Over Memorial day weekend, I went to the beach with the family, which, of course, includes the 9-year-old Hurricane boy and 10-year-old Princess girl. We frolicked in the ocean, if it is possible for me to do such a thing as frolic, for several hours.
This excessive exercise — excessive exercise, by definition, being any amount of exercise that requires more than three steps or movement by more than two limbs — leads to a hearty appetite.
The Hurricane opined we should go to the local ice cream store to build back up our energy reserves. The Princess wholeheartedly agreed. I would have protested, but I could not bear to have seen the disappointment on their precious faces and, besides, I’d steamroll Mother Teresa for a Blue Bell vanilla ice cream cone.
We scurried to my trusty Ford F-150 truck and the fun began.
My wife had driven the truck without my knowledge, so the seat was pulled up such that my left leg fit comfortably behind my right shoulder. I was fiddling with the electric back-the-seat-up switch, listening to the kids bicker and act like they usually do, when a pile of about 10 people spilled into the parking deck driving lane where I intended to back said trusty Ford F-150.
They were your typical family bunch, floats under one arm, Daddy pulling a cooler with tattoos from here to there, and several kids running around like someone just set their rear ends on fire. They were far enough back that if I quickly backed out into the opening I would not have to wait for them all to waddle past my truck before backing out. And we all know I was going to get a Blue Bell ice cream cone at $4.95 and I had no time to waste.
So, I continued to electric maneuver my seat back, discuss with the Hurricane why dolphins don’t have ears but can still hear pretty good, and watch the family of 10, which had now grown to 15 as other stragglers showed up, all the while sharply turning the wheel right to avoid running over the family matriarch, which, judging by her size, might have totaled said Ford F-150 truck.
In an instant my truck came to a complete stop, which would not have disturbed me except my foot was not on the brake and it was still on the gas. For a brief moment I feared I had struck the matriarch, but then noticed she was staring at me with head turned like a confused dog, so I scratched that from possible explanations.
I looked quickly to my left and noticed, quite disturbingly, in retrospect, that my left driver’s side mirror no longer existed because a giant pole was where the mirror used to be. I have no idea what fool put a such a thing in the way of my parking lot back-up, but I had no choice but to pull forward. I looked out my window at my mirror, which now sat some 20 feet away on the ground, completely torn from my wounded Ford F-150 truck.
Now, there is no way to gracefully exist a Ford F-150 truck with 15 wide-eyed strangers staring at me in disbelief as the Hurricane roared with laughter and the Princess kept saying, “Did we hit something Daddy?” I took the high road. I existed, walked over to the mirror, tossed it in the back of the truck, looked over at the crowd of gawkers and said with a smile, “I never did much care for that mirror. Nice day for the beach, huh?”
We then sped out of the parking lot to get the before mentioned important Blue Bell ice cream, which, by my estimate now, cost $2,000 per cone. The family of 15 huddled together in the garage lot, not sure whether to call the police or the psyche ward.
All I know is one can now park my truck much closer to any object and I am not bothered by what is approaching on the driver’s side, as I can’t see it anymore.
The kids, however, are delighted as they recount what they refer to as “a T. Gamble special,” which I think is an endearing term for things I do from time to time like that.
Email columnist T. Gamble at email@example.com.