While I was still working in finance my colleague who owned La Bete, The BMW M3, began working at the New York Branch of our firm. I still commuted to Connecticut from Astoria, so from then on, I would take the Metro-North. I would leave my house at 5:45 am and grab the M60 bus at Astoria BLVD. I would take the bus across the Triborough Bridge to The Metro-North train station at 125th between Park and Lexington. Sometimes, I would be early enough to catch the 6:30 am express train, but most of the time it was that 6:45 am local train. I would get to the office with just enough time to set things up before we began the “all branches meeting” from 8:00 – 9:00 am. Most evenings, I would return home by reversing the route, but sometimes I would catch a ride with La Bete’s roommate who also still worked in the same office in Connecticut.
One day, my then girlfriend’s father, who lived in North Carolina, was going to fly to England to visit his mother. He was going to drive up to NY first and take an international flight from JFK. He asked I would mind parking his car near my apartment and moving it, so it wouldn’t be ticketed. He also said I could drive the car whenever I wanted. When he flew back from England, he would drive the car home from New York. I agreed, and for the first few days, I would move it when alternate street parking went into effect. I drove it to work once, and that was enough. Having grown up in New York City I didn’t have the same affinity for driving many of my friends who’d grown up outside of NYC had. I had gotten my license mostly to use as an ID; not because I would be doing a lot of driving. Currently, I have a learner’s permit for the same reason. To give you some context, when I lived in Asia, my license expired. If you move to a different state (I settled in Virginia) with an expired license, you have to re-take all of the tests again. Lingering side effects from the ruptured brain aneurysm has also dissuaded me from pursuing a license. Rather than do that I just took the written test. It was me and a bunch of sixteen-year-olds with their parents. I made sure to point out how none of them should be like me. Never let your license expire.
A few days before I was to return the car to my girlfriend’s father, La Bete invited me to go to a submission MMA tournament in New Jersey. I don’t remember why, but he didn’t have his car, so I offered to drive. Saturday morning, I picked everyone up on the Upper East Side and drove crosstown. There were four of us in total. We were going to take the George Washington bridge. Everything was fine; except it had poured the night before, so the road was a little slick. Just as I was taking the last curve onto the highway, the car hydroplaned into the guardrail. Thankfully, no one was hurt. The front of the car looked like an accordion, and to go straight I had to turn the wheel to the right. Eventually, I was able to pull over out of traffic. The door was out of alignment, so it was essentially sealed shut. I crawled through the window and dialed my girlfriend. I believe I said something like “Everyone is OK, but I just totaled your father’s car.” Once the adrenalin wore off, I couldn’t help thinking of multiple ways her father would kill me for destroying his Toyota Matrix. Since La Bete’s owner had grown up a few towns over, he was able to call his friend’s father who was a mechanic. The garage sent a tow truck to retrieve the car. Thankfully, my then girlfriend’s father’s insurance covered all of the damage, and while the car was totaled he was able to get two new cars in the settlement. The same night of the accident my then-girlfriend and I went to a Halloween party. We were going to go as Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone from Anchorman. However, in light of what had happened, I decided to go as Ron Burgundy after he’s hit rock bottom. For the entire evening, I would drink beer from an empty milk carton and repeatedly say “Milk was a bad choice.”
Andrew Davie received an MFA in creative writing from Adelphi University. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant. In June of 2018, he survived a ruptured brain aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. His other work can be found in links on his website: asdavie.wordpress.com