Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Everyone tells me I have a knack for attracting trouble – that they don’t know anyone else who has more bizarre experiences than I do. Well, yesterday, I added another new one to my list! 

I usually hibernate in the winter. By that, I mean I don’t venture out in my car. I love to take walks in the cold weather because it’s invigorating, but I hate driving on anything that can produce ice and send my car skidding someplace where no one will find it (or me) until the spring thaw. So every January, I usually stock up on enough food, dog food and toilet paper to last me until July.

But yesterday, I decided that unless I wanted my car to turn into a petrified blob with four square tires from sitting in one spot for months without being driven, I probably should drive it somewhere.

Ironically, the first thing I noticed when I got into the car was it needed gas, which surprised me because it hadn’t been anywhere to burn gas. I figured all of the gas probably had evaporated…either that, or a really cold deer or coyote had siphoned it to burn for heat.

I hate to admit it, but there’s something I’ve done only once (and fully intend never to do again), and that’s pump my own gas. The problem is, 99 percent of the gas stations in the state are self-serve. But as luck would have it, I just happen to live in an area where one of the rare full-service stations still exists. So I headed over there.

The attendant, who looked as if he were on the verge of suffering from a bad case of frostbite (and made me really glad I wasn’t the one out there pumping my own gas) filled the tank. I then ran a few local errands and headed home.

The main road to my house, Deerfield Road, has so many hills and curves on it, I think the town could make extra money if it put a couple roller-coaster cars at the top of it and then charged people to ride down it, for the thrill of a lifetime. Not only is the road steep and curvy, it has absolutely no place to pull off to the side – not unless you want to become intimately acquainted with a tree. And the most ironic part is it climbs up to an area called Mount Delight. All I can say is the guy who named it Mount “Delight” must have been playing a marathon game of beer pong right before he did.

Anyway, I was a couple miles up the road, driving 38 mph in a 35-mph zone, when this car came up behind me and got close, too close. I practically could see the color of the driver’s eyes when I looked in my rearview mirror.

“This guy’s in a big hurry.” I muttered to my two dogs, who were in the back seat, as if they could understand me. “But I’m already going faster than the speed limit, so he can just back off!”

But he didn’t back off.  And for the next three miles, he practically was welded to my bumper. If, for any reason, I’d have had to slam on my brakes, he would have ended up sitting in my dog Willow’s lap – if she had a lap.

Finally, to my relief, the road where I had to make a left turn loomed just up ahead, so I put on my turn signal.  When I did, the guy behind me pulled out from behind me and passed me – on a hill.

“There is no excuse for driving like that!” I again huffed at the dogs. “I don’t care how much of a hurry he’s in!  I don’t even care if he has a bad case of diarrhea! There’s no excuse for driving like a maniac!”

That’s when something very strange…and very scary…suddenly happened. The guy stopped his car…and blocked the road where I was going to make my turn.

I just sat there, not knowing what to do or what was happening. As I watched, my eyes widening, his car door flew open and he stepped out. He was a big guy – like a linebacker for The Patriots – with long, dark hair. He started walking toward my car – leaving his car sitting in the middle of the wrong side of the road…on a curve.

Every horror movie I’d ever seen suddenly flashed through my mind. Was this a case of road rage? Was he ticked off that I hadn’t been driving faster and I’d made him late for an important event? Or had my dogs been making something he might have misinterpreted as rude gestures at him through the back window? I sat there, frozen, afraid to move.

The guy walked right up to my car…then right over to the passenger side, where he closed the little door on my gas tank. He then smiled at me, got back into his car and drove off.

At first, I was too stunned to even understand what had just happened. But then I felt grateful – grateful to be alive with all of my body parts still attached. I also felt grateful to the guy for being so chivalrous. However, once I got home and had more time to think about all of the dangerous moves he’d pulled just to close my gas-tank door, I started to realize he’d really gone overboard. Maybe I could have understood him passing me on a hill, blocking my way and parking in the middle of the road if I were, for example, dragging a pedestrian’s body underneath my car…but just to close the door on my gas tank?  Definitely overkill.

So now I’m thinking that maybe it will be a while before I drive my car again. I mean, who knows, the next time I do go out for a ride, a guy on a white horse might come galloping up alongside my car to rescue me from a burned-out taillight.

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