We all know one. Or have known one. Or, as much as we may not want to admit, have actually been one. I am referring, of course, to the infamous cling on – and no, not the Star Trek variety. Well, perhaps the cling on may have been a die hard trekky, which may have contributed somewhat to a limited development of social skills. Or maybe the person is as unobservant as I am. Either way, the cling ons are out there, enjoying the bliss of ignorance because they probably don’t recognize that they actually are cling ons.
You may be wondering why I am going on about cling ons. Well, I happened to have a run-in with one while doing some cabbage a few weeks back. But before I go into the actual story, I must at least try to pre-“save face” by saying that I really do think that I am a nice person. I try to be respectful of people and, for the most part, treat them as I would want to be treated. With that being said, and with no further ado, confession time!
It was an unusually warm night for mid December. The bars had just closed and it was a bit past . I found myself up in old town looking to pick some people up near
Before I even had the chance to pull out, this guy next to me in a drunken haze exclaimed, “You should drive this thing like it’s stolen!”
“Ooooookay… you’re weird/annoying. I will just politely chuckle and pretend you are a fungus so I don’t have to say anything back” I thought to myself. And that’s what I did. Well, minus the whole “pretending he’s a fungus part”. Well, who knows? He may have had some fungus growing on him somewhere, but I’d rather not know. So, I asked the group how their night was going.
“Good” was the overall reply. And of course, the guy next to me again said, “You should drive this thing like it’s stolen!”
We made it no further than 2 blocks before a girl sitting in the middle of the middle seat behind me leaned forward and whispered in my ear, “Could you pull over so we can let this guy out?”
Usually I would say “what?” just to make sure I understood her correctly, but there was communication taking place that didn’t need words. This guy must have been driving them crazy and I could tell. So, I immediately whispered back “Where?”
She sat back and then said out loud, in a not-very-convincing-unless-you-are-so-drunk-that-you-can’t-tell-the-difference-between-cornstarch-and-a-car kind of way, “You can just drop us off at the light up there. That’s our stop.” The guy, who was quite drunk (in case you haven’t figured out yet) said “But that’s not Shields [street]…”
“Oh, you’re right. It’s the next light.” she said in reply. I confirmed that and before we even got to the next stop light the guy said in a rather anxious tone of voice, “Hey man, can you pull over?” He was making sounds that I dreaded more than any: those of one about to vomit.
Everything happened so fast, and with such acute coordination that you would have thought I had been preparing for this moment for hours. I brought the van to a near immediate stop (barely having time to pull it over to the side of the road. In about 3 seconds I had put the van in park, undone my seat belt, undone his, and even leaned across him and opened the door to help him get out. The last thing I wanted was for a guy of this volume to let loose of all he had drunk that night in my front seat. Oddly enough, he was actually saying “thank you, thank you” as I my arms were flying every which way but with precision. Apparently he thought I was being polite and helping him. I suppose I was, but my motives were not quite as good-natured as he thought. I still laugh at that thought.
He stepped out of the van, which rides about as high as any big SUV. Because the edge of the road sloped down toward the curve, and more so because he was absolutely wasted, when he stepped onto the pavement, he lost his balance, tripped on the curve, and came tumbling down. It almost seemed to happen in slow motion, like it would in a movie or instant replay. He crashed down on his side and began to roll. He ended up lying flat on his back, arms and legs completely sprawled, looking straight up at the night sky, eyes and mouth wide open, about 10 feet away from the van in the middle of a parking lot. All of us in the car, of course, were staring at him in complete silence and utter shock (well, slight shock at least. In hindsight, such an outcome would be anything but surprising). After a couple of seconds of us just staring at him, in his wrecked and fallen state, the van door hanging open, I again leaned over and pulled the door shut.
And then we drove away. It took about 3 more seconds before everyone busted out in laughter. The three seated behind me explained that they didn’t even know who the guy was. He had just been following them around all night in