My "first time" actually means the day I took my driver's test. I don't recall my first day as the following day eclipse's it.
I am driving to the driver's test site in an '84 Buick Estate Wagon. I come to a light with a railroad crossing just prior to it and the guy ahead stops for the light. I thought he was going to go through the light! So now my car gets stuck on the tracks.
Now my Mom, who happened to WORK for this railroad (LIRR, which I later worked for in college) says, "don't worry, it's a quiet branch."
Now, I know this as the Central Branch has maybe 9 trains a day at MOST. So I'm thinking what are the odds that a trains is coming right now.
DING DING DING DING.
Shit. The crossing gate bells start sounding off. As I turn to the right, I see the Montauk express out of Jamaica station cruising at me at full speed. I start breaking out into laughter (my nervous response) as I starting trying to back the car off the tracks.
My head is turned to the back of the car, yelling at the car behind me to back up. As I do this,
the CROSSING GATE, slams onto my windshield. It doesn't break but the sound freaks me out even more as I back up the car inch by inch, stuck between the gate, tracks and the traffic behind me.
The antenna of my car cracks off due to the crossing gate now snapping it off as I try to back up as much as I can.
Now the 5 chime Nathan air horns are pumping louder and louder. The nose/hood of my car is still sticking out under the X-ing gate by 3.5 feet.
Engine 272's horns are blaring at me when
, she screams past us, horns ablaze and the car shakes and shimmies due to her force as she runs past. The trains was going so fast and the front of the car was so close that the hood emblem on the car rotated as it went by. We missed each over by a mere 2 feet.
I missed a moving train by 2 feet on the way
to my driver's test.
(I later worked for the LIRR and got lots of rides in the engines. It's a much different perspective being in that locomotive and bearing down on cars on the tracks, knowing there's nothing you can do but hope the other person gets out the way.)
I did pass the driver's test about 15 minutes later. But I learned an early lesson: Don't expect the guy ahead of you to make the light.
[Edited 2003-03-13 06:52:11]
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st