Feb 24, 2010

Into the Ditch

4:20 a.m. and I am awakened by the screaming protest of an old Volvo engine being repeatedly red-lined by its owner, a man with much drink and no hap.

In our swell little neighborhood there seems to be an epidemic of drunk drivers winding up in the lovely little *culverts* that bedeck each homestead. These drivers do not live here, they are on their way to some other swell little neighborhood where the water drains off the yards more easily, unlike here, where the primordial Pluff MudTM is but a few inches removed from the lawn surface.

So, on our 200 yd. road they negotiate the one right-angle turn only to be confounded by the 100 yards of straight road to the next stop sign. It's a driving challenge for the inebriated, apparently, because this was the third such incident this month. Once ensconced in the ditch French drain, drunks straightway learn that solid ground is a relative term even in a seemingly dry gulch, and they sink right up to the rocker panels. Which looks lovely in anyone's yard, don't you think?

The JR wakes, thinking our noisy heater has finally blown up, but I sleepily inform him that there is a stumbling drunk who has become our guest in the front yard. Said drunk was slogging in the culvert trying to open his trunk where he keeps a handy tow-rope. (It's an essential in Charleston, btw, even for sober drivers. At least he was a prepared drunk.) I think his shoe is still there in the ditch, about 4 inches into the ground. Nevertheless, he gets back into his vehicle and starts gunning the ancient Volvo and we're pretty sure that there's nothing for it but to drag him out. Luckily, we just bought an apocalypse vehicle for such eventualities, so we get dressed, I put coffee on, and before the coffee is finished, the deed is done. While the JR is parking the truck, I walk out with a mug of strong, sweet coffee to ply our guest with, but he has already started to drive away, while dialing his cell phone, drunk dialing someone at 4:45 a.m. It had better be someone who loves him quite a bit.

I feel bad that I didn't get there in time to delay him with coffee and conversation and maybe a fine slap across his face to sober him up, but staying in our ditch was not an option. He was likely smart to leave the 'hood before the cops showed up. But his car didn't sound like it was gonna make it past the stop sign as he probably killed the rings with redlining the engine, or gashed the oil pan in the fall. The mud in the fan belt and pulleys squealed indignantly of course, as though the old Volvo had more self-respect than its driver.

Anyway, it made for a fine morning's meditation on our current Congress, its drunken spending habits, our economy, stumbling TARP bailouts that require no accountability, and the eventual meltdown that is surely just around the corner.

Your mileage may vary.

8 comments:

pamibe said...

Add some blaring Bob Marley and it could be my hood...

Yabu (EOTIS) said...

"Rocker Panels" remindes me of The French Connection...don't ask why.

Zombyboy said...

Nicely done.

And a nice shot of kindness from you and the husband.

patti said...

You didn't call the boys in blue? I'd have called the boys in blue - zero tolerance for drunk driving. Driving while stupid is bad enough.

f/zero said...

Build it and they will come.

I hope he thanked you profusely. He has no idea how fortunate he is that he chose your moat.

joated said...

Good on you guys but I've got to side with Patti. In this litigious society, if he had gone on to have a fatal crash, someone might have been suing you for getting him back on the road.

Laura said...

See, I would have called the cops. Or went out and stabbed him. Would have depended on my mood.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Well, calling the cops in our hood can present all sorts of ongoing problems. But the funny thing was that our first thought was to attend the stupid idiot that fell into our care, invited or no.

We had an erstwhile plan to help the man and attend to his need and keep him long enough to sober him up. We've done as much before and more. Maybe all those years in Mexico, where calling the cops is a very last resort, were still there under the sleep deprived state of our minds.

Drunk driver are a menace, you get no argument from me on that. It was truly a strange night.