Saturday, October 6, 2012

Asleep At The Switch

Here's a look back at some old memories of business road trips of a few years ago. Written November 4, 2009.

Ah, ... the road can kill ya at six stops a day with about 50 miles between each stop.

Especially if you're retarded ... like me! Now, that's probably not politically correct to say anymore ... but I don't think it's extraditable ... and it does accurately describe my functionality when I have to drive past so many beautiful things to see out the window. I cease to pay attention to the important things that sustain rental car movement. Here's what I mean.

Today, I had to head up to Payson, AZ from Phoenix. It was my last stop of the day and it represented the longest portion of the days driving. I love Arizona cactus photos ... so, as I was driving through the Tonto National Forest with my head in the clouds, I kept firing photos at about 45-60 mph out the window. Just a cruisin'! Everything was cool. You know, ... it was just another day sitting by the pool in your Speedo when you hear your granddaughter say, "Pop-Pop, I brought you some lemonade ... and uh, what's up with the Speedo?" OK, I just said that to scare some of my friends and relatives. Anyway ...

I'm just sayin' ... everything was great. Then I remembered that I was supposed to get gas before I left Phoenix. I looked down and saw the red light was on and the gauge was already smiling proudly back at me displaying the big red E. This is not good, ... because my usually-trusty GPS said I was 43 miles from the nearest gas station. So, I am still moving but I wasn't sure exactly how long this dance card was gonna last. Vultures were now circling.

So, it's the bottom of the eighth ... and I needed to go to my bullpen for a reliever. So let me explain. We are a large family ... and like other large families ... each member differs ... and we sometimes sarcastically compliment each other in our differences by accident. This is where my oldest daughter usually chimes in with her most memorable line, "Dad, different people do different things."

I'm thinkin', "Seriously Erin? Where's your mother?"

So, I am sure you know that there are members of your family that you would call for certain situations ... and other members that well, ... FORGET IT!

So, I would like to use one of my lifelines now. This time my life line call would be best spent on our oldest son. Let's call him ... Braff Zackton!

Braff is actually is a very good call ... and a very bad call ... at the same time (because he is best at this problem ... but I will pay for this big time). He's good news and bad news all rolled into one speed dial button on my phone. You see, ... Braff actually works all day bailing people out of much worse disasters than this for a North American truck leasing company. Basically, Braff is a professional at this situation! Braff can talk Alabama accents to long haul truckers and then ten minutes later talk Bwahhhston accents with moving truck drivers that are angry that they got a flat right outside Fenway.

If you were in trouble and you had to call Braff at while he was at work, ... he could get a helicopter to land in a snow storm on the road beside your crash scene with warm blueberry muffins and McDonalds coffee. GUARANTEED, every time! And IF YOU were to call Braff when you were in trouble, ... you would get ALL THIS AND MORE with courteous assistance and light-hearted sense of humor. No strings attached! But, this is me calling him, after hours and I'm gonna pay for this for sure.

So, I call the bullpen ... and Braff has just arrived home from work. This means he's warmed up and ready to go. Braff quickly assesses the North American dialect of the caller and begins to talk the same way ... because he can. Soon you are thinking that you and Braff went to the same high school and had the same homeroom teacher. Braff could even tell ya stories about that kid with zits in the back of the class becoming the CEO of a worldwide banking company ... and you would really think you remember him.

So, Braff see's my caller ID, know it's me and answers the phone with his usual, "Now what?"

With the phone crackling I quickly find myself screaming, "Braff, I may be in trouble. I am running on empty, 43 miles south of Payson, Arizona, traveling Northbound on Highway 87. I need a gas station bad. Cell service is intermittent, ... so I may lose you."

Then I hear, "Dad, why are you calling me Braff?" Then I hear Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Either I lost cell service or he hung up. I think hung up, again... for sure ... he hung up).

So, anway, Braff got out his computer before he called me back and linked to Skynet Delta Strike Force Idiot Tracker and had a Mobil gas station built 4 miles closer to me and prepared them for my arrival. That's right! Braff had building contractors begin AND complete the building a Mobil gas station right where I ran out of gas. This kid is amazing!

If you are familiar with Payson, AZ ... you know it's a downhill glide on 87 coming into town. I saw the engine light come on while descending that hill and I shifted into neutral and officially ran out of gas. Call it! Time of death 2:42pm. I was coasting down hill with enough momentum that the car glided about 3/4 mile to the gas station including a small 180 degree turn onto the lot. The car came to rest AT the pump ... with a bit of momentum to spare.

Braff said, "Goodbye Dad, you're lucky ... and a little soft between the ears."

Another disaster averted. You could actually see the disappointment in the vultures as they flew off to find someone who didn't have Braff's cell phone number.

Thanks Braff. I know I will hear about this for the rest of my life.

33 comments:

gaelikaa said...

This is a different kind of post from you. Please write more!

Davine said...

Lucky - Lucky - Lucky, I think I need Zac's number just in case.

Trish said...

loved this story, we need a few Zacks in Aussie land , long distances between towns, and yes there are certain rellies you call in for certain jobs. Happy cruising

Concord Carpenter said...

Stephen,

Great story!

I hatewhen that happens, I came real cloe to a similar situation this past summer but was not as remote as you were.

Kudos!

Alan Burnett said...

Not only great photographs but great writing also. So glad I signed onto this Blog.

Bush Babe said...

Outstanding... and if that son of yours is worth his salt, then NO. You will not hear the end of it!!

Also, never trust a GPS. We live at whoop whoop and those things believe in roads that ain't never been built. Either that or they have a very warped sense of humour. Keep that in mind!
:-)
BB

Sharon's Cottage Quilts said...

What a GREAT way to begin the day...! Thanks so much for the laugh! Too funny..thank goodness you made it!
Blessings~Sharon

Gramma Ann said...

LOL....HAHAHAHA....Fun read as long as it isn't happening to me. hee, hee. Good son you have, coming to the rescue!

Erin said...

And P.S. - there will be no mention of the times when your kids ran out of gas...we all have a free pass now! Except...I think I used mine already!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Families are great like that!

dominique eichi said...

Wow...... on top of nice pictures you write with great gusto and fun.
Hopefully Zack won't stay too long on that pedestal !! and you will delight us with other stories from each members of your family.

ps Can I have his number just in case I run out of gas !

Stephen Baird said...

Actually ... I goofed again. I think my sons name should have been Braff Zackton. I can't remember their real names let alone their bloggie names. Braff only has a bloggie name in order to mock all things bloggie. Braff makes me look goofey when it comes to writing. He might correct my spelling for you all.
I'll take the mocking because there is nothing quite like warm muffins when you are pinned down in a ditch by an 18 wheeler. And nothing makes you forget your broken legs like when you see the arm of a rescue worker coming through the broken glass in the twisted window frame and you hear, "Hey, Braff sent you muffins and the chopper is going for coffee now."
And all you can think of saying is ... "Awhhahhwh, GET ME OUT OF HERE!"
NikonSniper Steve

Rose said...

OMG are we related? LOL that was so funny. Well not to you I am sure. Good ending to a great story.

kathrin said...

I like to see the cows, nice blog ! Kathrin

They call me "Deb" said...

I so enjoyed this! You are quite creative.
Funny isn't it, that when they're young, we constantly rescue our children. Little do they know that payback is coming!! lol
Keep writing - excellent stuff!!

Meeko Fabulous said...

I'm glad you made it to the gas station! I've never run out of gas. Well not yet. ~knocks on wood~ :)

Cheryl said...

Thank you so much for the laugh! Your writing is hilarious and would love to see more. Gosh I was holding my breath while reading this!

Nel said...

That is too funny. And you are right, you probably will never hear the end of it! Kids... you gotta love them!

Braff Zackton said...

Your issue was nothing. We get the "I ran out of fuel" call 6 times a day. Just don't call me and say:

"I put regular gas in my truck instead of diesel and now it won't stay running."
"I stopped to go to the bathroom and locked my keys and jacket in the truck and it's snowing out and I'm on the side of the road in New Jersey and it's snowing and I don't know a mile marker or exit that's near me. How long till you get someone out here?"
"I hit a deer and pushed my front bumper into my steer tires."
"I hit a deer and the antlers went under my trailer and cut my airlines."
"I swerved to avoid a moose and put my truck in a creek."
"My truck is impounded and my driver under arrest for transporting illegal immigrants. Can you send someone to get the truck?"
"The shop I'm at won't start work on my air conditioner until I remove my dog from the cab but I'm afraid if I take it out he'll die."

I wish I was making up a few of these but no they're legit... too legit... too legit to quit.

By the way I don't recall ever running out of gas myself. I recall pushing a Dodge Neon down the street though.

Tonight... is the night... of nights! Yanks 6 Phils 3.

@eloh said...

This is a great story. Good that you wrote it down (confessed to it ) in your own words...

By the by... we have more than one "language" in Alabama. If Zack can grunt talk...my hat is off to him.

Braff Zackton said...

I should also mention my firm just completed a deal with Boeing to purchase twelve V-22 Osprey for 816 Million dollars. We hope to have the units operating in high service areas in the second quarter of 2010. We think we've figured out a way to fit the actual McDonalds on the aircraft but we're still kicking around ideas on how to keep the coffee and muffins warm during the halo drop. Don't worry, we'll figure it out.

Stephen Baird said...

I knew I had his name wrong the first time. If you click on his Braff Zackton's profile ... you will see how much effort he puts into blogging. He only has a name to mock me. Thanks son!
Pops is Tops
NikonSniper Steve

10 COLORADO said...

Fantastic, congratulation for your blogs, very good!!!!

Wishing you the best, thanks Stephen!!!

Marka said...

We all do dumb stuff on occasion. The key is being able to look back and laugh.

Erin said...

Oh Braff how I love you so!

P.S.-what are you getting me for my birthday...? :)

Jennifer said...

Funny story, there is nothing quite as embarrassing as pushing your car into the gas station. (Ok maybe there is but it is still pretty embarrassing)Glad you made it just in time.

Dr. T.L. Sanderfer said...

Great story! When I was a kid living in Arizon our car broke down on the side of the road. Not fun.

Pat said...

Great photos and a great read and a perfect morning coffee break for me. All it would need would be a sound track and I would have thought I was in the movies. Thanks for joining my Moly blog.
Pat

Kim said...

This is the funniest thing I've read in ages, including the comments, LOL, what a hoot! Great humour, I agree you should write more often. I do love the photos as well. Obviously humour runs in the family.

Stephen Baird said...

Kim,
Glad you enjoyed yourself. All 5 of our kids are different. All have a sense of humor. The oldest two (Erin & Braff Zackton) are two of the most sarcastic humans on the planet. They take shots at me in front of the rest and get everyone laughing. Braff can sit and tell stories till your sides hurt from laughing. He has a quick wit that goes so fast ... I often find myself chuckling a few minutes later when I finally get what he meant in a previous conversation.
Erin can see life from both sides. She was the oldest of our five and now she is mommy to her own five.
Tara keeps us off guard with her humor ... it can be the kind of thing that can drive us crazy (nuff said).
Kyle is laid back but he is now a CA at Northern Illinois University so he is kinda full of cop stories about stupid college guys.
Leah is a severe narcoleptic. No joke. She is very funny but she guards herself a bit due to her disability. She is still in high school so that makes her our human hand grenade.
That's our five and we have two additional weirdos that have married into the family. One climbs cell towers for cheap thrills and the other twists the minds of high school students as a math teacher.
When we are altogether ... it's mostly nuts ... but it's a tight community of family.
NikonSniper Steve

Stephen Baird said...

Kim,
Glad you enjoyed yourself. All 5 of our kids are different. All have a sense of humor. The oldest two (Erin & Braff Zackton) are two of the most sarcastic humans on the planet. They take shots at me in front of the rest and get everyone laughing. Braff can sit and tell stories till your sides hurt from laughing. He has a quick wit that goes so fast ... I often find myself chuckling a few minutes later when I finally get what he meant in a previous conversation.
Erin can see life from both sides. She was the oldest of our five and now she is mommy to her own five.
Tara keeps us off guard with her humor ... it can be the kind of thing that can drive us crazy (nuff said).
Kyle is laid back but he is now a CA at Northern Illinois University so he is kinda full of cop stories about stupid college guys.
Leah is a severe narcoleptic. No joke. She is very funny but she guards herself a bit due to her disability. She is still in high school so that makes her our human hand grenade.
That's our five and we have two additional weirdos that have married into the family. One climbs cell towers for cheap thrills and the other twists the minds of high school students as a math teacher.
When we are altogether ... it's mostly nuts ... but it's a tight community of family.
NikonSniper Steve

allhorsestuff said...

Oh man! I enjoyed the comments about as much as I liked reading from you today! Too Hilarious and Braff(I think that was a blogger security word originally so)Made me laugh when I clicked on the prtofile...I think I made it 58 view of ________________!!!! Hahaha!
Okay, I am siging up, this has bee a hoot,for a Staturday morning!
KK

Sandy said...

I love Payson and your writing....almost as much as your photos.