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Way More Fun Than Watching “Red Asphalt”

, , , , , , , , | Related | May 17, 2022

Most people’s first experiences with learning to drive involve an instructor and paid lessons. To fully complete your learner’s Log Book, when I was learning to drive, it was mandatory to have a certain number of hours spent with an official driving instructor and they encouraged you by having those hours count for double — one hour with an instructor became two on paper.

My brother and I, along with two of our extended family friend’s kids had a very different introduction to driver’s education. My parents own forty acres of rural Australian property — bushland, lots of trees, and paddocks. Dad had created a dirt bike track several years prior for us to ride our motorbikes on, and with a little tweaking, he turned it into a decent track a car could run on. It was all dirt and grass winding through trees, zigzagging across the paddocks, and joining into the near-half-kilometer long driveway.

Dad’s old Nimbus was to become our chariot of learning, and I’ll let you know right now that that thing was a beast. It took all the abuse that a young, inexperienced driver can inflict on a car and more. My brother even managed to flip the thing once on accident, and besides a dent in the roof (easily panel-beaten back to normal), the car was unaffected by the ordeal.

Our dad (and our friend’s dad when visiting) were our unofficial instructors, and under their tutorage, we learnt the basic fundamentals of car operation and maintenance.

One day, about two and a half years into this expedition of discovery, our dads decided to give us each a whirl at a “test conditions” run around the track. This was very exciting and a little daunting to us older kids because our real learner’s tests were looming close. They organised amongst themselves a checklist of sorts for what we needed to accomplish during the “test”: reversing, turn signals, parking, and a few other things they set up the course to accommodate.

And because we are Aussies and it was private property, beer was also involved. Not for us kids, of course — oh, no, that would have been a trainwreck of bad decisions! No, our friend’s dad decided to hold a freshly opened bottle of beer for each of our runs and implemented an additional ruling of “if you spill too much beer, you fail.” I’m pretty sure it was to drill into us that how we drive is just as important as following the general rules of the road… or something similar. Looking back, I realise that this strange addition actually added a thin layer of anxiety to the “test” and made us more aware of how our driving affected passengers’ comfort and wellbeing, making it feel a touch more realistic.

I don’t recall the order we went in, but I do remember that the youngest family friend’s kid went last. Let’s call him Callum.

The first three runs went quite well; no trees or safety-cone “people” were struck, and aside from a few minor mistakes with parking and forgetting a turn signal here and there, we were racking up a nice string of “passed” results. We were all in the car for each person’s run (to create a realistic, mildly distracting environment for our years ahead as young drivers) so we were all witness to one another’s successes and failings. Then, it was Callum’s turn.

Callum’s overall run was good, as well, although he did manage to hit a stump at one point that was previously hidden off to the side of the track while taking a turn too wide. Aside from that, he was going great! Soon, the final straight stretch and hairpin turn to the finish line were in sight: we were all going to pass!

But this story wouldn’t be here if everything went as planned.

Instead of slowing down in preparation for the hairpin turn, Callum hit the accelerator. We hurtled into the corner at speed, and in a panic-induced state of decision making, Callum ripped the handbrake in an attempt to slow down, which put the car into a powerslide of epic proportions.

On the outside edge of this turn was a tree. A big tree. This tree was of the weeping willow variety with many long, dangling, whip-like branches with slender leaves dripping down in a beautiful green cascade. As the handbrake was pulled and inertia entered the equation, we were all thrown to the left of the car. Callum’s dad’s window was down and, thanks to the seatbelt, only a small portion of this body was now outside of the car. However, that portion was home to, arguably, one of the most important features of a human being: the face.

Callum was screaming, I was screaming, my little brother was cheering with his hands in the air like a deranged roller coaster rider, Callum’s older brother was being crushed into the door by our combined weight and didn’t have enough air in his lungs to join our crescendo of noise, Callum’s dad’s face is being kickboxed into oblivion by the aforementioned whip-like branches… and the beer is flying in all directions, coating everyone in a thin veneer of foam and yeasty goodness.

Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack!

After what felt like an eternity, the car came to a shuddering halt and we all peeled ourselves off the door and off each other. Callum’s dad’s head was now back inside the vehicle, peppered with an impressive collection of shallow cuts, blood, and beer, and his majestic mullet was chock a block full of leaves. He was also still holding the, now empty, bottle of beer in a white-knuckled death grip, and that’s an achievement I’m still in awe of!

A couple of seconds of silence permeated the tension-filled interior of the chariot of learning, none of us daring to break it first. Callum’s dad wiped a hand down his face, hissing as the cuts were touched and more beer was introduced to the wounds. He took a deep breath, and in a soft voice, he addressed us kids in the back seat:

“Would you kids step out of the car for a moment? Callum and I need to have a chat.”

We f****** legged it! No need to tell us twice. We. Were. Outta. There!

About 100 or 150 metres away was the verandah where our mums and Callum’s sister were seated with shock etched across their faces at the spectacle they had just witnessed. We had barely reached the concrete when a gods-awful bellowing came from the car, echoing off into all corners of the property and probably sending more than a few birds winging away in fright. Callum was banned from driving for the rest of their week’s stay with us and no more mention of home “tests” was made again. Ever.

Callum is an amazing driver now and doesn’t even have a speeding ticket on record to my knowledge, but that day and our early years of driving on the track will never be forgotten. It was even a story told at his father’s funeral a few years ago and is now a funny memory we can all share and cherish involving the man.

Notes:

  • Everything that occurred during this and all other driving sessions at the property was in full compliance with Australian laws.
  • No minors, drivers, or fatherly instructors were under the influence of alcohol at any given time while the car was running.
  • Despite the ordeal, none of us were traumatised or otherwise harmed, and the injuries sustained by Callum’s dad were minor: head wounds just tend to bleed a lot because of how shallow the skin is.
  • No-one unlicensed to operate a vehicle ever drove on any actual roads outside the property line or endangered another driver in any way.
  • Please don’t attempt to recreate any of these events, and always follow the rules of the road and laws pertaining to your country when it comes to driving and underage individuals. 
  • And, finally, thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this story, and if you’re just learning to drive, please don’t use the handbrake for cornering, especially on dirt, as it is very dangerous and serious accidents can occur.

Fighting Creepy With Crazy

, , , , , , , | Friendly | May 17, 2022

I work as the sole attendant at a twenty-four-hour gas station during the overnight shifts. It’s typically pretty quiet, but it clearly isn’t tonight.

While I’m handling a guy getting scratch-offs, two customers come into the store roughly at the same time. One is this tall dude with a scowl on his face, and the other is a regular I know works nearby because of her fast food uniform and because we chill during the quiet hours and talk about customer horror stories.

Tall Dude is eyeing the Fast Food Girl and sort of following her around while she’s browsing some racks looking at chips, and she gets in line and pulls out her phone. Tall Dude steps in front of her while she’s looking at her phone, and he just snaps for no reason and pushes her shoulder.

Tall Dude: “HEY!”

She looks up.

Tall Dude: “Smile already! Stop looking like such a b****!”

The scratch-off guy and I are looking at both of them and each other like, “What the heck was that for?” Fast Food Girl just looks at Tall Dude for a moment… and smiles.

Then, she starts shrieking like a chimp on drugs, rips off her coat and uniform shirt — she is wearing clothes underneath — and proceeds to grab a nearby loaf of bread and start HUMPING IT without breaking eye contact with the dude. She’s still screaming. The bread bursts open and starts falling out onto the floor, and she starts grabbing fistfuls of it and rubbing it on her chest, stuffing bread down her pants, and cramming bread into her mouth and spitting it out while still screaming.

Tall Dude freaks out and runs. Fast Food Girl starts beating her chest like Tarzan. My scratch-off customer and I just stare in shock.

The second the door closes behind Tall Dude, Fast Food Girl straightens her hair and clothes out.

Fast Food Girl: “Can I have a broom to clean this up, please? And I’ll pay for the bread.”

Scratch-Off Dude is cracking up now that the craziness is over, and he helps kick some of the bread from under the shelf so she can clean it up.

Fast Food Girl: “That dude is a daily regular at [Fast Food Place], and his favorite pastime is to abuse staff both on the clock and off in the parking lot. He even followed me here! Threateningly humping a loaf of bread at him was much more cathartic than punching him in the throat.”

So far, she hasn’t seen him since, so I guess it was more effective, too.

When Customers Attack

, , , , | Legal Right | CREDIT: inquisitrix- | May 15, 2022

A while ago, I was working the register and heard screaming at the other end of the store. I ran over to see what was happening. Two of our female Loss Prevention officers had stopped a shoplifter at the exit and she was screaming bloody murder at them. By this time, all the customers and employees had crowded to watch the show.

One LP officer reached out toward the shoplifter like she was going to try to grab the stolen merchandise back. Then, the shoplifter suddenly jumped up and tackled the LP officer to the ground. As the second LP officer stepped in to try to break up the fight on the ground, the two officers both started screaming in pain and the shoplifter ran out.

The rest of the employees and customers were freaking out, as the LP officers were screaming:

Officers: “I can’t see! I can’t see! Help! It burns!”

We thought we had witnessed an acid attack; it was awful.

Paramedics were called, and when the officers returned to work, we found out the shoplifter had sprayed mace in their faces.

She was only stealing $30 worth of clothes. That definitely goes down as one of the craziest days at work ever.

Theft? What?

, , , , , , | Healthy | May 15, 2022

I am working late at a veterinary hospital and a note was left for the doctor. The phone rings, and I answer.

Me: “[Veterinary Hospital], my name is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Owner: *Politely* “Hi there. I left a note for the doctor this afternoon and I haven’t heard back yet. My pet’s name is [Pet] and my last name is [Owner’s Last Name]. I was wondering if we could fill antibiotics for my pet?”

Me: “Okay, let me look that up for you!” *Typing* “Oh, I see the doctor won’t be in until tomorrow. Sorry about that. My coworker should have let you know! She’ll get back to you tomorrow, but I’ll let you know that standardly the doctor does require a recheck exam prior to filling antibiotics, especially since it’s been a couple months since we’ve seen the pet!”

Owner: *Silence*

Me: *Pauses* “Ma’am, did I lose you?”

Owner: *Suddenly angry* “No, I heard you, but that’s theft.”

Me: *Shocked* “What?”

Owner: “That’s theft to demand a recheck!”

Me: “Ma’am, I was letting you know so you have a realistic expectation of tomorrow’s call with the doctor and to see if you wanted to make the appointment.”

Owner: “That’s theft!”

Me: *Sternly, getting back my senses* “No, it is not.”

Owner: “Yes, it is!”

Me: “Ma’am, if you continue yelling at me, I will have to hang up.”

Owner: *Yelling* “I’m not yelling!”

Me: “Yes. You are.”

Owner: “I’ll talk to the doctor tomorrow!” *Hangs up*

Don’t Toy With Karma

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Far_Attitude_2764 | May 10, 2022

I have a five-year-old girl who is best of friends with my neighbors’ daughter. The two are inseparable. My wife bought our daughter a toy a few weeks ago as a reward for doing all her chores and being awarded “Student Of The Week” in her kindergarten class. She immediately took it over to the neighbor’s house, and the two girls loved to play with it. It’s one of those toys that come with accessories, slime, stickers, etc.

Since then, this particular toy has been featured on a very popular morning talk show and is now pretty hard to find. My daughter’s friend’s birthday is the day after Thanksgiving, and my daughter asked me if we could buy her best friend the same toy as her gift. We couldn’t say no to her request for her best friend, so we started looking online to see if we could find one. After a few days of no luck, a very popular big box store had some in stock at a store about thirty minutes away. I hit the road to try and get my hands on one before they were all gone.

This is what happened when I got there, and I still can’t believe it happened.

I got to the store, grabbed a shopping cart because I was going to grab a couple of other things while I was there, and walked straight to the toy department. I looked around for a few minutes before I finally saw the toy I was after. There was only one left, so I grabbed it and put it in my cart. I was so glad I finally found one. I started to walk away to continue shopping when I heard a voice behind me.

Woman: “Um, excuse me, but that toy was mine. I put it down and was coming right back for it. Do you mind?”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. I have been looking for this toy as a gift for a very special little girl, and it was on the shelf, so I’m sorry, but no. I’m going to buy it.”

She instantly shot daggers at me with her eyes.

Woman: “Excuse me?! I was here first and I need it more than you. I have a customer that ordered it and I need it now, so please hand it over.”

That’s when it struck me: she was a reseller and had promised something she didn’t have.

Me: “Oh, well, that’s not my problem, but maybe they have more in the back. You should ask someone that works here.”

I went about my way to finish my shopping. As I was walking away, the woman snipped:

Woman: “You’re a real jerk, you know that?”

Me: *Sarcastically* “Maybe, but I got what I came for. Have an awesome day.”

And I walked away. I made my way to the laundry detergent aisle and quickly forgot about the woman. A few minutes later, as I grabbed some detergent and dryer sheets, I stopped to check what else was on my list, and the same woman entered the aisle.

Woman: “Ugh, there you are. Listen. I asked an employee, and they said there aren’t any in the back and they don’t know when more are coming in. I would appreciate it if you would do the right thing and just give the toy back to me before I find a manager and tell them you took it out of my hands.”

Me: “Huh? What are you talking about? This toy was on the shelf and nobody else was around when I picked it up, so please leave me alone. You can’t have it and that’s it.”

I tried to walk out of the aisle when this woman stepped in front of my cart, reached into my cart, and tried to take the toy. I quickly pulled the cart back.

Me: “What is your problem, lady? Get away from me.”

Then, she tried again, but this time I put my hand on the toy before she could grab it. She then dug her nails into my arm before I smacked her hand away with a loud:

Me: “WHAT THE F***, LADY?! GET AWAY FROM ME!”

This is when the woman went into overdrive. She instantly started screaming for help at the top of her lungs.

Woman: “HELP! HELP! HE’S ATTACKING ME! HELP ME, SOMEBODY!”

Naturally, a bunch of people quickly came over to see what was going on, and there I was, a 6’3” man with tattoos and a shaved head and beard standing there as she threw herself on the floor screaming for help. I thought to myself, “This is going to end badly for me.”

Two employees were a couple of aisles over and came running. Now there were a few people and the employees looking at this woman on the ground pleading for help and screaming for someone to call the police. The employee asked what happened while helping her up from the floor and she immediately lied.

Woman: “He attacked me and took items from my cart!”

Me: “This crazy lady is lying! She attacked me, and then she threw herself on the floor to get me in trouble.”

A manager showed up and asked what had happened while the woman was standing there with crocodile tears saying I had assaulted her over “her toy”. I quickly denied the false accusation and demanded the police be called. The manager had the police called and I waited right there. The lady had a crowd of people around her, consoling her, and they were all looking at me like I was some sort of woman beater. All the while, she was telling everyone around her what a monster I was and that she intended to press full charges against me for assault.

After ten or fifteen minutes, two police officers showed up and started to ask questions about what had happened. I explained what had happened from beginning to end, and she told her twisted fairy tale. The officers asked if the security cameras had a shot of the area. We were escorted to the manager’s office, and while one officer reviewed the footage with the manager, the other officer asked for our IDs and stepped out of the office — more than likely to do a warrant check, I assumed.

This is when glorious Karma showed up.

After a couple of minutes of the officer reviewing the camera footage and her continued lies about what happened, the officer asked the woman:

Officer #1: “Ma’am, I’m only going to ask this once. Would you like to change your story about what happened?”

I instantly smiled from ear to ear.

Woman: “What are you talking about? He attacked me and I want him arrested!”

Officer #1: “Ma’am, that’s not happening.” *To me* “Do you want to press charges for assault, sir?”

Me: “F*** YES!”

The woman went pale as a ghost. She went on a tirade. Just then, the second officer came back into the office, handed me back my ID, whispered something to the other officer, and then asked the woman to stand up and put her hands behind her back. They arrested her for an outstanding felony warrant along with an assault charge.

What an awesome outcome. The manager apologized to me for all the trouble as the woman was led out of the office in cuffs. The officer photographed the scratches on my arm for evidence, gave me a copy of the report for court, and wished me a nice rest of my day. The manager even gave me a $50 gift card that I used to pay for my purchase, and I went about my merry way.

All this over a toy and self-entitlement.