DRIVING ALL NIGHT, THEN ALL DAY

Back in college, my housemate Micki had a tall boyfriend and a VW bug. Her boyfriend’s best friend had rich parents and a hunting lodge on a lake in the Adirondacks. One Friday evening, Micki and her beau grabbed me and said “We’re going to the lake. Come on.”

I didn’t have any plans, so we climbed into the bug and headed north. No one had any money. I don’t mean we didn’t have a lot of money. We didn’t have any money. I didn’t own a wallet or a driver’s license. Or an official ID. You didn’t need it in those days. Hard to believe, but it was normal to walk around with no money or ID. No cell phones (what’s a cell phone?). I suppose some women carried makeup and stuff, but not me.

1960_volkswagen_beetle

Odd girl out, I sat in the back behind the very tall driver folded like a pretzel. Along the way, we got hungry but lacking money, we didn’t eat. It was a long drive from Long Island to the top of the Adirondacks.Β The car got hungry too and unlike people, it couldn’t wait. So we saved fuel by coasting down mountains, restarting the engine to go uphill.

We got to the house on the lake just after dawn. It was beautiful, mist rising on the lake. We were exhausted. So was the bug having made the journey on fumes. No rest for the weary. The sun was up. We had to be sociable.

It was some house. Huge, more like a hotel. I wondered what their regular house looked like. Wooden steps led down to a dock and boat. I met Micki’s boyfriend’s friend. We sort of hung out. He made a half-hearted attempt to neck with me, but my disinterest was obvious and he gave up.

After sex was taken off our dance card, he walked me to the lake for a swim. I had borrowed someone’s bathing suit. He dove off the dock. When he surfaced, I called to him. “How is it?”

75-TwilightWebsterLake-3

“Not bad,” he said. So I dove in too and my heart almost stopped. That water was as close to ice as I’ve ever experienced. I thought I was going to die, and porpoise-like leapt back onto the dock, a feat I’ve never matched since.

“What do you mean by ‘not bad'” I squawked.

“It can be a lot colder,” he assured me. We sat for a while on the dock. There were a lot of round holes in the wood.

“What are those holes?”

“Bullet holes,” he said.

“Bullet holes?”

“I shoot the spiders,” he said. “With the rifle.” I hadn’t noticed it, but there it was. Probably for target shooting. But … shoot at spiders? That’s when the biggest spider I’ve ever seen ambled onto the dock. It was the size of my hand … maybe bigger. Black. Furry.

He grabbed the rifle and shot it.

That did it for me. I found Micki, told her to saddle up. We were going home. The two of us begged and borrowed gasoline money and leaving her boyfriend at the lake, headed home. We hadn’t slept in days. I didn’t drive, but Micki was okay as long as I kept poking her to keep her awake.

It was most spontaneous life would ever be for me. Living with Micki was full of surprises. She was a terrible roomie. Never had the rent, ate all my food, borrowed my stuff, never returned anything. And she was the most fun of anyone with whom I ever shared space.



Categories: Friendship, Humor, Nature, Personal

Tags: , , , , , , ,

28 replies

  1. What a wonderful memory. It seemed so vivid, I felt the cold of the water!

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  2. Really enjoyed this. But those spiders? Yikes!

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  3. Excellent story. The pacing, the characterization of everyone involved, all of it. I’m glad you are determined to “get it right” at yeah write. So did you guys not eat for two days?

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  4. our bug was bright yellow! This was a great story… does everyone have at least one of these moments? I hope so!

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  5. oh my I adored every bit of this. every bit. such great story telling. I felt like I was right there with you in the back seat, in the ice water, on the hole-infested-soon-to-be-gigantic-spider-infested dock.

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  6. ha ha i wasn’t expecting that at the end there. The rifle and the comment about your room mate. Good times. πŸ™‚

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  7. What a fun story! Ahhh, the hated-but-loved roommates! And spiders big enough to shoot? Scary just thinking about it!

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  8. Wow, you brought back a memory of driving to NYC and back with three friends and not a dime…..I remember pulling up the floormats and finding 2 dollars in change. The two gallons of gas got us home!

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    • Those really WERE the good old days πŸ™‚ Gas was like 30 cents a gallon then … and we didn’t have a dollar between the three of us. Credit card? Huh? And we didn’t feel deprived. Being poor was part of student life. It was a creative challenge, figuring out how to do stuff on zero money πŸ™‚

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  9. You had a nice trip. This VW is a duplicate to one my best friend got for college. I attempted to learn standard shift with this car – but I ended up making it look like a blue frog taking leaps down the street.

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    • I thnk this was the MOST popular car when I was at college. The only reason I didn’t drive one is that I didn’t yet drive. Oddly, it was the first car my son drove 20 years or so later.

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  10. oh yes. The ‘real’ beetles. Not the dressy ones they have now. We went to a Pete Seeger concert at the University one vicious winter night, my bf’s VW had no defroster (and damn little heat) so he borrowed his Mom’s vacuum cleaner hose and rigged it up for a defroster and we drove through the mother of all blizzards for 40 miles to hear Pete Seeger. I got to work the defroster. Never thought a thing about it. To get even, I married the man. Im still getting even.

    Think I’ve seen those spiders around here. The insect folks tell me they dont exist, but when you see it trying to fist fight your dog…

    That is. btw, a great (if harrowing) story, Marilyn, and suitable for framing. Truly.

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    • Water spiders. They are NOT an urban (rural??) legend. They live in drains and under docks in the north. The absolutely total nightmare for me. I am scared of stupid little garden spiders, so when Mighty Joe Spider showed up, I was done. Ah, college days!

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  11. I remember Micki well. She was an early version of Kiki!

    Sent from my iPhone

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  12. Slug bug BLUE! πŸ˜‰

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