Jude Hardin

Author, Drummer, Turtle Whisperer

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Location: United States

Friday, November 26, 2010

In Response to Mr. Parrish

I grew up in a household with no car. There was a shopping center two blocks away with a grocery store, drug store, dime store, hardware store, diner...it was kind of like an early version of Super Wal-Mart, except all the stores were independently owned and one of them was a beer joint. The school I went to was right behind the shopping center, so for years the path leading to the Hazelwood area of Louisville, Kentucky was my world.

Not to get all nostalgic or anything, but…

It sucked!

The day I got my driver's license was one of the happiest days of my life. It represented freedom and unlimited horizons. I had wheels! I could go places! I was no longer at the mercy of mass transit, or tethered by the impracticalities of walking or cycling. I could go on a date, by golly, or hang out with my friends across town on a whim.

Those things were great, but you want to know the best thing about having a car? YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO WALK TO SCHOOL IN THE FUCKING RAIN ANYMORE.

Unlike this guy, I was never really one to laugh at getting caught in a downpour. It was rather an unpleasantry I was forced to endure from time to time as a child, like getting up for a drink of water at night and stubbing your toe on a chair leg. Hardee har har.

Not only did you get, you know, WET when you walked in the rain, but you also had to don one of those humiliating rubber coats they had back in the 60s. You know the ones I’m talking about? They were a shade of yellow that could be seen from outer space. They were completely impermeable to water, which meant they were also completely impermeable to a little thing called air. Oh, it was great. You didn’t get a drop of rain on your upper body (the bottom of your pants were always soaked regardless!) or your head (the coats came with attractive matching hats!), but by the time you got where you were going, you were dripping with sweat and smelled something like that stack of used tires at the filling station.

And that nice bologna and cheese sandwich your mom so lovingly prepared for you? Better get a spoon.

The walk to school itself was quite the adventure. It was always dark, as I remember it, and the toasty dry kids riding by in their parents’ cars would point and laugh at the neon yellow anomaly sloshing sadly along outside. Some of the cars didn’t even bother to slow down, which meant you got some extra water on your pants from the splash. Haha! Hehe! Unbridled joy!

I did try to raise my face to the sky and say, “Give it to me” one time. Unfortunately, I almost drowned.

I suppose it might be sort of quaint and poetic and even therapeutic to walk around laughing in the rain, but I had enough of that fun when I was a kid. Give me a car and an open road and an umbrella, and I’m good to go.

Now if I can just talk Wal-Mart into adding a beer joint.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010