Wrong Side of The Tracks

i enjoyed a delightful surprise this week – an old friend tracked me down and invited me to a birthday party for her amazing mother!  Logistics for the party – pulled together on remarkably short notice – changed a few times, but the final venue was at the house of friends in a rural village about 60 miles from my home.

Arrived around 7pm.  It was a blast – old friends, new friends and after a gentle arm twist* (and the appearance of a borrowed guitar), an old fashioned hippie sing along!  Tremendous fun, and i stayed much later than i had planned.

Leaving shortly after midnight, i plugged in the iPod for the drive home, listening to the soundtrack of my current show in an attempt to learn the music.  Tooling along rural roads, singing loudly late at night, it was a good drive and i was still jazzed from the great party.  As i meandered through a small town, attempting to follow signage to get me back to the interstate, i followed a ramp across railroad tracks on a dark stretch of road.

My car slammed across the tracks, and i quickly realized that i’d turned too far to the right on the ramp and had managed to land squarely atop an active set of railroad tracks.  Slammed it into reverse, left front tire spinning (fuck the front wheel drive…).  Immediately realized that i was stuck, had the iPod off, flashers on and was out of the car looking for trains while dialing for emergency help…  Not the most pleasant 10 seconds of my life, to be sure.

Speaking with the dispatcher, he notified local police of the situation and hung up to contact the railroad to stop any inbound trains.  Comforting to a degree, but it was dark, no traffic around and my fucking car was dangling on train tracks.  It was perhaps only two minutes before the police car arrived – two “kids” who looked no more than 15 years old, swimming in their uniforms.  Flashing lights made me feel even a little better.

They took a quick look at the automotive predicament, and after a futile attempt to dislodge the car, decided we’d need a tow truck.  “Fuck.  Gonna take awhile…” ran through my head.  i mentioned that i’m normally a pretty decent driver… and they calmly said “Oh, this happens here about once a month…”.

While one of the young officers went back to the cruiser to call for additional help, a large truck pulls up behind us.  Out pops a middle-aged man and his scrawny 14 year old son.  Just out and about at 1am on a Friday night.  Offered to hook up their tow strap to see if they could pull me off the tracks.

No more than two minutes later, the car was cleared, the tires were miraculously unflattened, i shook their hands and thanked them saying “i LOVE this state!” and was on my way home.  Total time elapsed from getting hung up on the railroad tracks to being back on my way?  About 15 minutes.  Wow…  Workin’ men rock!

Save me, SAVE ME!

Save me, SAVE ME!

* “daisyfae, meant to ask you to bring your guitar… if we can find one for you, will you play?”  “Oh, no i really couldn’t, i’m terribly out of practice… so what do you want to hear?  i’m taking requests! Enjoy the show, ladies and gentlemen!  Try the grilled shrimp, and be sure to tip your waitress…”

19 thoughts on “Wrong Side of The Tracks

  1. Did you play Michael Row the Boat Ashore? Never mind – don’t tell me because in my imagination, you did. And it was a round.
    Glad you and the car survived the trip back.

  2. Wouldn’t it be great if every place in America were like rural America? I know it’s sort of like the ’50’s and very Mayberry-ish but, compared to modern times, I think it’s so much better.

    Glad to hear your incident was resolved in short order and with no residual vehicular or other damage.

    Do you have a GPS?

  3. I live in a place like that, and I remind myself about stories like the one you just told when I’m getting overwhelmed with Bucolia.

    Good folks! Glad it had a happy ending. You’ll have to post a video clip of the jam sometime…

  4. It’s great to be saved in a predicament! I remember wandering the streets on London early one morning after a night of raving, lost and dying of thirst. Three wise men approached and offered me cold beer! Whoa!

  5. always nice to have helpful neighbors! i was a little nervous reading the post… glad you made it out ok and that all that could have gone wrong, didn’t!

  6. mstng – no, but there were enough small kids there (tie-dye wearing, of course) that we did “row, row, row your boat” and “itsy bitsy spider” as rounds… no video/audio recordings allowed (thankfuckinggod)

    rob – “Mayberry-ish”, except that i’m kinda curious what dad and junior were doing tooling around at 1am… And surprisingly, i DO NOT have GPS. yet. i’ve gotten so good at navigating strange towns with just largeprint notes, held on the steering wheel, that i haven’t bothered…

    tigereyesal – yeah. that’s what i was thinking…

    unbearable banishment – in hind sight? i wasn’t going to be IN the car. i was out, and at distance in a flash. but i hate that particular shitmobile, and if it wouldn’t have potentially caused a train derailment, toxic cloud, haz-mat clean up? i could have considered leaving it on the tracks, grabbing a brew, and watching the fireworks…

    calicozi – it really was pretty cool just how fast it was resolved. barely had time to freak out (beyond the initial ‘oh shit’). as i mentioned above, no video/audio. but it was fun to sing the old CSNY, Joni Mitchell and America tunes again…

    jimmy – they were there quick, and had those pretty flashing lights going, so i wasn’t gonna complain that they couldn’t lift my car… and i’m generally not one to run about screaming… unless there be spiders, then all bets are off…

    Bb – if someone had shown up with a drink or two shortly afterwards? that’d have been a perfect rescue!

    nursemyra – apparently they had already done some paving to try to make it better. design flaw… the right turn to the ramp goes off at about 10 degrees from the main road. to land across the railroad tracks (which are at an angle to the road) you just need to be about 15-20 degrees off… a bigass streetlight wouldn’t be a bad idea…

    silverstar – sometimes i’ll take boring! funny thing, though. just as i was doing the ‘handshake, thanks and goodnight’ thing, there was another call on the radio – someone had driven through the front of a local ice cream place… busy friday night in small town america!

    daisymae – it was cool. worst case scenario was a train derailment due to hitting my shitmobile. if the car were vaporized by an alien spaceship today, i wouldn’t miss it…

  7. If I had been there with my pickup to pull you off the tracks, you would have had to pay, and by pay I mean vile and dirty sex.

  8. @renalfailure – oh, i do those with MY friends… far too often, i’m afraid…

    @archie – thankful that no one asked for jebus songs… my fingers catch fire and lightning rains from the sky when i attempt such things…

    @dolce – HI! Glad you’re alive again! Hope the massivefuckingprojectfromhell went well and that you’ve recovered!

    @uncle keith – so the whole thing would have taken 16 minutes?

  9. wow!!! i know that had to have freaked you out!! i wonder if it happens there at least once a month why it isn’t marked,, or blocked off or something that will make it not happen there once a month!!!

    just glad to know both you and your ride are safe and sound.

  10. uncle keith – i might have dragged it out a few extra minutes, just to annoy the police…

    paisley – gotta admit, it was a rather unpleasant couple of minutes until i had on-site assistance. dark. knowing that the regional rail in that area is busy, busy, busy at night (i’d gotten stuck at a crossing on my way to the party). cops said there had been mods to the intersection to make it better, but that it still needed work… my thought was just better lighting would help considerably….

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