Thursday, January 24, 2008

Holding it in the road

Lately, when people ask I answer that I've been just "holding it in the road."

Today somebody asked what that meant, and I realized that the statement might not be as common as I once thought. So allow me to explain.

When you're fifteen in the South, you get a driver's license.

The South being the Southern states, not necessarily all of Florida and ending westward at Texas, which is it's own problem, and thus the Southern really could be considered a state of mind more than a locale. But then if you were from the South, you would understand that I mean from the Southern and not actually from the Southern states. But I digress.

When you're fifteen in the South, you get a driver's license.

It's almost like they hand them out at Kmart or Walmart or the Swanee Swifty or whatever, but pretty much at a fairly young age, you get this ability to get your narrow ass into a two ton machine and be a man. Or a woman. Or both. The south is getting pretty liberal. But again I digress.

When you're fifteen, oh, you heard this part. Right. But the trick is at the same time they give you a license, you usually GET A CAR too! Or at least pretty good access to one.

Don't ask me how it worked financially, I was fifteen and I had split mine with my brother, but at the tender wet behind the ears age of fifteen I could load up the fellas and ride through the streets like we had put our good sense in a box at home for safe keeping. Which is usually where we kept it, next to the comic books and that one dirty magazine we'd gotten our hands on. I'm actually talking pre-internet here people, bear with me.

I realize that people not from the South at this point will question the innate wisdom of giving what is essentially a tall ten year old who still can't grow hair on his chin or write a check the keys to real automobile and then letting them loose, with little to no supervision, a tank of gas and the inner workings of their own minds. You know writing that out I'm kinda wondering about the wisdom of it myself. But you have to have a car in the South! At one point I think we had four drivers and four cars in my immediate family. Again, I digress.

So, you a got fifteen year old. You got a car with a full tank of gas. Or a half tank. Or some gas, what his allowance can afford minus the price they over paid for the six pack, whatever, and the open road. So what does a person blessed with sudden mobility and an awesome responsibility do? That's right, you find a fairly straight stretch of empty road...easier than you would think in many parts of the rural south...and you open that baby up!

I once shaved twenty minutes off a normally thirty minute trip. And at no time did the car leave the ground.

So you're young, they're still counting how long you've had your license in hours (Oh, he got it a couple hours ago! Just went to store for his mom!) and you're going faster than speedometer can actually register. It's just pressed firmly at the high end now. And all those minutes of experience you have culminate in that moment when every teen realizes that the car you're driving is not exactly designed to do what you currently have it doing (geez, I thought Dodge made race cars?) and what you are doing as of that just "holding it in the road" until you can slow down enough to not die... should you wreck. If you wreck. When you wreck.

So at this point, I'm just holding it in the road.

Barkeep. Oh damn, I'm still not drinking.

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