behind me. No other cars. I raise my head, look in the rear view mirror and there she is, clambering mightily to her feet, shaking her head (at me?) and retreating from whence she came. Standing quietly. Waiting for the next car? This is a game?
I get out of Strawbella, walk around her. Not a mark on her. No dent, no blood, no fur. I get back in. Swear to heaven, the dog lifts one eyebrow at me. “And for your next trick, human?”
Well, she only had to wait three days. We leave St. John’s at 9.00 p.m. last night for the normal 55 minute drive and get caught in a blizzard. A bad one, snow, freezing rain and no snowplows out. And loads of Fwads on the road. All in tractor-trailers. Markings on highways are buried and there are steep inclines on both sides. Fwads drive by, flashing highbeams, honking and throwing immovable ice on to the windshield which necessitates pulling over onto air and manually removing it. The drive home took 2 ½ hours of white-knuckling, frequent stops and appalling language, even for me. I would have waved fists at the Fwads, but my fingers were stuck to the wheel in a kind of rigor mortis.
The dog staggered out of Strawbella at the end of it all with a look at me that would fry bacon.
Yeah, OK, I admit it, I tell her. I plan and plot these manoeuvres to really, really get up your nose.