This is Part II in a series on my Invasion of Canada. You can read the first part here.
Part II The Phone Call
Picture this, it’s now about 3 am. I’m asleep in my loft in the college dorm, snoozing after a long night of studying. The phone rings. It’s my friend, Bob.
Bob: “Carol? Is that you? Are you there?”
Carol “What time is it? Am I awake? Do I even know anybody named ‘Bob’?”
Bob: “Carol, I need your help. I’m in jail. We’re in jail…we’re all in…”
Carol: “Jail? Isn’t that the place they put criminals? Do I know you? Are you sure you don’t have the wrong number?”
Bob: “Carol, WAKE UP. We need your help. Me and all of the guys from WNTC got busted up at the border. We tried to buy some music for the station and they nabbed us at the crossing back into Messina.”
Carol: “Um….” (Rubs eyes and makes groggy noises like she’s starting to wake up.)
Bob: “Carol, listen carefully. I only get one phone call. I need you to go break into my house…”
Carol: “You want me to break into your house? What? Is this some kind of a bad dream? Do I need to roll over or something? How can I break into your house?”
Bob: “Carol, listen carefully. That’s why I called you. I figured you’d know how to do it. You of all people would know how to break into my house. You’re from New York City…”
Carol: (thinking, “gee, thanks for that vote of confidence”) “Um, well, yeah, but…”
Bob: “Break into my house, and get my ATM card. It’s on the dresser in my bedroom. Then find my truck. It’s a green truck, parked outside, in the driveway. It has a hide-a-key in the front, under the front license plate. Take the key, take the truck, go to the ATM machine, get $500 from my account, and drive up to Cornwall, Ontario. We’re in the jail near the center of town.”
Carol: “You want me to break into your house, steal your ATM card, steal your truck, get money from your bank account, drive up to Canada and bail you out of jail? It’s 3 o’clock in the freaking morning? Are you people nuts? I’m going to end up in jail right next to you.”
Bob: “Carol, do it! Please, we’re all counting on you. We’ll be stuck here if we can’t make bail.”
Part III The Hide-a-Key Reveals More Than I Bargained For
Ok, so now that I’ve set the stage a bit, you can probably imagine what happens next. I woke up (Oh the horror!) dragged my cold, sleepy butt over to Bob’s house, broke in though an “open” back window (I hate to admit it, but he was right. Being from NYC does have its advantages. Sometimes.) Got his ATM card, walked to the bank (there was an ATM machine not far from the house he was renting) and then went hunting for the key. I found the big green truck in his driveway and popped my head down under the front license plate. The magnet for the hide-a-key was there and I had to fight with it a bit to get it out (it was cold and I could not quite grab it easily.) I finally liberated the key, and then climbed into the old, big green truck.
The truck itself was some kind of a 4×4 like truck, what we would now call an “SUV.” It was bigger than any vehicle I had driven before, old, rusted in spots, and clunky looking, but these were the least of my worries. After I climbed into the truck, and fumbled for the ignition, that’s when I noticed it. The big stick shift on the floor, staring back up at me. “Damn!” I thought, “I don’t know how to drive a stick shift. What am I going to do now?” My mind started racing, trying to think of what to do. I was in engineering school, I thought, a car’s a car, I should be able to drive this one too. I know how to drive, I kept telling myself that. I should know how to do this. Everybody has to learn somehow. Besides, how much harm could I possibly cause? It’s just an extra pedal, right? And a silly little gear lever. I’m not going to wake anybody else up. I can do this. I’m going to do this.
I can do this. I can do this. I kept telling myself. And I couldn’t.
(to be continued.)
Next, I’ll tell you what happened to me at the border.
Until next time…
Oh. My. God. I can’t drive a stick either.