Back in the early 1980’s I worked at a radiation facility in Dickerson Md. named Neutron Products.
Three of the guys I worked with became good friends.
For the purposes of this story I am going to change the name of these guys so that I do not incriminate anyone.
I worked with Steve on most of the plant construction of tanks and piping systems.
I worked with Andy who did a lot of the design work and control systems in the plant.
Dadiji was the plant manager who I eventually worked for as the assistant plant manager.
We regularly got together at the local store and drank a beer or two in the parking lot at the end of the day. This was not discouraged by anyone, not even the local police.
One afternoon we decided that we would get together at the end of the day and drive up to Frederick for dinner and drinks.
I will let you imagine what kind of cold drinks this may have been, but remember this was MD, not NC.
Steve drove us up to Frederick in his 1960’s Ford Falcon. This was a Pale blue car with a straight 6 cylinder engine and 3 speeds on the column.
We got up to Frederick at around 6 or 7pm. We went to dinner at a local pub where I am sure I drank my share of beverages with the other guys. Dadiji on the other hand did not drink. I remember him yelling all night long to behave. It seems that as we drank our “beverages”, we got louder and louder. I am not sure why Dadiji wanted to go because I clearly remember (yeah right) he had a horrible time.
Sometime around midnight Dadiji had had enough of our shenanigans and we finally agreed to go back down to Dickerson.
Unfortunately the only one who was able to properly drive (sober), was Dadiji. He was not a very big guy compared to the rest of us, but he had the upper hand. He was sober and he wrangled the keys away from Steve.
Dadiji got behind the wheel of Steve’s car and I got up front leaving Steve and Andy to get in the back.
Now, here is where some of the chaos really starts to occur. Dadiji had never driven a manual transmission car, let alone one with the stick shift on the column.
I had to council Dadiji how to push the clutch in, press the gas pedal when slowly letting out the clutch and how to find reverse and 1st gear. Despite all the grinding noises and the squeal of the clutch while he held the gas pedal to the floor, he actually caught on pretty quickly.
We got out on the highway after about 15 minutes (we were 2 minutes away based on normal driving). Based on the high pitch squeal that the 6 cylinder was making as we drove down the highway and the fact that Dadiji was yelling, “won’t this thing go any faster?”, it was pretty clear that Dadiji was still in 1st gear.
I yelled at him to push the stick up into 2nd gear, and after a few tries he did, with so much force I thought it would break off. The car lurched forward a little faster.
For reasons I can’t explain, during the 30 minute trip down the highway I doze off most of the time.
I do remember hearing two people yelling at each other over and over again.
Steve kept yelling “3rd gear, get in 3rd gear you dumb A** (&^%$^%() idiot!”
Dadiji kept yelling back, “Shut up you stupid A**(^&$%%($!@##$$+_) OLD Drunk!”
At one point I woke up and again heard the squealing noises of the motor and realized that we had driven well over 30 miles down the highway in 2nd gear.
Fortunately it was not my car. And, Steve was so drunk, he forgot all about it.
Yes we got home safely after well over an hour on the road.
Yes, the next time I went out with these guys, I was the Designated Driver.
No, Dadiji never went out with us again.
This has been another story shared by Teddy Burriss. I hope you enjoyed it.