Airborne

Everyone should have a good “airborne in a car” story.  This is mine.

It was the spring of 2003, and I was enjoying life as a college senior with a few months left of irresponsibility before the real world set in.  As an added bonus, good ol’ Dad had let me sell his 1998 Toyota Corolla CE 5-speed to assist with the purchase of my very own 2003 Acura RSX Type S.  Thanks, Pop.

Anyway, school wasn’t too far from home, and one weekend I made the trek back to hang out with my best bud (and later best man, who would later call me out in front of the entire wedding reception, including Dad, about an accidental off-roading incident in the Corolla back in high school—but that’s another story).  We were out tearing around in the new ride without a care in the world.  Mom had wanted us to grab a few things for dinner, so one of our stops was gonna be the SuperFresh.

Now, the standard route to the SuperFresh involved some pretty heavily-trafficked roads, especially on the weekends at midday.  However, as there usually is in eastern PA, there was a back way.  I was quite familiar with this back way—I knew, for example, that it was newly repaved, and included one of those slight-incline-into-a-sudden-drops that bring your stomach up into your eyeballs even when negotiated at speeds well below the legal limit.  Check it out on Google Earth at 40° 4’40.59″N, 75°40’13.44″W.

I hadn’t been this way before in the Acura, because I hadn’t been very many places at all in the Acura, having only owned her for a couple months.  I wasn’t quite in tune with how much faster she was than your average Corolla.  I do, however, remember quite clearly telling my bud to hold the two bottles of Sprite Remix in the cupholder down—right before I downshifted into third and pressed the gas to the floor.  I think the fastest I’d ever crested that rise before was about forty-five…not sure, but I’m thinking we were goin’ about sixty-five or seventy on this attempt.

It occurred to me as the road fell away that it did so more quickly and with greater authority than it ever had before.  Time slowed, and I turned my head to look at my cohort.  I noted the leaves and branches that were passing by outside the window behind him, and mused that they were a marked departure from the usual trunks and roots one normally sees when operating a motor vehicle within its accustomed environment.  Anyway, my associate was staring right back at me, and we in unison hollered, “OH, SH*T!”

A higher power smiled on us that day, and the front-engine, front-drive Acura leaned forward so that as we re-entered the atmosphere, she touched down on all fours simultaneously, still on the down-slope of the hill.  A guy in an Explorer going the other way gaped at us with eyes the size of dinner plates as we shot past.

The next good place to stop was the SuperFresh parking lot, and we parked out on the far reaches so we could give Acura a good looking over after the adrenalin shakes wore off.  Clean.  Flawless.  Nothing but a couple scrapes on the underbody plastic.  My buddy howled, “AGAIN!”

We didn’t go again, and I’ve grown up a bit since then.  Still, there are many days when I wish that I still had that car…and that Honda/Acura still had an ounce of excitement in their lineup.