The One With the Gate Guard


As a kid, I wore Forest Gump style leg braces because I was knock-kneed and pigeon-toed. When those finally came off, I was still knock-kneed and pigeon-toed, but someone decided it was a good idea to have me play soccer. Before I could play, I had to hand over my big, round, red-rimmed glasses. So there I was in the middle of a soccer field, chasing after a ball I could barely see only to kick at it and end up on my rear. If “bench rider” had been a position in under-8 soccer I would have been a star.

Today, I have contacts and slightly less crazy legs. As much as I try to shake it though, klutz is still stuck to me like glue. One day, I worked up the nerve to drive my husband into work. No, I don’t have some crazy fear of being on base. Driving and I just don’t get along very well. During Driver’s Ed the teacher asked what I would do to prepare my car for a road trip, and I replied take it to Jiffy Lube. As far as maintaining the car myself, I can fill it up, drive through the car wash, and speed-dial my uncle who is a mechanic. My friends say I drive like a grandma, I always park at the far end of parking lots to, well, avoid other cars,  and I will plan my day to avoid doing errands at rush hour. Needless to say, the thought of navigating the speed blocks and bumps into and out of base made me uneasy.

Fortunately, I drove onto base without a hitch. I slowed down for the guard booth, my husband and I both showed ID, and I drove him to the drop off point. I breathed a sigh of relief. That was a piece of cake!

I sighed too soon. On the way out of base, I was the only car on the road. Somehow, I got selected for a random vehicle search. I’d never seen a search before, let alone been searched myself. When the guard asked if I had any contraband, I chuckled nervously and said no. I got The Look. Chuckling was not allowed. He then asked me to open all the compartments, pop the trunk, and open the hood. I climbed around the car, opening the console and glove box, hitting the hood release, and opening the trunk. I stepped away from the car and waited.

“Ma’am” he started, and I glanced behind me to see who he was talking to. There was no one there, so apparently I was a “ma’am” now. “You need to open the hood.” I looked confused. I’d pulled the latch and it had popped up a bit, but I had no clue what to do next. So I walked around the front of the car and began fiddling with the hood for a good five minutes. Now he was the one chuckling at me. Finally, I found the latch, opened the hood, and put the bar in place. Two minutes later, the search was done, the hood was closed, and I was on my way home.

When I told this story to my husband, he was anything but sympathetic. Instead, he laughed until tears ran down his face. I’m sure all his buddies laughed about it the next day, and I became that spouse. So, word to the wise, before you drive onto base, know how to work your car!

Who else has a funny newbie story to share?

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