When a bunch of us decided to spend a glorious weekend on Ocracoke Island at the outset of the summer, my friends Nate and Sherry and I planned a drive out to Hatteras later on that Friday afternoon to catch the ferry due to the fact that we - unlike those other losers who got on the early boat and started drinking at, like, TWO, - we had to work. We piled into Nate's car, which is always impeccably clean and cool and nice smelling. It's like staying in a hotel where someone makes the bed for you and vacuums daily and you feel so taken care of. You would understand this comparison if you saw the inside of my car, which is, shall we say, unlike a hotel.
Our drive was four hours of amazingly entertaining conversation. As we'd never really taken that drive to the coast, at least not in recent years, the scenery provided a lot to talk about. That open field. That flock of birds. That run down shack and how it really wouldn't be surprising to see a crack addict murdering someone or a crystal meth laboratory in full production mode down here in these parts.
Towards the end of the trip we even started saying things in unison. You know, reading road signs together and laughing at how funny it all was and in love we all were with one another. What great road trip partners! "To Cape Hatteras!" "25 miles per hour!" "Scenic lookout point!"
What made the trip even better was despite the fact that it was a pretty long drive, a holiday weekend and we'd taken the time to stop for some delicious Taco Bell to re-energize, we were all set to catch the 10 p.m. ferry to Ocracoke. We would speed if we had to. Speed big time.
When we started getting close to the coast and mile markers indicated that getting to the ferry on time would be a little tight, Nate put the petal to the metal and we cheered him on. He knew how to work it, too. With a mere five minutes or so til 10, Sherry and I were getting more silent realizing we just might not make it. And then Nate turned to us with a grand sparkle in his eyes, pointed to his car's digital clock and said, "Guess what, ladies? It's fast." With that he zoomed forward like a gallant knight atop a white steed and we cheered again. There was no way in hell we would miss this boat.
Except there was.
With less than ten miles to go a sheriff's deputy pulled his car out in front of ours and we uttered a collective expletive as we realized that this guy, he had a lot of time on his hands. The speed limit was 25 and this totally kickass law enforcement officer on a power trip proceeded to go 24 miles per hour forcing us, of course, to do the same. When the speed limit increased to 35 he went 34 and he played this little mind game almost all the way to the ferry when he took a quick, reckless almost, turn into the sheriff's office, we guessed to punch his time card and go home. Or maybe go out and get wasted with his buddies and talk about "the time he had screwing with these out of towners!" We don't know.
We arrived at the Hatteras dock, literally, as the 10 o'clock ferry was pulling away. The very nice guards on duty told us, "Oh you just missed it!" Yes, we knew. It didn't turn out so bad, really, because we called the others, the ones who'd taken the day off and the early ferry - the ones who'd had margaritas once onboard and basked in the afternoon sun? They'd forgotten to collect firewood for the campsite. So we opened a few cold ones and enjoyed Nate's nice clean car, and waited for the 11 o'clock ferry. We were first in line to get on board.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATHAN!