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Carol Perkins: The most idiotic thing I've done in my life
Heretofore, the pact to never tell anyone about what happened in South Carolina so many years ago has been religiously adhered to; but now, all is revealed - except for the names of the four other female Metcalfe County, KY accomplices. A story, if set to Country Music, to rival Neil Simon's "The Out-of-Towners" and a story which will elicit memories, for many of us, when the best judgment was abandoned. - CM
Next previous Carol Perkins article: Carol Perkins: Never miss a party!
By Carol Perkins
For many years, a group of my friends and I have taken an "all girls" vacation. Sometimes the crowd varies as does the location. When we were younger, we preferred long hours on sandy beaches, sitting next to the shoreline in a chair that sank in the sand as the waves pushed the water over us. At night, we ate well and shopped along the Boardwalk and came home with tans. Myrtle Beach was our favorite place to go.
One of the most memorable times happened near one of the main attractions, an amusement park, in downtown Myrtle Beach in the late 70's. There were five of us on this trip, all in one vehicle. We were looking for a place to eat that night and pulled into the parking lot of a locally owned diner across from the park. Evidently the owner had had so much trouble with tourist not eating in his establishment but parking there, that he had posted huge, "YOU WILL BE TOWED" signs all over his lot.
The line was long in the diner, so we decided to browse in nearby shops before going back there to eat. Big Mistake. When we came back about thirty minutes later, my car was gone. No car. Gone. Guy will never believe this. That is all I could think. Exasperated, we marched inside the diner to question the owner. He was a hotheaded little man who didn't like us.
He yelled, "DID YOU SEE THAT SIGN? YOU WERE PARKED ILLEGALLY."
"BUT WE CAME IN HERE TO EAT AND THE PLACE WAS CROWDED SO WE WERE COMING BACK."
"THAT'S WHAT THEY ALL SAY."
We bickered as only five strong-willed women can do and he finally flipped us a card with the phone number of the tow business. Just as he did, we saw the tow truck attaching yet another vehicle to it, so we dashed out and surrounded him, talking at once.
All, that is, except my cousin Roberta who bravely stood outside the restaurant and told potential customers not to go in there; the food was bad. That took guts.
"How do I get my car back?" I asked the tow driver.
"You'll have to come to this address," he said as he handed me his card.
"Why can't we ride with you since you're going there now?" I thought that would save us the cost of a cab.
"Lady, I'm not allowed to take passengers."
After pleading with him that we didn't have enough extra money for the cab and the cost of the tow, I think he felt sorry for us. "Ok, but I'm not supposed to do this."
When he opened the door, all of us climbed in like mice crawling over a piece of cheese. "Hold on, ladies. There isn't room for five people in here."
"We're all going; we'll fit somehow."
We wedged inside in spite of his protests. We sat in each other's laps and the poor man barely had room to shift the gears. We assumed the establishment was near town, but we were wrong. We rode for miles, leaving the lights of the city behind. The driver turned into a deserted area and down a dark road. There, in the middle of nowhere, a wire fence rose high around the kidnapped vehicles and the only sign of life was a man sitting inside a block building.
"Hey, these women are here to get their car," the driver yelled at the man who took his time coming outside.
"You bring them here? You know you ain't supposed to do that."
We filed out like the children in the shoe, paid the man and got out of there as fast as we could. By then it was late.
On the way back to town, we analyzed what could have happened to us. "If we had disappeared, who would have had any clue what happened to us except the man in the diner."
"We can't tell anyone about this. We could have been kidnapped or murdered."
"All five of us?"
Looking back, I can see every detail of this night vividly. The diner, the stack of brochures my cousin wanted to turn over on her way out the door, and the way we were crammed in that tow truck bouncing down that dreary road, and the dark lot that more of a junk yard than a lot. This was the most idiotic thing I have ever done at that point in my life. Naive and idiotic.
I imagine that driver went home that night, woke up his wife and said, "You'll never believe what happened tonight." I sure didn't call home and tell Guy.
Carol Perkins is a regular weekly ColumbiaMagazine.com columnist and a co-host with Susan Chambers on the very popular The "Susan & Carol, Unscripted" show, live. FM 99.1 radio each Tuesday Morning at 10amCT.
This story was posted on 2016-04-21 03:07:30
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