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That Time I Nearly Rolled a U-Haul Down a Hill

I could see the headline rolling across my mind as I drove a 24 foot long U-Haul truck through a narrow up hill road in the rain. Ideally, the headline would say “Beloved Writer Dies in Blaze of Glory, Thousands of Secret Lovers Revealed in Aftermath.” However, the reality of the situation is that the headline would say “Local Idiot Dies in Truck Incident, Was Wearing Spongebob Underwear.” As those thoughts went through my mind, I too thought of the other outcome, should I prove successful in this venture. At least, I would be thanked. At most, I would be thanked, and given an Applebees gift card.

The reason as to why I found myself behind the wheel of a behemoth U-Haul truck is that my Aunt and her husband were moving into a new house, and they needed help. I consider myself a very competent and rather good driver, but the idea of driving a truck that is partially to blame for the ice caps melting, isn't something that thrills me. Initially, I wouldn't have to worry about the U-Haul, I was on box duty. I showed up at my Aunt's old house the day of the move, and we loaded the back of my Honda Pilot up with as much as we could stuff into it with two rows folded down.

The amount of time it takes to get from my Aunt's old house to her new house is a drive of around 40 minutes. The road which my Aunt's new home is situated on is a little bit strange, shaped like a short Y you have to pull immediately off the main road onto this side street, then sharply to the left. This eventually forks off to the left again, onto a road that is VERY narrow, with just enough room for one vehicle. If you met another person on this road, it would be a stand off as to which one would back up to let the other through.

One benefit of being on this out of the way road is the view. The narrow road rests above a moderately steep hill that overlooks part of the town with the mountains in full view. Right below you can see an office building or two, a grocery store, and a McDonald's. Despite the call for rain that day, when I pulled onto the narrow path, the sun was out, and it was a particularly striking day to pause and admire the view, which I did. I went along the road and into the driveway of my Aunt's new house. My Aunt and her husband followed soon in the U-Haul.

Between unloading the U-Haul, and unloading my Honda, it took about three hours to finish it all. In the middle of it, Auntie told me it would need at least one more trip to get it all moved. My Aunt very much wanted to finish as soon as possible, but there was still the lingering threat of rain the air. When we finished, it was still sunny and not looking like rain was eminent, so we agreed to go back to the old house and load up again while the getting was good.

At the old house my car was once again loaded down with boxes, we were in the middle of getting the U-Haul packed full—with help from their neighbors at the old place—when we noticed the sun began to quickly fade away. A downpour was upon us. A rush set in to get the U-Haul loaded as quickly as possible. In that rush, my Aunt's husband slipped and fell on the ramp trying to load a dresser onto the truck. His foot was twisted, he could walk, just ever so. Driving a 24 foot U-Haul truck in the rain? Not so much. This, my friends, is how I came to find myself behind the wheel of a 24 foot U-Haul truck in the rain.

My Aunt and her husband followed in my car, and I made the journey up the highway praying like I had never prayed before, enjoying the heightened sense of dread and anxiety that being behind the wheel of a 24 foot truck for the first time in my life brings. As I made my way up the interstate in the behemoth, with part of my aunt's possessions in the back, I began to relax and a sense of confidence built up inside me. “Yeah. I AM driving this truck!” I thought as I felt good and mainly and all that other crap some ad agency would have you believe.

I was doing fine with the truck till I got to that odd Y shaped road. I carefully pulled onto it, the first fork, and then slowly made my way over to the narrow road that forks off. I began to make my way on the narrow path, trying to not look at the steep hill, the rain, the dark sky, and focus my best on getting to the drive way. Right as I made it to where I had stopped earlier to admire the view, a large, dual wheeled, pick up truck came into view, coming right for me. One of us would have to move for the other one, and the pick up truck driver didn't flinch. The pick up truck began to inch closer to me.

In this stand off it was becoming clear I would have to move. Rain flying all around me, I slowly began to back up, trying my damnedest not to hit anything, anyone, or send myself flying down into the McDonald's below. I imagined a 1940s police detective walking up to my body and remarking “he died as he lived, with his mouth full of french fries.” I was doing fine, till the truck began to get aggressively closer to me. That's when I cut the wheel slightly wrong, I felt the back left end of the truck go off the road. I froze, and pondered my death.

Right as I froze, I noticed I was back enough for the truck to angrily drive around me, which it did as the driver shot the bird in my general direction. I can't imagine why I got the finger, perhaps the pick up truck driver had a traumatic childhood experience involving U-Haul trucks? Regrouped, I drove the truck to the driveway of my Aunt's new home, parked it, and we finished the move. I was proud of myself, and thankful that my Aunt's husband was willing to drive the truck back to whence it came the following day. So if you need helping moving, um, call someone else.


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