U-Turn

I remember the first time I was introduced to having to do a U-turn in a car. I was something like 7 years old or younger at the time and was driving around in the car with my mother. We were  jamming to 97.9. The Loop. Specifically Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” We were singing along. She broke away from the magic to say, “What am I doing? I went too far. I gotta flip a bitch.” For some reason, in my 7 year old brain, that was burned into my memory. Imagine a stock market atmosphere filled with clones of me running around like mad men. They’re all running around with stacks of paper and frantically tossing them into the air for no good reason. That’s what was going on in my head until one of my identical twins ran up to a giant over-sized chalkboard and wrote FLIP A BITCH on it. I would forever keep that with me as a ‘saying that people use.’

Flash forward to my freshman year of college. I was headed back to school in Champaign with a friend after coming home  for the weekend. He was driving and said he had a shortcut. Word to the wise. If anyone ever says they know a shortcut. Get out of the car. I don’t care if the car’s moving. Just. Jump. Out. However, I didn’t do that. I stayed in the car. A navy Jeep Cherokee.  Now to paint the picture for you, this drive is entirely a rural atmosphere. Nothing but pure darkness on a country road surrounded by grass. There wasn’t a car for miles. A normal 2.5 hour drive became 3 hours. Then, 3.5 hours. The last exit was 5 miles back. Another half an hour went by when I was about to speak up. He beat me to it and said, “I have no idea where we are.” I replied, “I knew it. I didn’t wanna say anything. Why didn’t you just stop.” He nervously replied, “I was waiting for the next town. We’re going to have to flip around and go back.” As he started to turn the car around, the red and blue lights flashed behind us. Where this trooper came from I’ll never know because there was no one in front of us or behind us at any point during this so-called shortcut. The cop looked like a tough Rick Moranis. Skip past the normal license and registration routine and right to the million dollar question.

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” he asked. Before we could reply, he answered his own question with, “You can’t make a U-turn in the the middle of the road.” We explained that we had no idea where we were and that we were trying to turn back around. Disregarding what we said, tough Rick Moranis looked off into the cold dead night, motioned his arm into the distance and said, “There isn’t a town in that direction.” THERE ISN’T A TOWN IN THAT DIRECTION? Where the hell was this guy from? I felt like we were talking to someone who still believed the world was flat. As if we kept driving we would have fell right off the Earth. “I’m going to have to write you a warning for this” he justified. He then wrote the whole thing out (literally filled out a formal piece of paper that said warning on it) and handed it back to my friend. The whole process was an additional 20 minutes. We frantically asked, “where should we go? How do we get back?” While walking back to his car, he nonchalantly replied, “FLIP A BITCH.”

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