This is post 486 on this blog, and if you’re a geek, that’s a number with a bit of meaning, since it’s shorthand for one of Intel’s microprocessors – the predecessor of the Pentium. It was more formally known as the 80486. And of course, this leads into a story that plumbs the depths of dorkdom.

About 15 years ago I got in my car to go to work and happened to notice my odometer. A quick estimate told me that when I got there, it would read 80487. That was almost cool. And then I realized that if I took a shortcut over a dirt road during part of my commute, it would shave off about a mile, and I would achieve geek odometer Nirvana. So that’s what I did. This is only noteworthy because of what happened next.

It just so happened that we were having a bit of an ice storm that day. That was unusual, because I lived in Virginia at the time, and we didn’t get ice storms every other week. Actually, we kinda did that year, but that’s beside the point. I gingerly turned onto the dirt road, and it was exceedingly slick. I was tooling along at about 2MPH when I met an oncoming vehicle. I gently nudged the steering wheel. The nose edged around and then kept edging until the car was perpendicular to my intended direction of travel. The oncoming pickup missed me by a hair, and the front end of my car slid into a ditch.

I was somehow able to back it outta there though. Don’t ask me how. It hardly seems possible in retrospect. Then giving up on geek odometer Nirvana, I eased back out towards the main (paved) road. That’s when another car turned onto the dirt road. I watched in slow motion through my rear-view mirror as that car’s passenger-side wheels slid into the ditch. There was plenty of traffic on the main road, so I had plenty of time to sit there and watch. The car carried two people, a man and a woman. The woman was driving. The man got out, went around to the back of the car and pushed. The passenger-side wheels stayed in the ditch. The car moved unhelpfully forward. I realized that it would be pretty easy to get it out of the ditch if the guy would just push the front of the car to the left instead of pushing the car forward, but he persisted. Sigh.

I shut off my engine and got out to help. I took two steps and found out exactly what was making the road so slick. The ice on the road was covered with about a quarter inch of water. On step two my foot slid right out from under me and I did a dramatic face-plant on the road. Yup. In a quarter inch of water. I was pretty soaked. “You OK?” he yelled. “Yeah” I replied, picking myself up out of the frigid puddle. Then I went over and gave the front of his car a nice shove and it popped right out of the ditch.

What to do next? I sat in the car and considered my options. If I went home, I imagined it unfolding like this:
Va: “What happened?!”
Me: “Car slid into a ditch and I slipped and fell into some water covering the road.”
Va: “Were you hurt?”
Me: “No.”
Va: “Was the car damaged?”
Me: “No, it’s fine.”
Va” “Where did this happen?”
Me: “On that dirt road that connects Rt 50 to 606.”
Va: “A dirt road? What were you doing on a dirt road during an ice storm?”
Me: “mumble mumble, eight-zero- four-eight-six, mumble mumble.”

I didn’t have the heart to imagine that unfolding any further. Instead I cranked the heat and the A/C on full blast and went on to work. The heat dries out the clothes and the A/C dries out the air. By the time I got to work, I was plenty dry enough, thank you. I vowed to never tell anyone what had happened. And then I immediately told everyone I knew what I dork I was anyhow. A story that good HAS to be told!

In other news…
We sold the last of our fruit tonight. Whew! We only had five boxes left when we started, and those were gone in two hours. Now I’m thinking we should do this again next month, only expand to two more stores. I think I could safely order and extra 36 crates if we did that. However, that will be pretty close to Christmas, and it might be difficult to get Pathfinders out then. On the other hand, it gives the parents time for some last-minute shopping if they drop them off with us. I’ll have to poll them and see