The Dip

Note: I thought I uploaded this last night – guess not.

It’s been ridiculously hot lately. When I wake up, it’s so hot there isn’t a single coherent thought in my head, just an overwhelming fuzziness that conveys the feeling of “hothothothothot!” I spend the rest of the day at home, trying to cool off or, if I’m lucky, I leave the house and go to work or the store, where there is air conditioning, my brain can cool off, and I can finally, happily, blissfully even, think. When I get home, I try to write as much as I can before I get overheated (and therefore stupid) again. So I now have several partly finished posts which I’ll be trying to finish up and post later.

Thankfully, today has been a bit cooler than usual – the sky a murky gray with thick clouds, the high humidity wreaking havoc on my hair for no good reason – and so I, home from work late in the evening, the sun finally having gone down,find myself able to think more clearly. I’m rather tired though – the heat, more than work, is quite draining for me, and for a moment I thought of maybe going to bed early. Going to bed early appeals to me – I’m a night owl and rarely can make myself sleep at night properly. To me it makes more sense to sleep during the day when it’s too darn hot and the sun sends it’s punishing rays down at my skin – the worst time to be out in the sun is from approximately 10 am to 4 pm, because that’s when the UV rays are the most concentrated. But I digress.

I was eating a quick snack when I heard the most grating noise, a loud, long “bwrrrrrrrr” of a passing, speeding motorbike. A bit later, the much deeper “vwmvwmvwmvmmm” of a car went by too. The loud noises completely woke me up – oh, I was still tired, I just knew I couldn’t go to sleep just yet.

It’s a noise that has become more and more pervasive in recent years, especially during the summer when the sun goes down and the police aren’t throwing up speed traps in the early afternoon to catch people going a little above the speed limit by the semi-nearby school. The sound of drag racers, because that’s what those noises are, used to never be heard in this area, never, never ever. That was because of The Dip.

The Dip was a rather pronounced dip at a crossroads that went behind my house, and it was big enough that it was given a speed limit of 10 mph when the rest of the street was 35 mph. People would be driving the road, cruising along, when they’d see the sign, see The Dip, and almost screech to a stop to inch slowly thru it. There was no reason to go that slow – it was deep, but not that deep. Still, everyone who knew of The Dip would speak of it in almost reverential tones, as though in awe that something that massive could possible exist in our tiny city. Yes, you could hear the capitalization in their voice: The Dip.

Some people complained that it was dangerous. I must say, however, was that the biggest danger was to people who were familiar with the area. That’s right, familiar. Those people shrugged off the dangers inherent in the dip and would try to speed through it, despite the face that it is part of a four-way stop. One time a van flipped over – the woman lived about a mile away and drove down that street everyday. Another time a person in a sleek looking mid-sized sedan hit it too fast while trying to turn left, skidded out, and flew across the street, snapped a tree in half, uprooted some bushes, and broke through some of the brick wall behind the trees and bushes. She herself was flung from the vehicle. Not only was she speeding, she wasn’t wearing her seat belt. She also lived nearby and drove down that street everyday. Both people were fine.

Most incidents involving The Dip were much less dangerous and a lot funnier. One time we heard a loud clatter. Running upstairs to the balcony to look out over the brick wall, we started laughing when we realized that a guy in a pickup truck with a ladder on top had hit the dip a bit too hard, then hit their brakes too hard, and the ladder flew off the top of the truck more than fifty feet to land behind our house with a loud shakkashakka! Whoops – it seems he forgot to fasten it down.

Strangers to the area didn’t make the same mistake. Almost everyone upon seeing The Dip would drop to below ten miles an hour and coast through it. It became even worse when someone had taken a big black sticker and put it between the one and the zero on the 10 mph, so it looked like it said 1.0 mph, even if the dot was much too large compared to the other numbers. People seemed to take it even more seriously.

In the dark, and sitting in the back of a car, it’s hard to tell how fast you are going. Sometimes my sister and I would find ourselves being driven home from church, among other places, by people who weren’t familiar with the area. One time we warned the driver too late about just how big The Dip was. He hit the brakes so hard that us three girls  in the backseat – my sister, myself, and another girl who was also being dropped off – ended up hitting our heads on the roof of the car. Not hard, no, but it was enough to surprise us all. To be honest, we all burst out laughing because of just how much he panicked over the size of The Dip.

Years back, not long after I started driving, they decided to fill in and level out the road completely. I find myself missing The Dip, especially on nights when that long stretch of road seems to invite even more drag racers than normal.

It’s amazing how the most innocuous, ridiculous things, such as The Dip, can leave a lasting impression on a person. The people who knew about it and lived nearby The Dip would speak of it in proprietary terms, as if they were proud of it. People may feel the same way about a pond, a park, a side alley, some place nearby that they had some sort of connection to growing up. Did you?

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~ by cerridwyn eldritch on July 11, 2013.

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