There’s no rationale to explain why I’m still alive. I’ve done some crazy crap that would have sent many to the far side of the great beyond. But for some reason, like a fish so tiny you’d be embarrassed to admit you caught it, God has just kept tossing me back.
The year was 1969. The “Age of Aquarius” topped the charts and I was living with a roommate in an apartment in San Mateo, California. Our décor was early-hippie chic and friends often gathered there to smoke weed and consume copious amounts of Sara Lee chocolate cake. One Sunday afternoon, my roommate and I decided it would be fun to drop acid, then hop in my ’67 Triumph Spitfire, drive out to Half Moon Bay beach and watch the sunset. We timed our ingestion of the colorful drug to assure a safe arrival at our destination before our “trip” kicked in. “Knights in White Satin” blared from the 8-track as we melded into the fiery light show until the sun’s final rays disappeared into the blackness of the ocean.
And then it was dark. Man, was it dark. Something we had not planned on in our eagerness to stuff our cerebrum with hallucinogenics and embark on this little adventure. Now we were on an empty beach, miles of winding mountain roads from home, and neither of us functional enough to drive. Good times.
I could steer, sort of, and work the clutch. I could not coordinate that with the gear shift. My roommate could operate the gearshift, but only when I would yell, “Now!” and my timing lacked, shall we say, a certain dependability. Adding to the gaiety of the evening was the fact that we had no idea which way was home, but not to worry. There were other cars on the road whose drivers all seemed to know where they were going. Surely, if we just followed one of them we’d end up… someplace.
The tiny car lurched onto the highway – and kept right on lurching accompanied by intermitted shouts of “Now!” grind, “Now!” grind. And since we weren’t exactly keeping up with the flow of traffic, each car we’d start to follow would almost immediately disappear and we’d have to choose another. It was all very confusing.
I wish I could tell you what happened after that. I really do. But the honest-to-God truth is I don’t know. I can only tell you that we woke up in our apartment the next day with neither of us knowing how the hell we got there, but both of us marveling at our good fortune to still be alive – and then, no doubt, we lit up a joint to celebrate.
Recently, my old roommate and I connected again and we talked about that night. To this day, neither of us has any memory of how we made it home, but one thing we will never forget was that amazing fucking sunset.
For more adventures about me & my Spitfire in the hedonistic Sixties, read “Cruisin’ With the Top Down” featured in my book, “Suitable for Giving: A Collection of Wit with a Side of Wry.”
This post is part of the 30-day writing challenge at “We Work for Cheese," and is a response to the prompt, “Behind the wheel.” Visit WWFC to read more posts from an amazing group of writers who I am honored to be among.