13 November, 2014    #24

Crossing Bridges 1

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Mr. Menendez, owner of the Gulfstream market in Key West, was in the process of replacing several freezer units when the backup unit also began to fail.   It was quickly decided, before the market opened that morning, that an employee with truck driving experience should travel to Miami and return with a rented refrigeration truck before days end. 


Without much thought, I immediately volunteered, mainly to avoid the monotony of restocking shelves, sweeping floors plus the perceived excitement of travel.  After informing the manager that I once drove a small pizza truck, it was agreed that I should immediately board the next bus out of the Keys.  Not mentioning that I only drove that truck for one day and had no valid driverís license, didnít seem that important at the time.  I was 18, on my own and had a fake driverís license to help bolster my social agenda!


 Within the hour, I found myself relaxing on a Greyhound bus traveling to Miami.  The intermittent flash of opposing traffic viewed from my elevated window seat was ominously riveting, especially while crossing Seven Mile Bridge, a two lane highway barely wide enough for two cars.  The fact that I would be driving a truck across this narrow strip of cement in a few hours had not yet registered.  I was simply enjoying a mini holiday! 


On Key Largo, I decided to examine my forged NY Driverís License for any signs of obvious alteration.  Opening my wallet, I carefully removed and unfolded a two inch square of paper.  In 1962, a driverís license was little more than a postcard size document with an official government stamp, and very easy to alter.  I found the license in a gym locker and meticulously altered the personal information to gain entrance into nightclubs.  It was a great work of art!


Arriving in Miami, I took a cab to the rental agency and presented my license upon request.  It was closely scrutinized, but eventually accepted, most likely because the truck rental was prepaid.  After signing documents, I was led to the waiting vehicle where my preconceived perception of a small refrigeration truck was abruptly shattered.  Viewing the 30 foot monster of a truck with a dash board resembling an aircraft, was mentally gripping!  Thinking quickly, I asked for cockpit instructions before attempting to negotiate city streets.


After a few sporadic solo laps around the rental lot, I cautiously exited the establishment and abruptly stalled the truck in the middle of an intersection.  Ignoring the blast of horns and finger signs, I was on my way. As I began to adjust to my new reality, there was no time to reflect or contemplate anything; downtown Miami was just ahead.


Continued Trax News #25




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