Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Golf Cart Incident

When I was a senior in high school, I was president of student government, which was more like a planning committee than a government system. Our first event of the year was a student retreat, and as a member of student governement, I had the privilege of driving around the golf carts at the retreat center.

I had been driving the electric cart, but one morning, my friend switched carts with me and gave me the gas-powered cart. I hopped in and realized immediately that the accelerator was much jumpier than the electric cart. I was crossing a street when it jumped all funny on me, and next thing I knew, I lost control of the steering.

There I was, straight-A, goody-two-shoes, student government president Deborah plowing a golf cart into five short wooden posts lining the mulched walkway. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

I stopped, breathed, and drove extremely slowly back to the meeting hall, avoiding any sharp turns. Then I did what any straight-A, goody-two-shoes, student government president would do: say nothing and pretend it didn't happen.

A few hours later, I walked past the golf cart, surrounded by my principal, superintendent and some other teachers. I tried to look busy and aloof. My principal stopped me and told me about the golf cart's broken axle. I tried my best to look surprised and confused, and proceeded to walk by as if it didn't concern me.

Then she pulled my arm and asked if I knew anything about it.

Then I shamefully told her everything.

The good news: she laughed, and I didn't have to pay for the golf cart. The bad news: I was the kid that crashed a golf cart. No one believed me when I said it was all jumpy. They just thought I was a bad driver, which I wasn't.

It's frustrating when no one believes you. It's also frustrating when people say you're a bad driver, and you're not.

C'est la vie.

Flash forward 9 months. I've now lived my entire senior year with frequent retellings of this story. I'm on senior trip on a ferry to Catalina Island. My friend refers to the golf cart story, and I nod like I've heard it before. But then he tells me that he had been driving the gas-powered cart the night before the incident and heard something fall off. He kept going. The next day, he switched carts with me because he knew it was driving funny.

Something important fell off that cart that night. Something that makes a golf cart non-jumpy.

And that's the story of how I was inadvertantly sabatoged.
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