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“Like a Leaf in the Wind”

From: Seth Dillingham In Response To: 6044  Eighty Laps
Date Posted: Sunday, September 2, 2007 3:16:13 PM Replies: 0
Enclosures: None.

We left the birthday party after cleaning up the Carousel Building, at mid-to-late afternoon.

Traffic was very heavy on Route 95 South, as it almost always is in the summer time on a weekend. This being a long weekend, the traffic was extra heavy.

There was a pickup truck about five hundred feet ahead of us. We were in the right lane, driving sixty-five mph. Corinne and I were talking.

Something looked odd about the truck, something was moving around. Before I could figure out what it was, a double-bed-sized mattress flew out of the back, fourteen feet into the air, and floated along for a few seconds like the first leaf of autumn. It was very cool. And crazy dangerous.

The mattress floated over the cars in the high speed lane, spinning gracefully, and landed in the grass in the median against the guardrail.

"Wow!" I yelled. Corinne babbled.

He clearly didn't know anything had happened, so I sped up to tell him. Before I could get there, the car to his left "explained" it to him. He pulled over, and I asked Corinne if she thought I should help him.

Normally, I would just pull over to help without thinking about it. This time I had my wife and (someone else's) kid in the car. On a busy highway.

Corinne babbled some more. I pulled over, way into the breakdown lane, and backed up slowly towards the pickup. Traffic zoomed and roared past us.

He was a college kid. The first thing he said to me when I jumped out and walked back to his truck was, "Where did it go?" I pointed out how far back it had flown away, and described the scene to him.

"My roommates warned me that would happen."

"Oh, you mean because you hadn't tied it down AT ALL?" I didn't ask. Instead I just nodded.

"What should I do?"

I gave him three bungie cords out of the blazer to tie down the box springs, and told him to go up to the next exit (6A), turn around to go North back to exit 7, turn around again to go South, and then pull over into the median near the mattress to recover it.

He thanked me, shook my hand, and we drove away. I immediately decided he was too, uh... well, I decided he still needed help, so I led him all the way back to the mattress.

(Aside: I must say that pulling out of the high speed lane of a busy highway, onto the grassy median, is not for the faint of heart. Whoosh.)

By the time he pulled up behind us, I had the mattress in the air over my head. He ran around to release the bungie, I threw the mattress on top and passed the bungie back over. He couldn't hook it properly, so I ran around to do it for him.

After thanking me a couple too many times, his final pair of statements were equally amusing.

First, "I'm not going to tell my parents about this."

Second, "What do I owe you for the bungies?"

Just don't get yourself or anyone else killed on the way home today, buddy, and we'll call it even.

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