My friend Suresh had this old beaten up car which he claimed he got in exchange for a toaster oven and an old Indian rug. Since I had no car and the bus service in Iowa was rather spotty we would use Suresh’s car for commutes to college or the grocery store or to a friend’s house. One day we were driving to a friend’s place for a party and I told Suresh a very funny joke. We both laughed so hard that we accidentally banged on the floorboard and it fell off the car! We were quite startled to see the ground beneath the car as we drove but like Tony Soprano would say “What you gonna do?” So we continued driving but the car engine shut off while we were waiting for a signal light to turn green.
I suggested to Suresh that we might be able to maneuver the car forward from inside the car much like the Flintstones rather than get out and push the car. Suresh agreed. It was winter in Iowa and the weather was cold. The friend’s house that we were going to was only another half mile away so we started pushing the car from inside the car. Suddenly, we could see police lights from behind our car and a voice bellowing “Pull over!” So we pulled over to the side and a cop peeks in and says “How in the world is this thing moving forward without the engine being on?” He is rather stunned to see the floorboard missing. He must be a nice cop because he admires our Indian ingenuity and lets us go on our way. So we get to the friend’s house and have a rather nice party.
So when we come out of the party a few other friends join us to help start the car. We fiddle under the hood and pretty soon get the car started. Now another problem crops up. The car’s forward gears didn’t engage and the car could only go in the reverse gear! We think for a while and figure that since our house was only a mile and half behind us perhaps we can drive to our house in reverse. So here we are going in reverse and again get pulled over by a cop.”What the hell is going on here?” he bellowed as he approached our car. It turns out that it is the same kind cop who again admires our ingenuity. “I guess I could declare this car not roadworthy but I like you guys so I will let you go!” he says and as he leaves us. Just as he is leaving a thought strikes me. I ask Suresh. “Which side of the street should we be driving on? Should we driving on the other side and join the opposing traffic or drive on the side we are now and keep going in reverse?” Unfortunately I couldn’t check this with the cop because he was already gone.
Suresh had only 2 months left to graduation so he didn’t want to fix the car or buy another one. So for the next two months we made quite a spectacle driving the Flintstones car in Iowa. People actually became rather fond of our car with no floorboards and that would only drive in reverse and they accommodated us wherever they could and even greeted us with honks. Suresh never told me what he did with the Flintstones car upon his graduation. I hope he exchanged it back for his toaster and old rug.