Thursday, October 20, 2011

Up That...Hill

My friend Sherrie and I were always ready for adventure. We met while I was a student at RPI and she at Radford. We stayed in touch off and on and after school we both ended up working at Miller & Rhoads and sharing an apartment, the Cave, on Park Avenue near campus.

This night the Four Tops were performing at a very small club on the north side of Richmond. We really wanted to see them and decided that it was worth paying our own way, since neither of us had a date, to go.

And then we decided to up the ante. We recently had a spontaneous photo shoot (thanks to store photo pal, Ed Booth) with Troy Donahue when he visited M&R and we were on a mission to add to our celebrity photo wall. I had a Polaroid camera loaner with free film since I was a Polaroid Camera Girl and so we plotted to be press looking for an interview. Like I said, the club was really tiny so in hindsight our scheme was probably completely unnecessary, we could have gotten a picture just about anytime that evening, but we forged ahead with our grand plan, sold our story to the club manager (surely he didn't believe us nevertheless he played along) and got our pre-show picture. Before we headed downstairs to our table, Sherrie asked a few questions to make us legit all the while jotting answers down on her note pad (we were prepared). Crazy girls!

But probably my craziest memory of an antic with Sherrie is the time she decided that she had to go home. Her folks lived in Williamsburg and one night she pops into my room and says that she has to talk to her mom, right away. She had already borrowed a car from Mike Stull who lived upstairs and was the only person in the entire building that even had a car. She begged me to go with her since she couldn't go without someone to drive (I don't remember why she did not have her license but she didn't). We both had to work the next day but she assured me that we'd be back in time. I told her that I didn't know how to drive a straight stick. She said that she would shift gears while I drove. Never one to dampen an adventure, off we went.

The next morning I'm feeling more confident about my driving after I realize that first gear is the only nasty one to master and so I do all the driving including gear shifting myself on our return trip to Richmond. This is no interstate days and our approach to home and work is up Broad Street Hill with a left turn at 8th. Well it so happens that the turn is at the crest of the hill and I just catch a red light. So not only am I on a steep hill, I am the first car in line. The light changes, we even have an arrow, so my only concern is going forward but I can't do it. I am convinced that we will roll back into the car behind us. Mike will kill me if I do anything to his car. It's not new but he hovers over it. I still cannot believe that he let Sherrie borrow it. I stall the car again and again and finally we lose the light. It's rush hour, everyone coming from the east uses this turn to get to work in downtown Richmond. The next light cycle I still mangle every attempt, drivers at this point are going around me, honking, pretty mad.

We go through I don't care to say how many light cycles and I still cannot get the car in gear and going forward. I won't let Sherrie help, it's a steep hill, I know we'll roll all the way to the bottom taking numerous cars with us. Finally the guy behind me gets out of his car and comes up to us asking (nicely) what the problem is. He listens and says that he will drive the car through the intersection for me. Then I think that it dawns on him this plan leaves his car unattended, or worse attended by me. He changes his mind. He tells me to just let my car roll back into his, it will be fine. Really. I look back at his car. It's a real car, like a Chrysler or something. What can a little Dodge Dart do to that? I trust him. Really. The next time we have the light, I gear up and shoot through the intersection, not rolling back at all.

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