Mishap at Lover's Lane
This is a cautionary tale of misplaced intentions and ill-gotten love. It is a tale of desire, retribution, and karma.
I grew up in a place surrounded not only by saltwater bays but lakes, rivers and streams. We had a lake right in the town of Bremerton, and many others in the surrounding area.
One of my favorite lakes during my teenage years was Kitsap lake. Wildcat lake was a close second, along with many others like long lake, horseshoe lake, and Mason lake.
The harrowing and educational event I'll recount today happened at Kitsap lake.
A little background.
Growing up, I was always called "sweet" and "cute" by girls. Now, to a teenage boy, these are the things you DO NOT want to hear from girls. At sixteen years old and having never experienced the joy of gliding smoothly past third base and expertly over home plate, it became nearly an all-consuming mission to add this particular experience to the story of my life.
In my vast experience up to that point, which was gained nearly entirely from stories in Playboy and the infamous Penthouse Forum, I had never read the words "cute" or "sweet" before a couple proceeded in the act of consummating an intimate relationship.
Although, I was known for having a big heart and was always outwardly respectful, I also had no filter and a very unreliable moral compass. I mean, I'm the guy who, at fifteen, attended a church sleepover on Summit Avenue and spent the night trying to get into a girl's sleeping bag. But that's another story.
Anyway, back to the story
I think it was late Spring. I'd been in a relationship all winter but things weren't progressing and we argued, although I cannot remember now what our dispute was about. My girlfriend and I were now on hold. I did not understand. I was hurt and angry.
In a short time, I developed a relationship with someone else and had a new girlfriend. At the time, I did not quite understand casual relationships. I had lots of friends that were girls. But I was very inexperienced at developing a relationship for things other than friendship. Oftentimes, my relationships went directly to the puppy love stage. At least I can say that I loved (in my own way) and respected girlfriends. Nonetheless, I did not seem to have a problem moving from one serious relationship to another.
So, on this occasion, I quickly found another girl to go out with. I planned this whole thing out meticulously and just knew that soon, I would be checking another experience off my list on my journey to sexual awareness.
I asked my new girlfriend on a date. Not just any date but a romantic date... at the lake... on the boat ramp... in the dark.
At the end of Kitsap lake there is a boat ramp made of large square cement blocks. At night in late spring a layer of fog envelopes Kitsap lake. If someone drives down the boat ramp far enough, the fog flows over the car completely shielding said vehicle from view.
|My 1965 Buick Skylark looked exactly like the one pictured above.|
It's funny how men will wash their car as preparation for a date. I don't understand now but, at the time, it made perfect sense. Somehow I thought a freshly clean car was important to a date.
So, I pick up my date and drive down Kitsap Way toward the lake. I took the long way around because, for some lizard-brained reason I still cannot fathom, I wanted to drive past my previous girlfriend's house. Of course, I drove slow and put my arm around my date just as we were passing the ex's place.
I turned off the darkened country road onto a winding road that was really not much more than a paved path leading to the boat launch site. The path ahead became completely obscured with fog and there were no street lights to provide guidance. It didn't matter, I had been there before and knew exactly where to go. I could barely make out a dark spot ahead that was the boat ramp, so I turned off my lights and eased forward. My plan was to bring to car to a rolling stop with the front tires in the water. This would put the car low enough that the fog would romantically roll right over us.
The front of the car suddenly gave way, falling out from under us before it was stopped quickly and violently with a solid thud. I feared my car had fallen into the lake. All thoughts of keeping my cool were gone. My date and I exchanged quick frightened glances and I found my arm was no longer over my date's shoulder but firmly gripping the steering wheel with the other hand.
It took me a moment to regain my composure. There was no water coming in through the door sills, that was a good sign. The car was not moving further into the lake, that was a good sign. I hadn't pissed myself, that was a good sign.
I rolled down my window and immediately realized that, even though we had rolled a couple of feet down the boat ramp, the front of the car had fallen into a large hole that use to be the rest of the boat ramp. Somebody had removed the big square concrete blocks.
In the military I learned that it is important to perform an investigation after a mishap or crash. This is not to place blame but to determine underlying causes, whether human or mechanical, so that future issues may be mitigated.
On this evening I learned that critical analysis and problem solving in the male mind is not compatible with the social and emotional complexities of the female mind. This is not to say that women are somehow inferior to men. Rather, just the opposite. Most men lack the capacity to combine analytics with emotions. Refer to the lizard brain mentioned earlier.
Well, of course, my mind goes immediately into problem-solving mode. I thought, "How can I get the car out of the water?"
Suddenly, physics equations start flashing through my mind and the answer became clear. All I needed was some way to get extra weight onto the back of the car to act as a kind of fulcrum. I'm sure it would work. I could gun the gas and, if enough weight were removed from the front of the car, we could back right out of our predicament.
I successfully hid the terror I felt inside and my voice did not crack even once when I told my date, "wait here, I'm gonna go check it out."
I got out of the car and walked around the foggy parking area for something I could use to add weight to the trunk of the car and get us out of our jam. It was then that I saw the pile of big square cement blocks stacked up near the edge of the lot. I figured someone must have removed them to repair or replace the ramp. A little warning would've been nice.
Unsuccessful in my quest, I returned to the car, mentally preparing myself to tell my date we were going to have to walk to get help. As I climbed into the drivers seat, it suddenly dawned on me. The weight I was looking for was sitting right beside me the whole time. A quick redistribution of weight and we'd be right back at the beginning.
My plan was foolproof and all was back on. By the end of the night the only thing I was going to be missing was my virginity. That's when I made another fatal error.
I asked my date to get out and sit on the trunk of the car and told her the added weight might help us back out of the hole that used to be the boat ramp.
Her reaction to my request was not what I was expecting.
Even in the dark, I saw the anger building as her eyes drilled laser holes right through my forehead. I swear, even in the dark, her face developed a faint red glow.
Her anger must've subsided over the course of a few minutes because, without a word, she got out of the car and jumped onto the trunk. I cranked the car up, put the shifter in reverse, and pressed hard on the gas peddle. I tried everything. I varied the amount of gas. I jumped up and down in the seat while stomping on the gas. Nothing worked.
I shut the car off and sat for a moment, succumbing to my defeat. By the time I got out of the car my date had disappeared into the fog. I caught up to her and tried to explain my reasoning but she refused to engage in conversation.
We eventually found some folks in a nearby house that let me use their phone to call my dad. Yes, I know that some of you find this hard to believe but there was a time when the cell phone, as we know it today, did not exist. One had to physically operate a series of buttons or turn a rotary dial in order to make a phone call.
With my dad on his way, we walked back to the entrance road of the boat ramp. Still not a word was spoken for the entire thirty minute wait for my dad. When my dad pulled the truck to a stop to pick us up, reflecting back at us in the glare of his headlights was a huge sign indicating the boat ramp was closed for repairs. Funny how I didn't see that earlier.
My dad must have sensed the tension and also didn't say a word while he hooked up chains to the back of my car and pulled it from the lake. He brought my date home while I drove my car home alone to await his arrival and possible scorn.
My dad had a big heart too and, although he did snicker occasionally at my folly, we had a talk that night. He convinced me that I would have to apologize even if I hadn't done anything wrong, and even if I was not going to continue to pursue a relationship with this girl. "It's the right thing to do," he said.
So, I learned that evening that one must not allow desires to overtake thinking. It was a good lesson. Did I always follow this lesson, likely not, but that's another story too.
Photo Credits: splat-osphere, northwesternfishingreports, autowizard