108. Change of Direction


Ridgwell was Brendan’s friend from high school days. Both youths were sour and anti-everything, especially when it came to parents. They were becoming impossible, stroppy, rude, belligerent.

It was the summer vacation. Brendan’s mother said to Brendan, “Why don’t you take my car, and you and Ridgwell go on a trip? Just be responsible.” Brendan’s mother’s car was old. It was a 2001 Pontiac Montana. It was inclined to overheat, and the temperature gauge didn’t work, so it had to be driven via the nose. The driver had to smell the way along the road, sniffing for hints of overheating.

Oh! The excitement! Oh! The planning! They couldn’t decide where to go. In the end, they settled on just the one summer vacation rule: IF THERE’S A CLOUD IN THE SKY, WE DRIVE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.

Off they went! What fun!

And indeed it was. Not a hint of rain; just the occasional cloud in the two weeks away that necessitated a change of direction. They laughed their way through miles and miles in the two weeks. They slept in a tent. They cooked on a fire. They got a puncture; just the one. They went through quaint villages and down desolate country roads. They acted responsibly. They came home.

What chatter-boxes they were! They couldn’t stop talking to their parents about the trip. They never looked back. Brendan’s mother thought, “I guess, if there’s a cloud, you change direction.”

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