Posted by: tlnemethy | May 13, 2012

Looking For Alaska, and Finding It.

“I’m concussed.” These words have always stuck with me. At least since the spring of 2005 when I stumbled across an amazing young adult novel titled, “Looking for Alaska.” John Green, the first time writer, knocked my socks off with his touching portrayal of youthful romance and emotional development. I read it at a cabin in northern New Hampshire, playing my antisocial card and avoiding most human contact to finish it in one night. I cried openly about three quarters of the way through and it also taught me the phrase, “patriarchal paradigms.” I still think about that novel a few times a year and would reread it as often as I could.

I wasn’t really sure I was still looking for my own Alaska until last night, when I found it. I went out with the Texans again, to the same mud hole where I wound up across the truck cab wedged under the dash. The Punisher was rip-roaring last night. Now, first of all, you have to understand the lingo of these Texans. They asked if I was delta. Judging from their other weird slang, I’ve learned to decode a few things. Delta apparently means anything that starts with a D. In this case, delta was driving. We decided to go “brody,” now this spelling is as close as I can guess for the weird terminology that I can only imagine is a mashup of “busting rodeos.” Basically, we were gonna do donuts and burnouts before jumping the mud ditch of death. I’d always heard it as “whipping shitties.”

They were gracious enough to let me drive, though I had forgotten how, ahem, rustic their vehicle was. Some kind of metal pliers acted as the inner door handle and they were so awkward to handle I made Nick latch it for me. There was also a little bit of plastic that had to be shoved behind the headlight pull stick or it would just pop right back in and we’d be driving blind. They are very creative with their fixes, I’ll tell you that.

Now, the formula for whipping the proper shittie is as follows: Crank the steering wheel all the way to one direction, then send it back a quarter turn. Slam on the gas, wait for the spin and straighten out before you run off the road or into a fence. I whipped a few then they determined I had enough experience to try a classic figure eight. Basically the same directions as the shittie, but once the vehicle straightens out a bit you crank the wheel all the way in the opposite direction. Gravel was flying behind the Punisher that night.

The Texans upgraded my badass status from a buckaroo to a cowgirl that night. I’m just hauling ass up that hierarchy, let me tell you. I passed the wheel over and everyone else took a turn at the wheel. My palms were on the ceiling again, no one can tell me I’m not learning a thing or two here. On the final pass, one of the Texans decided to ram the Punisher into reverse. Apparently he thought we were farther on the trail because where we were was not the best place for reversing, especially not at full throttle. I had a brief oh shit moment as he hit reverse and the next thing I knew my head snapped back against something and the Punisher was tail end in a ditch.

The force of impact was enough to blow their cowboy hats off, and even my own was behind the seat. I consider that pretty impressive because a baseball hat is normally pretty stationary, but with a pony tail through it, its damn near impossible to remove. That shit was gone. I blinked my eyes and immediately said, “I think I’m concussed.” Texan number one crinkled his hat while Texan number two looked like he’d gotten into a bar brawl. His eyelid was a complete blood blister from bashing it against, what I can only assume was, the steering wheel.

The rear bumper of the truck looks like a tin can peeled with a can opener, the drivers side door will no longer stay closed, the exhaust is completely gone, and halfway home the windshield wipers decided to halt their slow progress in mid wipe, completely obscuring what little visibility was provided. The Punisher crawled from the ditch and she seemed to be a tad beaten as we made our way to the lodge. Upon arrival I noticed a decent sized fight bite on my right hand. I imagine it was created during that brief oh shit moment in which I tried to save my life, but honestly have no recollection of moving that hand at all. Concussed, maybe not, but whiplash might not be too far-fetched.


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