seeing one of my high school girlfriends, sheryl, comment on a recent post (we haven’t seen each other in well more than two decades, i’m sure), reminded me of a pretty funny story — though it wasn’t funny at the time.
it was one week after i got my driver’s license, and i convinced my parents i was mature enough to take the family VW bug (lime green — looked like a frog; though i’m sure mark riddle would call it pink) on a date. sheryl and i had just started “going out” (whatever that meant!). so i picked her up on the south side of livonia (hey Detroit people!) and drove out to the then brand-new 12 Oaks Mall. it was a big mall at the time, and built in an area with lots of land. so it had one of those donut-shaped parking lots (with the mall where the hole would be). around the outside was the main drive (like the glaze on the donut — hey, i’m getting hungry).
when sheryl and i got out of a movie on the backside of the mall, the mall was closed. we got in the bug and drove out to the circle drive, and started making the circumference arc around the lot to the front. as i drove “out of my way” around the empty lot, my brilliant 16 year-old mind said, “hey, it would be way shorter to cut through the empty lot up to the front.” whether i said this to sheryl or not is not part of my memory. what happened next is.
i was cutting through the empty lot at, probably, about 50 miles per hour or so. did i mention the lot was empty? shouldn’t have been an issue. except for that stupid traffic island. and not one of those ones with nicely visible shrubs and all. just an 18-inch high hunk of concrete cutting perpendicular to our path. i saw it at the last second, and slammed on the brakes, which pushed the front of the car down.
i’ll get to the point: we ripped all four wheels, the axels, and the drive train off the bottom of the car; skidded across the lot on the belly of the car. not my best driving moment.
maybe this is why i am married to jeannie, and sheryl (god bless ‘er) is married to — apparently, according to her name — a mr. phillips.