Driving with Miss Doozie, Part 2
Just when I was contemplating the effectiveness of car extraction by horse cart, a blue land rover pulled up behind it. The Mennonites deferred to a higher horse power and trotted away.
The license plate on the land rover said PRICE, which was good news and bad news. The good part was that he had a jeep, a cable, and a wench, even, and could probably help us. The not-so-good part was that he might mention it to my parents, since they knew each other. My father was the Big Cheese at the American Consulate, and this was the Big Cheese of British Honduras: Prime Minister George Price.
He and his driver pulled us right out of that mud, as if they'd done it a million times. I declined to introduce myself, thinking that if I remained silent he might take us for wayward tourists. They helped us climb out the driver side window and back up onto the road to lighten the weight, and I watched mutely as the two men who knew what they were doing got dirty in our behalf.
I didn't mention the incident to my father because I thought he'd decide my driving skills were not sufficient to handle Belize. Though the front left fender had been bent upward by the pulling, my strategy was to hose down the car and pretend nothing had happened. I considered it a small lie of omission, and an easy one, considering my father's lack of observation skills on the domestic front. I wasn't trying to deceive him, I simply thought that to a person who could walk into a living room and not notice that the furniture had been rearranged, a minor shift in the shape of a car wouldn't matter.
A few weeks later, though the bend was on the side of the car away from the house, where my father never trod, Pop noticed. He didn't ask what had happened, as if somehow he knew already. His only point was, "I don't understand why you didn't tell me." He seemed horribly hurt, and I felt crummy about it. Not crummy enough to apologize, apparently, but crummy nonetheless.
Not only crummy, but dumb, too.
I'd forgotten about the consular license plates, which may or may not have remained covered in mud. And there was that other clue: we were the only Volvo in Belize. What was wrong with me? I don't know -- a lack of observation skills?
Today I'd do it all so differently. I'd say "Hellooooo Mr. Price, I'm _____'s daughter! So nice of you to stop, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it." Later I'd tell the whole story to my parents, after which they would express sympathy, not anger, and they'd send Mr Price a nice gift, and it would've become a "funny story" in the anthology of family tales.
But this is now, and that was then.
I for one am glad youth is over. I wasn't my best self.