My husband, Hick, is always getting us into situations with an O. Henry Magi twist.
This evening, after a torrential daylong downpour, I was driving home along overflowing drainage ditches and partially-submerged pavement when my phone rang. I was in a quandary. I dodged an oncoming car. Should I keep both hands on the wheel so the standing water did not pull me off the road? Should I answer the phone in case it was my husband or just-licensed son, perhaps needing assistance?
A particularly treacherous section lay just ahead. The two-lane blacktop is about one-and-a-half lanes on a dry day. It takes attention and catlike reflexes to pass a car at this spot, because the blacktop is warped and buckled, and there's no shoulder to excuse an error in judgment. Now, it was flooded across the entire width. Not enough to wash me away, but enough to pull me off the road into some barbed wire.
I glanced at the phone in my purse. It was Hick. I had about an eighth of a mile to the tricky part. But Hick might have run into trouble on the way to his bowling league. I answered. "Skterek skiti skjje sxocol scrlrr." That was perplexing. I told Hick that I did not understand. "Skterek skiti skjje sxocol scrlrr." I said that I could not hear. "Skterek skiti skjje sxocol scrlrr!"
By this time, I was in the puddle. I wrestled the steering wheel with one hand. A car approached. I hung up, and tossed my phone to my 13-year-old, the boy we call The Pony. "Here. See what your dad wants. Tell him I needed two hands to drive through this water."
The Pony relayed the information. He listened for a minute. He said, "Hmm...call ended. I guess Dad was done talking. He said it didn't matter."
Two roads and three miles later, I called Hick myself.
"What did you want when you called? All I could hear was static."
"To tell you that you were coming up on a big puddle."
Only Hick would call me when I needed two hands to negotiate a puddle, in order to tell me that I was approaching a big puddle.