Those who follow my blog know I love driving. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Interstate or back roads … city or country … with a destination in mind or going on a serendipitous journey.
Over the years, I’ve had many adventures on the road and even the bad ones never dented the steeled will to get behind the wheel.
And I found a host of treasures lying there on the side of the road. I pimped my plain Jane ’65 Corvair with a chrome tailpipe extender. And I found the neatest chrome tow ball I converted into a gear shift lever, including engraving the shift pattern in the chrome. My Dad was excited I was finally taking an interest in his avocation, helped me with the intricacies of engraving on a round surface and suggested I use the special paint he used when engraving submarine plaques. Alas and alack, it was the only time I expressed ANY interest in his engraving.
This all came flooding to my mind the other day when a plastic gas can flew out of the back of a pick up truck in New Hampshire. But I must be getting old. I just swerved around it.
Back in the day, I probably would have maneuvered through traffic to retrieve the treasure [open the door and pluck it from the road with a precision move at 70 mph]. I mean, over the years I have picked up hundreds of bungee cords [especially if they had two S hooks] and straps as well as an assortment of metal strips, hubcaps, plastic tubes and other automotive knick knacks.
Which brings me to the main thought racing through my head. I remembered an incident way back when — probably 1966 or so — on Route 80 just outside Paterson, NJ. On that day, I was taking Karen somewhere — I don’t remember where. This was also before we were dating.
Just past the Madison Avenue ramp, a Wonder Bread truck ahead of us hit a bump. His back door opened, and out fell an assortment of bread and snacks. He continued on his route unfazed by the mishap, but of course, I pulled over, got out of the car and started collecting the manna from heaven.
When I returned to the car with an armful of bread, donuts, Twinkies and Ho Hos, Karen was speechless with her mouth wide open in amazement.
“Whaaat?” I asked as I threw the bounty in the back seat.
“I don’t believe you did that!” she exclaimed.
“The … the … the bread!”
“What about it?”
“It was on the ground!”
“So,” I responded. “Five second rule applies.”
“You know, if food hits the floor, you can eat it if you retrieve it within five seconds,” I explained.
“That wasn’t the floor!” she countered. “It was the road! And it was more than five seconds.”
“Floor, ground … same thing,” I mumbled with a mouthful of Ho Hos. “And if the wrapper doesn’t break, the rule is extended to five minutes.”
“You … are … crazy,” she stammered as she rejected a Ho Ho. “Certifiably crazy.”
She continued to lecture me on the evil of my ways as I reached into the back seat for a box of donuts. It was unsanitary. It was reckless. I remember her saying something about telling my mother, but honestly all I heard was “blah … blah … blah.” Hey. I didn’t have to listen to her lecture. She wasn’t my girlfriend and I didn’t have to impress her.
She tried insulting me. “Look, a half eaten McDonald’s,” she pointed out. She tried to reason with me. “Do you know you could have gotten hurt out there?” She even tried persuading me. “Girls don’t like that kind of behavior.”
I remained nonplussed, gave her one of my classic shrugs and “Whaaat” looks … and offered her a donut. This time she accepted it.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: What we have is all we need.