Drive This.

When it comes to traveling, I like being a lone wolf. I have spent many hours in my car with no company except the radio blasting at full volume. No one chatting over my favorite songs; no one insisting on pointing out landmarks after we've already passed them; no one commenting on my driving skills or life choices. Bliss.

Unfortunately, this also means that I have to be my own navigator, snack bag opener, and nap preventer. No problem when I'm well rested, but deprive me of a couple hours of beauty sleep and you'll soon find me swerving across four lanes of traffic because I either dozed off or smacked myself in the eye while trying to open a stubborn bag of Cheetos. Add night driving to the mix, and you've got the recipe for fun -- if your idea of "fun" involves emergency lights, sirens, and a frantic call to the insurance company's 24-hour hotline.

"Hello, thank you for calling XYZ Insurance. My name is Candy. How may I assist you?"



Pause. "Your name is Candy?"

I hear a sigh on the other end of the line. "Yes. My name is Candy. Yes, that's my real name. No, I've never been a cocktail waitress or an exotic dancer. I wanted to be an airline pilot, but here I am, in this stuffy call center, taking insurance claim calls. Now, how can I help you?"

My brilliantly witty questions effectively stifled, I decide to move on. "Right. This is Angie Mansfield, and I--"

Candy's entire demeanor changes. At least, the part of it I can hear in her voice. Sounding excited and a little breathless, she interrupts me. "I'm sorry. Did you say your name is Angie Mansfield?"


"The Angie Mansfield?"

I start to get a bad feeling. "Well...I'm an Angie Mansfield..."

"What did you run into this time, a curb? No, wait -- someone's garden gnome. No! I've got it -- a stone statue of a unicorn named Trixie."

Crap. They knew me. Time for a little defensive indignation. "None of those things, Candy, and I don't think I like your tone."

I hear a giggle, and Candy's muffled voice saying, "Hey! Everyone! I've got Angie Mansfield on the line!" followed by more giggling. Finally Candy comes back. "I'm sorry, what were you saying?"

"Do you have me on speaker phone?"

"Absolutely not," she says, but I can clearly hear the giggling and high-fives in the background.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. Now, what can we help you with this evening?"

"Well, 'we' can file a claim. I got run off the road."

"You got run off the road, or you drove off the road?" More snickering in the background.

"Well, Candy, the end result is the same, don't you think?"

"Maybe, but the form is different."

I roll my eyes and dream of throttling Candy. "All right, fine. If you must know, I got run off the road by an ice cream truck."

A pause, punctuated by a couple snorts as someone tries to hold back laughter. "You...got run off the road...by an ice cream truck?"

"Yes. He swerved over into my lane in order to pass the horse and buggy."

No one even tries to hide their laughing now. They're positively howling on the other end of the line. I wait for a couple of seconds, wondering if they'll remember I'm here, and then I gently press 'end' on my cell phone.

The car's in one piece, I was able to drive it out of the ditch, and no one's hurt. I think the CSR's have had enough entertainment for one night.

Angie Mansfield is a humor writer, zebra lover, and very good driver. Really. Very good driver. Read more of her humor (rated PG-13) on her spoof news site, the Zebra Rag.


  1. LOL!! You won't believe this, but there was a unique situation on a country road out in my neck of the woods. A guy had to swerve around another guy riding a bike (why do bicyclists insist on riding their bikes on roads that DON'T have a bike lane?). The guy riding the bike was wearing pedal pushers, argyle socks, an Irish cap, tweed jacket, with a curved smoking pipe gripped between his lips and a long shaggy gray beard. Not something you see every day in Oregon.

  2. LOL! That's definitely a new one. ;)

    This story was *ahem* fictionalized, but I really did get run off the road once...by a bread truck. There was a garbage truck in front of him - they were in the oncoming lane. The garbage truck was stopped, waiting for me to go by so he could make a left turn. The bread truck driver decided not to wait, and passed the garbage truck, leaving me no choice but to either hit him head on and die horribly, or head for the ditch. I managed to dodge around a light pole and into the ditch without dying or destroying my car. I really, REALLY wanted to strangle that bread truck driver. To this day, I go into a rage when I eat a piece of Wonder bread. True story.

  3. ROFL! Awesome story. Thanks for the laughs!

  4. Any time. We aim to please. Well...we aim for something, anyway. Usually a soft landing.

  5. LOL, great story. Hey did the real life bread truck even stop?

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  6. No, the real life bread truck kept going. He showed back up 15 minutes later when his conscience finally got to him.

  7. I call no fair! You get to talk to people who speak English when you call in? The average English speaking person can't pronounce my last name. Hand it over to someone who can't? Forget it.

    Funny stuff, lady. :D Wanna take a road trip? I'll open the Cheetos!

  8. Amy: Likewise, sistah. ;)

    Carole: It was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, getting an English speaker. And you're totally on for that road trip. ;)

  9. Sweet! Where to? Not Bat Country. *shudders*

  10. Bat Country sounds intriguing. What the heck is it??

  11. Oh dear. I thought she was excited to hear it was you because she'd read your gloriously funny writing and wanted an autographed article!

    I have a cousin named Candy. We have a Beetle Bailey in our town. And one of my husband's friends is named Jesse James. He has a twin brother named Frank. No joke.

  12. LOL, Jeannette! I can see the James brothers, and I know a Candy or two myself, but Beetle Bailey...that's just priceless. ;)

  13. You, my dear, are clearly in need to a Johnny Depp Movie. Even if he does have really bad hair and terrible sunglasses.

    *wanders off*

    What the heck is bat country. pfft.


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