Fridays With Dale: Riding Shotgun

Dale Angel

Riding Shotgun

by Dale Angel

I was riding shotgun with sweaty teenagers who have all bathed in hormones and after shave; the current trendy kind called “Leather Straps” …. I’m having second thoughts, undermining my self-confidence, while trying to do chaperoning ….I mean damage control.

Looking into the windows as we drive past, I see their parents watching TV and lifting pie a la mode to their lips. …. That should have been a red flag.

Some people have selective emotional distresses that prevent their presence at their children’s educational activities but never interfere with adult trips, adult parties or fun voyages. I was slow.  Today there are pills to replace loss of coping skills. However Gin and Vodka is still used for this malady and of course….. that other medicine.

I actually volunteered to accept responsibility for an educational event in San Francisco. There were seven in my Chevy station wagon. They had taken driving instruction that semester and their attention paid to my lack of ability to drive was running high. All were experts. They did have some valid criticisms. As we sped across the Bay Bridge every few feet were signs warning of the fines levied for running out of gas. And…I was out of gas! We glided over on imagination; there’s a reason for that gas station at the end of the bridge.

It is getting foggy and I don’t have a clue where our rooms are. I go up and down, hill after hill so steep I thought I was on a ski slope and entered intersections blind; the fog was so thick I couldn’t see the stop light until I was part way through. Inside the car someone was elbowing, some were boxing each other, others were mad and teary, and some had the giggles. The confusion increased as the fog got worse and we went up and up more hills, I felt bumps and more bumps. I had adrenaline problems myself, kids were hitting the roof with their heads. I stopped and asked someone to get out and see what the problem was.

We were in a grave yard driving over grave stones. The screaming shouts of laughter were bouncing off monoliths as big as houses. I backed up and had to drive across more to find our way to a street. Oh lord, I need to get out of town before they catch me! It’s dangerous to take extra kids when you are under-staffed. I was so inexperienced I thought you could reason with these strangers. They lost their hearing.

There are things worse, like the next day trying to keep us together moving through thousands with little cooperation in my group. Sam went for refreshments.  Working his way through the crowd a beautiful little doll was trailing behind him with perfect teeth. She sat next to him. Where is her mother! He was addled the rest of the trip. This budding romance lasted for a year through the mail. Their next meeting he came running across the field flung himself under the bleachers and said “She’s here! She’s big as a Mack truck”, she clung to her mother and sobbed “He’s a little shrimp”…he was a late bloomer.

After everyone was in bed, I checked for damage control and picked up wet towels, cleaned up messes, someone had left their swim suit on the floor. When I picked it up, part of the floor came with it; it looked like the floor had been recently shellacked.

It was early a.m. Our hostess grabbed me by the hand and began telling me about Jesus Christ keeping her up all night talking to her.

Thank God, we are on our way home with no casualties when a fight erupted in the back seat.

Linda was eating a banana, Steve helped by pushing it in her face. There was hand to hand combat taking place inside the car as I tried to keep in our lane going over The Golden Gate Bridge.

I appreciate this education but I like pie Ala Mode better. I still got scars; be careful what you volunteer for. Riding Shot Gun can be detrimental to your health.


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