The true story of how I met my wife
Part Two—Can You Drive?
I wasn’t dressed for the weather. I wore a suit and tie under my overcoat along with dress shoes, which I felt fit the occasion of an evening out, if not the weather. As I let the car warm up and brushed off the snow, I once again felt it was lunacy to make this trip. The short drive over to Veta’s convinced me: Yes sir, pure lunacy.
The roads hadn’t been plowed or salted. Further, as it seemed that there had been very few emergencies to draw people out onto the roads, there were scarcely any tire tracks that might have offered a little better traction. After swerving and skidding the short quarter-mile to Veta’s place, I was determined to talk her out of going.
I managed somehow to get my car turned around and parked on Veta’s street, Voltarie Crescent. The difficulty required to accomplish that ordinary task had me thinking that I even might not be able to get the car moving again, never mind, drive to Toronto for a play. Maybe Veta’s family would have to put me up.
Veta lived with her parents and a few sisters and bothers, one of whom, Drayson, was coming to the play, too. I thought that Drayson would see the reasonableness of calling off the trip. Once inside, I discovered that both Veta and Drayson were still getting ready. As I sat, waited, and watched the snow continue to fall in the dimming daylight, I wondered why they were bothering.
“It’s really bad out there,” I said, still fighting my losing battle. None of my arguments could sway them from the mad notion of a jaunt off to the big city at night, during a blizzard.
Then Veta popped the question. “Oh, Grant? Can you drive?”
Nice, I thought. “Yes,” I said, giving in. “If I can get the car moving again. And I’ll need to get gas. I only have an eighth of a tank.”
“Sure we can get gas on our way.”
I watched the snow continue to fall as I waited by the front door. I checked my watch and it told me that is was nearly six o’clock. “Is Ann-Marie meeting us here?” I asked towards the back of the house.
“No,” Veta called back. “We’re picking her up.”
Great, I thought. We’ll never get there.
Finally, with the sun setting, we were back in my car. As I let it warm up again, having brushed off the worst of the snow, Veta reminded me of where her friend Ann-Marie lived. I was relieved to learn that her apartment was en route to the highway. That would be the last break I would get.
The thick, heavy snow on the unplowed road combined with the gentle upward grade made it a challenge even to get off Veta and Drayson’s street. Yet, I managed to get us out onto the main road.
“See?” I asked, still trying to make my point about the poor conditions. I was ducking and jabbing like a boxer who doesn’t know he’s already been knocked out. “I told you it was messy.”
“Yeah, but Highway 10 looks clear,” Veta said. She was referring to the road we were on, a main artery and, consequently, one of the first to get plowed and salted.
Just drive, Grant, I told myself. It’s all you can do.
We made the short trip to Ann-Marie’s apartment building without incident and Veta went upstairs to get her. Looking back on events now, if I had know we would have waited nearly half an hour for them to return, I would have gone with Drayson to fill up the tank. We would have been back in plenty of time and the evening would have gone quite differently.
As it was, Drayson and I waited. And waited. I kept checking the time, growing more anxious with every passing minute. I hate being late. On top of that, the tickets for the play clearly stated that latecomers would not be seated until intermission.
Finally, at just about 6:30, the girls hopped into the back of the car.
“Sorry, for taking so long,” said Ann-Marie.
“We’ll have to get gas later,” I said as I turned the car onto the road. “We’re going to be late.”
“That’s right,” Veta said to Ann-Marie. “We have to get gas.”
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18/Mar/2007 – Beginnings, Part Two 2 comments