Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I really enjoy sitting outside on my back porch in the early evenings when the sun is on the other side of the house. I like to look at the clouds floating by, or watch the birds or just listen to the sounds in the area and let my mind wander where it will. I was doing just that the other day when I heard an unusual sound (for my neighborhood).

A siren.

Well it took me back a lot of years...back to when I was sixteen. I was not old enough to drive but I had friends who did. One day when we could think of nothing better to do, we drove to Hackensack, New Jersey. This city was about ten miles from where we lived and was the largest and most lively place near us without going all the way to New York City (which we would NEVER do). It had a main street called...Main Street and the busy part ran for about twenty blocks. Back when I thought I knew everything, the best way to spend a Saturday night was to ride up and down Main Street and have some fun. So that's what we did. Some of the side streets were one-way, so one had to be careful on making the loops. Otherwise, you would miss the best part of town and have to go further east to make a turn into a section that was not so nice. Anyway, we did this for a while and then tried a new street to make our loop.

Not a problem, or at least that's what we thought. We had made our left turn to begin the loop again and it wasn't long before one of Hackensack's Finest pulled us over. Oh, oh...is it against the law to cruise main street? What was the problem, we wondered as the officer approached the car. Typical first words: license and registration. This did not sound good.

My friend dug and dug but could not locate the registration. The officer was getting annoyed with us and made us follow him to the police station where we went through some more questioning. Actually, my friend went through the questioning, I just listened. After what seemed like forever the officer wrote a ticket for making a left turn where none was allowed and then did the unspeakable: impounded the car.

So there we were two teenagers one seventeen one sixteen in downtown Hackensack with no wheels and little money and at least ten miles from home. See if it were today it would not be a problem. We would whip out our cell phones, call a friend and be on our way in minutes. But it was then and it was a problem. My friend would not call her father because he was the tyrant type and probably would have beaten her pretty badly; no we had to solve this another way.

We started walking Main Street in the general direction of home but had no solution in mind. I thought maybe we could scrape enough money together for one of us to take the bus back home and maybe my mom could come and get us. My friend was underwhelmed with that idea. WE kept walking and ended up at a bus stop in front of the YMCA. We stood there talking about the problem for a while when a car came cruising up my friend waved and smiled and went over to them and started talking. It did not take long for us to be in the car and on the way home. It was getting late and I was really starting to get scared about how I was going to get home that night.

The guys seemed nice enough, my friend kept yakking and before we knew it we were at her street corner. The guys let us off and went on their way. She went in and I walked the half mile home and was grateful to be there; went to bed and was happy to be back in familiar surroundings.

I called my friend the next day to ask how things went with her dad and as expected they did not go well. But there were no beatings involved. He deliberately took the registration out of the car so if she ever got in trouble with the police he would find out about it. Well, I guess it worked, sort of. I sometimes wonder at parents logic. He drove her back to Hackensack and they got the car, she paid the ticket and there were some other punishments involved but I can't recall them now.

Then I said how fortunate it was that we met people that she knew when we needed that ride home so badly. She said: "I didn't know them. I took a chance."

I think I will just end this here.

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