Posts Tagged ‘Overalls’

A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part III

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Continued from A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part II. . .

Busted Flat in Nashville
I got a flat north of Nashville. So, when my tire blew out, and my sister was right in front of me, she didn’t happen to see me swerve across three lanes of traffic and into the emergency lane. She just looked in the rear view mirror and I was nowhere to be found, and thought, “uh-oh.” And then got off at the next exit, turned back around and went north on 75, and drove until she saw me broken down on the southbound side, then found the next exit, and got back on 75 South, and drove until she found me. Because we didn’t have cel phones. i swear to God, it was like living in the dark ages; we are lucky to have survived.

I was just sitting on the back bumper of the truck, because I’d already inspected the blowout. When you are driving from Colorado, getting a flat in Nashville is like getting a flat in your neighborhood. You are so close, and yet so far. You are so tired. You so don’t want to fucking change a tire. Which is good, because it turns out, even if you did, there are no spare tires on Ryder trucks. You have to call Ryder.

So, i sat there, and waited for Lisa to find me, and then told her what was up, and then sent her to the next exit to get drinks and call for help. I sat there a really long time. It was August 2, sitting on the side of 75 southbound, just north of Nashville. It was, to put it lightly, hot as fucking Hades.

Lisa came back. She said it would probably be a couple of hours. Have you ever sat on the side of 75 South in the midday sun for a couple of hours? It is horrific. We plowed through our snacks. The seats of the truck were like molten lava. Lisa was grumpy and sitting in the only shady spot in the truck. She is not a lover of the heat.
Lisa Heatstroke, Outside Nashville

Me? I was trying to keep it fun. I had on red overalls. Nothing says fun like red overalls. I got a piece of dried grass and made Hee Haw jokes and tried to make Leelee laugh.
HeeHaw Annie in Nashville!

It didn’t work.

If Looks Could Kill, With Maybe a Touch of Laughter

The sun was high up in the sky. There were almost no shadows. We sat on the back bumper of the truck, because it was the only way we could get some shade. I sat closest to the road, and Lisa sat right next to the edge closest to the grass on the side of the road. We didn’t talk. We watched cars fly by. Each one gave us a hot breeze, and the ones closest to us rocked the van. Some of them honked. Lisa and I sat in a daze, until a red jeep with three boys was coming towards us. There was something shouted, and then I heard and felt a loud, “thunk!” when something hit the van. Lisa immediately let out an “uuugggghhh!”

I looked over at her, and she had something yellow on her face and in her hair. She burst into tears. And, God help me. I’m not proud of it.

I laughed.

Those Nashville fuckers had thrown a half-eaten piece of corn on the cob at us. The kind you get from KFC.
Corn Cob

They didn’t just toss it either, as evidenced by the splat on the truck, directly over Lisa’s head.

Corn Splat

They winged that thing.

We sat for almost another hour until the guy came to fix the tire.

Tire Guy. Yep, I took his picture too.

We finally got back on the road. We would have made it home before dark. Instead, we made it home in the middle of the night. And the next morning, I was ready for my new (old) life.


And yeah, really just posted that last one to show that I had on cutoffs. Something else that I never wear anymore, although i would if I was skinny.

In my new life, I would move into an apartment with my sister, and I would meet my future husband in an East Atlanta bar, and move in with him, and get a couple of cats and a dog and drink a lot, and then end up with two kids and a minivan in the burbs, wondering how the hell that happened.

And none of it would have happened if it wasn’t for the red overalls. I’m sure of it.

A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part II

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Continued from A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part I . . .

Have you ever been to East St. Louis? I hadn’t either. First of all, it’s not in St. Louis, which is in Missouri. (I smart.) It’s in Illinois. I am so serious. (You know you didn’t know that either.) Secondly, all you really need to know about East St. Louis to get the picture is that on Wikipedia, it has the following subheading under East St. Louis:
“East St. Louis In Popular Culture,” and under that, a subheading for “East St. Louis in Film,” and under that, you find this:

In the 1981 science fiction/action film Escape from New York, director John Carpenter used East St. Louis to represent a decaying, semi-destroyed future version of New York City. At that time, East St. Louis had entire neighborhoods burned out in 1976 during a massive urban fire, which suited the director’s vision of a Manhattan Island that has been turned into a maximum security prison.
In the 1983 comedy National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Griswolds were thought to accidentally drive through East St. Louis and get their car stripped while asking for directions . . . .

There’s also a lengthy section on its severe crime, which ranks it as having a higher murder rate than Compton, CA.

I think you get the picture. Let’s move on, shall we?

So, we’re in Illinois the next day. I swear, you drive through Illinois to get to Denver from Atlanta, and no, children, we didn’t even have any Illinoise! to listen to back then. So, we’re in Illinois and the sparks start again, and this godawful metal on metal sound, and I see an exit, and I pull of at that exit and Lisa is following me and I pull over at the closest gas-station-looking parking lot I can see, and i gotta tell ya, nothing looks open in East St. Louis in 1998. It just looked broken down and empty. And then there’s this nagging feeling that maybe East St. Louis is famous? But I can’t remember why.

I pull over and I get out, and Leelee pulls up next to me. We both look under the truck. I am smarter than she is, though, because I didn’t let her have the camera while i was up under the truck.
Lisa Checks Muffler

Then I get busted with the camera.
Lisa Catches me Photographing her Checking Muffler
The truly funny thing about these pictures is that if you knew Lisa then, back when we called her Princess? She never woulda been caught dead under a Ryder truck in East St. Louis, Illinois.

Now, right about that point, Lisa started trying to find information about calling Ryder again, because the muffler baling wire fix was not working so well anymore. Here she is looking at the map, or the paperwork, or something.

Lisa Knows East St. Louis
It was about this time that we also realized that there was no earpiece on the payphone at the deserted gas station. There was just a nice shell of a payphone.

So, I crawled back under the truck, hell bent on getting the thing wired and getting out of that parking lot. That’s when I heard the car. I rolled back out from under the car, and there are Lisa and I, standing next to a Ryder truck, and this old 70s car, but rebuilt, with fancy rims and all that, rolls up with two guys in it, and a nice gentleman with gold teeth and a shitload of gold jewelry leans out the window, and no, i am not kidding. And this is what he says, looking us up and down, and nodding his head real slow, these immortal words that I can still hear to this very day, uttered very slow and cool:

“Where’s y’all’s boyfriends at?”

Where’s. Y’all’s. Boyfriends. At.

I still use this phrase just about weekly, when calling my sister and getting her voicemail. I simply say, “Where’s y’all’s boyfriends at?” and she knows it’s me. Now, the truly funny thing about this is that Lisa is wearing a too-big hippie-looking Colorado t-shirt, and cutoff duckheads. (See previous picture.) And me? I’m wearing red overalls. With Doc Martens. And braids. But we’ll get to that later. We look real good. I am surprised he thought we even liked boys. Suffice it to say that I am surprised he didn’t just go ahead and shoot us for looking ugly.

And what did I say to him? Just what is the proper response to such a well-turned come-on? Well, it was hot, and I was tired and hungry. This is what my big mouth said:

“Just leave us the fuck alone! What the fuck?! Can’t you see we’re having car trouble?!”

And now, now you know who is the OG.

And he, obviously impressed with my street cred, said, “Okay,” and nodded, and turned up his music, and drove off. I know. The story would have been much better if he had gotten out and said, “Here, Let me help you ma’am” and fixed my damn muffler. But it didn’t happen that way. Instead, I crawled under, and tried the baling wire thing, and then climbed back out and ate leftover, cold pizza from the night before, sitting in a post-apocalyptic-movie set parking lot in East St. Louis.
Cold Pizza, Parking Lot, East St. Louis

And we made it all the way to Nashville before we had any more problems. But the boys in Nashville? They were not as nice.

Continued in A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part III.

A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

It was the summer of 1998. I can still remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was pre-Todd, pre-Rollie and Tiller, Pre-Quint and Simon, and Scully. Hard to imagine that now.

My sister was my best friend. No one else even came close, except maybe that boy. We were parting ways. He was off to Phoenix. It was an amicable parting, but i think I knew it was over forever. I’m not sure he knew yet. I was headed back to Atlanta, back to the South, back Home. The open road was like the first sheet in a blank book just waiting to be written.

I had me a Ryder truck, and a sister who agreed to follow me, driving my car back. It was the same car that I had in Atlanta the day I crapped in my pants on the connector, caught in the worst traffic jam ever, and just having left Three Dollar Cafe. It wasn’t pretty.

But that is a story for another day.

We left Denver on a sunny, hot, dry day. It was July 31st. We broke down later that day in Victoria, Kansas. You are probably thinking, “they didn’t get very far” and if you are thinking that, then you have never driven across Kansas, because Kansas is a never ending Son of a bitch.

Lisa flagged me down, driving the Acura, and waving frantically. This was in the olden days, when people didn’t have cel phones, unless they were selling drugs, and I didn’t even know what I was missing. I know that is hard to imagine, what with me having my iPhone surgically attached to my hand and all. If I were to do that drive today, without my phone, it would feel just like walking across Kansas naked.

I pulled over at the next stop. Which looked just like the last stop and every other one in Kansas, too. I pulled up next to Lisa and probably said something along the lines of “What the fuck?”

And she probably said something along the lines of, “There are fucking flames coming out from under your truck!”

Okay, they were just sparks. We had a muffler. It wouldn’t stay attached to the fucking truck. I didn’t know it was the muffler until we got down on our stomachs at a truck stop in Kansas and looked under and saw this round tubular thing hanging down.

So, we found the number for Ryder, and we found the payphone, the one around the corner, against the cinder block building wall, in the baking heat. We were on hold forfuckingever.

Lisa on Hold with Ryder.

Lisa on Hold with Ryder.

This is what she looked like when I first handed off the phone after I had been on hold so long that my ear had fallen asleep. I went and got the camera out of boredom. And this is what she looked like another thirty minutes later:
And yes, yes she is wearing overalls. I'm getting to that.

And yes, yes she is wearing overalls. I'm getting to that.

So, when we finally got a hold of Ryder on the FUCKING PAYPHONE, we told them we had a problem with our sparky tubular metal thing under the truck. And they said, “ma’am, you got yourself a muffler problem,” and we said, “Right, the muffler. Isn’t that what I just said? Great, how soon can you be here to fix it?” And he said, “Where are you?” and we said, “Kansas.”


“Uh, where in Kansas?”

Lisa runs in the gas station to figure out where the fuck in Kansas we are.

“We’re in Victoria, Kansas.”

Silence. Then, “Well, we can get someone out to Victoria tomorrow.”

I look around me in dismay, because this is what it looks like where we are.

View from Gas Station, Victoria, KS. July 31st, 1998

View from Gas Station, Victoria, KS. July 31st, 1998

“Um, okay,” i say, “so, what would you do if you had a muffler problem like this and y’all couldn’t get here til tomorrow?”
“Well, Ma’am, I’d find some baling wire and tie it back up.”
And that’s what we did.
Muffler with Baling Wire, Victoria, KS
We walked around a gas station in Victoria, KS, begging a piece of bailing wire from men in trucks. Turns out it’s not that hard to find baling wire in Kansas. And then I got my ass down on the hot pavement, and climbed under that truck, just like the T-Birds in Grease, and I used that wire and I tied that muffler to the truck so tight it was never gonna come off!

At least, not until East St. Louis.

To be continued, in A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part II.