I (re-)learned a simple but eminently valuable lesson yesterday, and that is this: no matter how big and imposing my 2500HD Chevy Silverado pickup truck may appear at first sight, as a deceptively meek two-wheel-drive machine, it is absolutely not intended for use as an off-road vehicle, and any attempts to defy that hypothesis are performed at the driver’s own peril, embarrassment, and ferocious frustration. To wit: while crossing some day-job chores off the to-do list yesterday afternoon, I — without even giving an iota of thought to what the hell I was actually doing — drove off in a mud hole and managed to get myself hopelessly mired in a hoppin’ hot mess. (It has been rainy and cold for the biggest part of the last two weeks here in the Centex, and the plot of earth that I was occupying yesterday is very well saturated, so what indeed ended up happening would not have been at all difficult to predict, but again, I wasn’t paying an ounce of attention to the situation on the ground when I threw the truck into drive and took off, and I fully own that particular brain fart.) I rocked back and forth for a spell, shifting between reverse and low-gear drive and trying to build up enough momentum to propel myself in either direction out of the muck, but it eventually became clear that, if anything, I was only making my predicament worse, so I trudged off, all MacGyver-like, in search of something — anything — that I could put to use as tools. I happened upon a pair of three-foot-by-three-foot-by-quarter-inch squares of solid wood which we use as signage and, recognizing by that point that I had little left to lose, grabbed them and put them on the ground directly before the truck’s front wheels in the hopes that I could spin myself onto the boards and give the tires enough of a clear surface to grip onto and gain some forward traction.
The basic premise of my escape plan proved to be structurally sound, even as it devolved into a twenty-five minute push-pull process of inching the vehicle forward in baby steps, and then positioning the boards anew to keep up with the progress. About halfway through this ordeal, I noticed a man sitting in his own pickup truck, maybe two hundred feet away, and watching me. Not talking on the phone, mind you, and not checking his oil or his Twitter, and certainly not offering to help me in any way; no, no, just sitting there with his eyes firmly trained on me, as though he were watching the second act of a brilliantly entertaining action film instead of a brave young man desperately trying to coax his automobile back onto the pavement. And while, to be perfectly fair, I’m not sure what he could feasibly have offered me in the way of concrete assistance, I’m equally unsure if I would have accepted any help the asshole might have offered had he seen fit to actually get off his bee-hind and walk over to where I was; if it’s true — and it is — that I was stupid enough to have gotten myself into such a magnificently ridiculous mess in the first place, I felt obliged to prove — to myself and to my audience of one — that I also was sly enough to hurl myself the hell out of it.
Which, I’m proud to say, I ultimately was, even if it did comprise a maddening half-hour of my life I’ll never, ever get back. Luckily for me, I had Miss Whitney’s uplifting words — originally delivered in her unfortunate crack-is-wack phase, but completely capable of giving me gentle comfort and riveting reassurance all the same — ringing in my ears the entire time, cheering me on. (As for you, my vulturous voyeur: someone — God, Krishna, Allah, somebody — was watching you today too, sir, with every bit as much hungry absorption as you watched me — and I know you were watching me, because you cranked up your truck and sped away the moment you understood that I had made it back to safety, and I refuse to believe that was just a silly coinky-dink — and karma is a savage fire-breathin’ bitch, you rude, inconsiderate, ignorant, useless asswipe.)
(And, to heap insult atop injury: due to some ill-timed clumsiness later in the afternoon yesterday, I nearly ripped my easternmost nipple plumb off my chest in the middle of the Target parking lot. But perhaps that’s a story best saved for a more appropriate occasion….)