Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pegboard predicament

Sweet-Sister Three commented on yesterday's post as follows: "Tie the can behind your car and drag it to their office. Leave it there. Take the cheese and stinky stuff along!!" Not a bad idea, and the visuals it conjures up are hilarious. The reality is that I don't think I'm up to the task of towing a trashcan in traffic. I'm still suffering from the trauma of a bad experience I had when we first moved to Long Island, New York.

Prior to the move to New York in 1973, we were living in tiny, sleepy Vidalia, Georgia. (We lived there twice, actually; this was the first time.) I don't think there was any road in town that had more than two lanes. In fact, the major traffic problem in Vidalia was getting stuck behind someone who'd stopped to talk to a friend in an oncoming vehicle. Traffic would line up in both directions while the friends exchanged pleasantries, then they'd wave goodbye and we'd all mosey on down the road. We were in Vidalia for almost two years, and I got used to that leisurely pace.

Fast forward to New York. We'd moved to Farmingdale, about a 30-minute drive from New York City, and I never really knew where Farmingdale ended and the next village began. They were all crammed together, one after the other, all the way into the city. Slicing through them, separating the North Shore from the South Shore, was the Hempstead Turnpike, at that time eight lanes of fast-moving traffic.

As soon as we'd unpacked our furniture, Hus2 started fixing up his workshop in the garage. He liked to build things, and he liked to have all his tools organized just so. Since I wasn't doing anything, he asked me to go to the lumberyard and get him two 4'x 8' sheets of pegboard. I was kind of nervous about the fast traffic, but it was a fairly straight shot from home to the lumberyard, and Hus2 told me I needed to get used to driving in that traffic. The girls jumped in the car with me, and off we went.

At the lumberyard, I asked for pegboard. Because I didn't know the difference between tempered and untempered pegboard (it's an issue of strength), I made my decision on the basis of price, and we proceeded to the checkout counter.

I was driving a brand-new 1973 Monte Carlo, so even though Hus2 had assured me the lumberyard would be able to tie the pegboard securely to the roof of the car, I was skeptical and said so. "They do it all the time," he'd said. "It won't be a problem."

The guy at the lumberyard didn't seem to think it was a problem, either. He whipped one sheet of pegboard up on top of my car, poked twine through one of the holes at the front end of it and made a long loop that he tied to my front bumper. Then he laid the other sheet of pegboard on top of the first one. He ran more twine through the front car windows, wrapping it over the middle of the two sheets of pegboard to tie them together to the top of the car. He moved back a couple of feet and repeated the process by running the twine through the rear windows of the car, then tied it off. "That," he said, brushing his hands together to dust them off, "should do the job."

We got back inside the car, and the first thing I noticed was that the pegboard was hanging by several inches over the front and rear windows. I slouched down in the seat a little to see through the windshield better and decided I'd have to rely on the side mirrors to see what was behind me. Very carefully, I pulled out onto the Hempstead Turnpike, worked my way up to a speed consistent with the rest of the traffic, and moved into one of the middle lanes.

That's when all hell broke loose. A gust of wind caught up under the inexpensive, untempered pegboard. It might have sent both whole sheets flying, except the twine held them down in some places. Instead, the wind just broke them all to pieces. Pieces of pegboard, large and small, were flying from the roof of my car across multiple lanes of traffic. It must have looked like they were raining from the sky. Brakes were squealing all over the place and drivers were swerving from one lane to another to try to avoid getting hit.

It was extremely frightening, but the part my daughters and I remember most is the rest of the drive home. There was no more pegboard on our car except for one piece, about the size of a cookie sheet. It was the piece that was tied to my front bumper by twine through one of its holes, and it twisted and flipped on its long tether, waving and threatening other vehicles, all but screaming, "Over here, look at us!" For three more miles, all the way home, that freakin' piece of pegboard bounced and banged against my brand-new car, and I was too scared to stop and untie it.

My husband, poor thing, saw us drive up and didn't realize how much danger he was in when he asked, reasonably, "What happened to my pegboard?"

I tossed him a fierce look over my shoulder as I speedwalked toward the front door, my shoulders hunched and my purse tucked under my arm. "If you want your damned pegboard," I snapped, "you go get it. It's all over the Hempstead Turnpike." Then I burst into tears.

So, Sweet-Sister Three, yours was a good idea, but I think I'll pass. I can just imagine that big blue can flying over my car at the end of a tow rope.


  1. LMAO!!!

    I just hope to God you didn't have a Georgia tag!!!!! LOL!!!

  2. ROTFLMAO.......sorry, don't man to laugh, but I could see the whole thing in my head, and just burst into laughter! Reminded me of many years ago, when I was moving, tied a king size mattress to the top of my car, cruising down I-95 in Fla., when all of sudden it took off like a frisbee, spinning through the air accross 4 lanes of traffic and landed on the other side of 95! I had to go back and get it, and it was all full of prickers and holes! I had someone else put it into a truck to get it home, where I cleaned it all up and used it for the next 5 years!

    I just love your stories! Debi

  3. You know, I've never tied anything to the roof of my car and now I never will.

    You so tell a fine story.

  4. Ha ...That was something that would happen to me! Oh, but I am sorry you got a fright. Your description was so funny and I could just see the whole affair taking place with me as the hapless driver.

    Men are!

  5. What an experience! I bet you never wanted to see another sheet of pegboard again!

  6. The ENTIRE story I could visualize...thanks, and I mean thanks for the laughter. You remind me of a Lucy Ball/ Doris Day mix. You are too damn funny!

  7. Oh LORD, VS! What a nightmare trip - but it was funny too. I also moved from small town southern life to NY (Queens - but my in-laws lived in Selden, LI) in the early 70's. Culture shock, much? I could just SEE this happening!

  8. you have had a interesting life. the garbage can thing . don't pay the bill see if that gets thier attention.

  9. Tee hee.

    I shouldn't laugh, really.

    ...but what WERE they thinking?

  10. I wish I had taken a photo of the man at my garage sale with the big rusty, white, metal cabinet tied down to the top of the Explorer. He had the back stuffed with a RC
    Cola machine (large) and two full sized bikes. I know you would have appreciated the picture. He did say if it blew off, he was just going to keep driving.

  11. Priss, you better believe I had a Georgia tag on my car! I was counting on all the other drivers seeing that and knowing to stay out of my way.

    Debi, too funny! Reminds me of a Russian novel: "The Brothers Carrymattressoff."

    Annie, you learn fast.

    Snuffy, that kind of stuff happens to you, too? Are we trouble magnets or what?

    Janet, I never even wanted to see a lumberyard again.

    Schremsgems, I felt like Lucy that day. Wish I could have blamed the whole thing on Ethel.

    Sassy, more parallels! Are you sure we're not related?

    Patsy, they wouldn't call to ask questions; they'd just haul off the rest of my can, and then I'd have nothing.

    TC, it's okay to laugh...and I'd like to know what they were thinking, too.

    SS3, sounds like you missed a once-in-a-lifetime photo op. I'd have LOVED to see that one!

    Thanks, everybody!

  12. Snort, Snort! I can't stop laughing. I can just picture the scene and having lived up that way with all the traffic I'll bet you were terrified!

  13. Nan16, I love ladies who snort when they laugh!


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