Adventures in Carpooling
Hollis and I have started carpooling to work at the craft school – a convenience that saves us each $25 a month, sometimes up to $50. Today he drove us in his second vehicle, a two-passenger truck with over 247,000 miles on it. Round about LittleTown, NC we got pulled over by a State Trooper.
“Mother f***er!” Hollis says in his deep, sonorous voice. He is the dinner chef at the craft school and also from the west coast. Instantly, we had solidarity, though today as the officer approached I knew the best help I could offer was of the silent variety.
The officer had white-washed skin and talked slower than a slug makes spit. His wide brimmed had shaded him from the sun while Hollis and I squinted rudely against the sun’s glare and tried to look as inncocent as possible. By some miracle or similar affect, Hollis told the truth (“I have to admit it officer, I gunned it in the passing lane. That other vehicle was tailgating me for five miles and I was a little annoyed.”) and talked himself straight out of a ticket.
“But you know your brake light is out, don’t you?” the officer said. His reached into his breast pocket for a click pen, swallowed in an awkward, noticeable manner, and continue his molasses dialogue. “Test it out now and I’ll go on back and have a look.” His badges indicated that he was a field operations trainer, and I was eager to ask him what it was like to train other officers but I bit my tongue. It was not the time for interviews.
Again, Hollis told the truth (“It is? I had no idea, really. Must be that back right one where the cover is busted?”) and no ticket was issued. With a promise to get the light repaired quickly, we were released from the officers disaffected gaze. But when the door of the State Trooper vehicle slammed shut and Hollis didn’t start his car and pull out of the parking lot we had stopped in, I began to worry.
“Just wait,” he said, watching the officer in the rearview mirror. Slowly, as if the vehicle moved to the cadence of his voice, the office pulled away and Hollis and I sat cooking in the vehicle. “Ok, hang me that crow bar under your feet,” he said.
I sifted through a few Coke bottles, lifted my bag and my feet, and sure enough there was a crow bar. Hollis hopped out of the car, ran around to the passenger side of the vehicle and reached underneath the engine, banging loudly on something below the floorboards under my feet. Then, like a sprinter from a starting block, he leaped up from the ground, crow bar in hand, and ran around to the driver’s side where he gunned the engine and put the truck in gear while turning the keys.
“One more time,” Hollis said, as much to himself as to me. He repeated the act and when met with a similar outcome, I looked at him knowingly.
“Let me push, ok?” I said.
“We both can,” Hollis nodded his head towards the tail end of the car, which was pointing downhill and therefore the only way we could go to get enough momentum and bypass the electric starter on the truck.
Picture the State Trooper now, long gone into the sunny morning, cruising perhaps by now across the county line. Parallel his idyllic drive with Hollis and I laughing and huffing as we push the truck backwards. I looked up and somehow Hollis was already in the truck and shouting at me, then waving. “C’mon, you can get in now, get in!”
I grabbed the ends of my skirt and lifted them up high enough to get a jump, then hoisted myself into the moving truck, half-shouting at Hollis: “Have you see Little Miss Sunshine, yet?”
“No, why?” Hollis looked confused.
“Just see it, trust me. There’s plenty of pushing and jumping into vehicles. You’ll appreciate it.”