Aug 27, 2010
When I was in 5th grade, I tried out for cheerleading. We had to stay after school, and our parents were supposed to pick us up a few hours later. I should first tell you that the school I went to was filled with kids who came from upper-class families. Everyone drove the newest shiny cars, all the kids had the nicest clothes, etc.
So, the day before the tryouts, our car breaks down and has to be taken to the shop. "What are we going to do?" I asked, over and over. "Oh, we'll figure something out," my parents answered. I should also tell you that our neighbor, and one of my dad's good friends, drove this truck - if you want to call it that.
Let's just say that if it had been a horse, it would have had to be shot. It was several different colors, slathered in Bondo, had broken mirrors and the sound...it was what I imagine the apocalypse might sound like.
After the tryouts, my friends and I walked toward the front of the school, where the car-riders got picked up at.
We were sitting there chatting, laughing and carefree, when I heard it. It came from around the corner..."PUTT-PUTT-PUTT-PUTT." The ground practically shook with the noise. Immediately, I knew...this sound was somehow for me. Son of a horse, I thought. I looked around quickly, calculating my chances of escape.
It was too late. That *truck* pulled around the corner, looking like absolute death warmed over - like the evil ghost of something that used to resemble a vehicle. My eyes automatically went wide and I looked to either side of me. This is where everything turned slow-motion. I could see one of my friends' eyes get wide too, and sloooooowly, she mouthed, "OH MY GOD."
I wanted to die. I didn't move for a few minutes, but there was my dad in the driver's seat, waiting for me. Shit. I thought about running, but looking at his face, I changed my mind and stood up with all the courage of someone going to face their horrendous, torturous death. Now, if it was bad until this point, it gets even worse. Why, you ask? Because the passenger side door on this monster did not open.
This meant that right there, in front of my friends, my father had to get OUT of this thing, and let me climb through the driver's side, before he got back in and pulled away. While I was dying a thousand deaths of embarrassment, my father got out of the vehicle. Obviously, something showed on my face...
...because my dad looked over at the kids, and then back at me. He whispered encouragingly, "Just tell them I'm the gardener." Thanks, Dad. I'm sure that'll work. To this day, he believes it was a character-building experience...I believe it's the cause for deep-rooted fears involving Bondo and gardeners.