Bessie Crashed and Crunched

Hey, I’ve been looking for that, was the first thought that ran through my head. All the cassette tapes that had been under my seat had rushed forward to rest under my feet. A homemade copy of Led Zeppelin III had re-appeared after weeks on the MIA list. I never risked playing original tapes in that $29 deck I had bought at Rex.

Dad’s going to kill me, was my next thought, and those are the words I was saying as I got out of the car and walked to the front to assess the damage. “Oh man, oh man, oh man. This is bad. This is bad.”

One of the two young ladies who had climbed out of the Camaro walked over to me. “So, are YOU okay?” she asked, her voice thick with sarcasm.

“Oh, yeah, I think. I’m sorry. Are you?”

This is when I was pretty sure I recognized one of them. Yep. She had been one of my babysitters years before. That certainly added to the embarrassment.

In an odd bit of timing, a police car pulled up and stopped at the end of the road the Camaro lady had intended to take.

After declaring Bessie a disaster area, and thanking myself for always wearing my seatbelt, I checked out the Camaro. It didn’t seem too bad to me. It was probably about two or three years old, and besides a little pushing in of the rear bumper, there was just a wrinkle above the doors. Apparently that last part is where it got nasty. The Camaro lady’s insurance company said it was totaled. Ouch.

In addition, I got ticketed for following too close, and was not helped by a witness who said I was “fiddling with the radio.” Dad’s insurance company would not like that one bit. I was not following too close. And I wasn’t messing with the radio, I was… oh, nevermind.

While the wrecker driver hooked Bessie up to his rig, I was reminded of another misadventure.

My first (undocumented) moving violation came behind the wheel of Bessie, before I even had a driver’s license. What’s the statute of limitations on this, anyway?

One day, after my buddy Travis and I had been listening to music, riding our three-wheelers, and probably playing a few games on our Atari 2600, I let my brother know that Travis could use a ride home.

“Why don’t you just drive him home? It’s not very far, and it’s mostly on backroads,” my brother said. He probably was watching some sort of football game or other event, and back in those days we didn’t have a way to pause TV as we watched it. I’m sure being of driving age and hauling around your younger brother and his friends gets old. I was 14 or 15 at that point, and I had driven quite a bit with Dad riding shotgun.

Although part of me told me not to do it, I took my brother up on the offer. It wasn’t the first time I had made a bad decision in this arena; I had driven my dad’s Suburban (unbeknownst to him) to friends’ houses in the past. On the way there, Travis and I decided I would drop him off at the end of his driveway so that his parents would not see who drove him home. They would just think that my brother had driven him, as long as neither of us did anything stupid.

It was that last part that got me.

(continue to Part 4)

2 thoughts on “Bessie Crashed and Crunched

  1. Reminds me, painfully, of that time I borrowed my mother’s Bonneville while in university to pick of a buddy for a movie. Icy curve and a lack of experience led me to lock up the brakes as I started to skid, exacerbating the problem, instead of laying off the brake and just steering out of it as I ought to have done.

    You can probably imagine my own consternation as I sat in the passenger seat of the tow truck while it was backing the car into the driveway and my mother stood stony-faced, staring at me through the window of the back door.

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