Friday, March 04, 2005

Story Number 1

The following is the first story I told to Ann after the lecture and our agreement that storytelling would be the best way for me to improve my language skills. It is first not so much because it is the best, but because is easy to tell with my limited vocabulary.

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Several years ago I was driving from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I was driving my old '92 Volkswagen Fox (the one with a dent in the fender and an odd colored driver's side door.) I was accompanied by my friend, who lay asleep for most of the trip. We had miserable driving weather. It was dark, overcast, and raining. It wasn't the kind of rain that makes you pull over to the side and wait it out. It was the kind that slows traffic, stiffens your neck and keeps your windshield wipers in turmoil. I simply hate to have the wipers going faster than they need to be. Too slow and you cannot see, too fast and you get that awful skwelk sound of rubber on dry glass.

The normally quick drive took us an additional hours driving. We entered Tuscaloosa and my heart was glad that the drive was nearly over. We were on a heavily trafficked six lane highway. I was cruising along nicely in the middle lane. I almost always choose the middle lane when driving in cities. You have none of the break riding action you get in the right lane from people entering and leaving the highway. There is also less tailgating from locals who feel they were meant for the race track. As I said there was a good deal of traffic out that day and we were traveling somewhere near the 40 MPH mark. Suddenly the car in front of me began to fishtail slightly. I pumped my breaks and checked my mirrors to see if I would be able to pass into another lane. No such luck. The fishtailing worsened and the car before me did a 180 degree turn! I was literally looking the driver and passenger square in the eyes. Those eyes were like saucers, all white. Panic transferred each car like water over a burst dam. Again I darted my eyes to see if I could get out of the way, and again I was met with traffic on each side. I pumped my breaks some more hoping the wet road would not cause me to slide. After a few terrified moments of staring at the people I might die with, the car turned another 180 degrees to face the correct way. Control was still not with them. A moment later they skidded into the right lane, barely missing another car before they came to an abrupt stop on the embankment. Traffic had slowed during this and I was able to see that the other car's passengers were ok.

My friend slept through the entire ordeal.

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