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November 22, 2008

Mind the Ditch

Last night I was initiated into island life. I drove into a ditch. Just think of the leaf as my car. Stuck. Not really meant to be there. I mean, you're not a true islander if you've never driven into a ditch. Now, I admit, that makes it sound a lot more dramatic than it was. It's not as if imitating a move from the latest James Bond movie Quantum Solace or Quantum Leap or whatever, I came around a sharp corner, went airborne and when I landed I was in a ditch. No. Thank God. That wasn't it.

I was going to hear a noted biologist, pilot, ecologist David Hancock, speak and show his slides of eagles. You must check out the live webcams on his site.

They always hold talks here at churches or wherever they can rent space. This church isn't too far up the road from me. It's the home base for Christian the Born Again christian. It's pitch black. It's raining. And, a lot of people are headed toward the talk trying to get into the gravel driveway of the church parking lot. In order to get off the road to let the cars behind me go on their way, I decided I'd just pull into the driveway beside where the other car was pulling in. Unfortunately, I didn't know the driveway had stopped about three feet from me. No driveway. Only ditch. Apparently Community Gospel is run by Scottish people. Too cheap to even put in reflectors on the side of the driveway to alert innocent city folk to stay out of the ditch.

Luckily, I wasn't moving very fast at all and at first when the car headed down into the ditch I was totally confused. What the hell's going on. I felt like I was on an amusement ride. Sharon (my sub-land lady) had warned me that during her first year here she had driven into a ditch more than once. When she said that I thought, Well I'm not going to do THAT! She must be a lousy driver I thought as I would in my usual nonjudgmental manner. Apparently, it has nothing to do with your driving ability. Ya. I would say that now. It does has something to do with eyesight. I've never been very good at driving on dark, rainy nights. And I mean pitch black. There are no streetlights here.

But, the great thing about these little places is that when the talk begins, the announcement gets made that someone (silly idiot) has driven into a ditch and if anyone can help, meet at the cookie plate after the talk. So, I left the flashers on, grabbed a cookie (of course) and just enjoyed a great talk with amazing photos of eagles all the while hoping nobody would crash into my car because the back end was aligned with the edge of the road.

Luckily, there were two guys. One named Phil with an Australian accent and cute. And one named Brian. Phil had the four-wheel drive. Brian had the rope. Actually, I'd already met Brian at Thanksgiving at Pauline's place. The beauty of small towns. BCAA? Who needs it here?

And, apparently driving into ditches here is about as common as, well, deer! Even if you're sober, it's a definite possibility. I don't think the car was even damaged because luckily it was a rather shallow ditch that had no water in it.

You might say it was the best case scenario for driving into a ditch. Driving into ditch 101 so to speak. And I passed.

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