Graham's True Stories
Number 27, Pancho
You can blame Fanatic Mary Lehrhoff for this story. She wrote in FWF a whiles back asking if I ever got to NJ. Which reminded me of my last visit to Newark. Maggie and I had been plane hopping and driving around the States using the Visit America scheme whereby you can pre-purchase a book of tickets at $100 a throw and use them between any connecting North West flights.
国厂精品114福利电影Our last car hire was in PA and the plan was to drop it off in NYC and spend a couple of days catching up with old friends before the trip home. Unfortunately, Alamo, the car-hire company I was using, has no locations in Manhattan and the car had to be dropped off at Newark.
I had Alamo at Newark phone for a cab to take me into the big city, but when it arrived we were in for a little shock. I know that when cars pass their use-by date and fail all control tests that, before going to that great scrap yard in the sky, they spend a given time as NYC cabs before their final demise.
But the vehicle that turned up looked as though it had just taken part in a demolition derby - and lost. One headlamp pointed aimlessly at the sky. The other had probably departed at the same time as the front fender. The roof was dented (how do you dent a roof?) and the whole colour scheme was a mottled grey and red where previous owners had tried, and failed, to keep rust at bay.
国厂精品114福利电影It lurched to a stop and the driver, (we'll call him Pancho) got out. So did his wife and his two children. Clearly P was a family man and where he went, they all went. Their dog stayed in the vehicle. Pancho blanched a little at the number of suitcases - we were at the end of a month-long trip and a couple of the cases held complete, stripped-down treadle machines - and opened the trunk.
国厂精品114福利电影There would have been enough room were it not for the spare wheels.. There were three of them, each adorned by what had once been tyres but now as devoid of pattern as those bolted (I hoped) to the corners of our conveyance.
国厂精品114福利电影Pancho started to attempt the impossible. He tried every permutation of case and wheel, but two cases still remained. Let me cut down on the agony a little. Maggie rode in the back with two cases one dog and one child. I had the front seat (someone had to navigate) with the other child and the wife - did I mention she was eight months pregnant?
Pancho spoke no English. His wife spoke not at all. The eldest child, about 10 I guess, acted as interpreter sufficiently to translate my left, right, straight ahead, don't hit that hot-dog stand, etc, instructions into whatever language Pancho understood. We only used one of the spare wheels – just before the Holland Tunnel.
And what a team Mr and Mrs P turned out to be. Their wheel change would be the envy of any Indianapolis pit crew. I guess if you do a thing enough times you get pretty good at it.... This was third-world travel in the middle of the richest country in the world.
America, you never cease to amaze me.