Back in the early to late seventies people in Vancouver used to drag race on Lower River Road (LRR). LRR is a long, 6-7 mile straightaway in the western outskirts of town. There is nothing down there except farms, fields, a park, and some industrial centers. It runs parallel to the Columbia River but is about a mile inland. The last two miles of the road are the key to my story as the road ends in a little cul-de-sac. The last two miles also have no side streets or intersections or lights or anything on either side of the road except fields of grass and corn. Back in the 70's while drag racing, a couple of the kids died in accidents so that road became regulated and deserted until a few of us found it and used it in 1986, my junior year in high school. We wouldn't drag race but we'd hang out at the end of the road in the cul-de-sac and do whatever it is that 16 and 17 year old kids do. So one clear night at about 1:00 AM my good friend Steve and I drove down there in his piece of crap 1979 Mustang which literally had a top speed of 60 mph. We parked at the end of the road and waited for our "girlfriends" to join us. After waiting for almost an hour we gave up and figured that they probably couldn't sneak out. (This was prior to cell phones so there was no texting or calling. Back then you made your plans and stuck to it unless you got caught by Mom or Dad). So we headed back to town and about a half mile into our drive home the interior of his car lit up. I looked over at Steve and his face was bright because light from behind us was hitting the rear view mirror and reflecting back into the car. I turned back in my seat and behind us was a pair of lights, headlights with their high beams on. I couldn't make out the car, just two bright lights and they were about probably a quarter mile behind us. Steve and I were both doing the mental math and we both realized that we hadn't passed any driveways (there weren't any) and we had absolutely no idea HOW a car got behind us. Maybe it was a police car who was hidden on the side of the road? Doubtful. We didn't know but the lights were getting closer. By now, we were topped out at 60 miles per hour and the car was shaking from the speed (seriously). Steve was yelling, "What the f***?!" and I was doing the same as we continued and the lights got closer and closer, now about 100 yards behind us and gaining. Steve yelled, "What should we do?!?!" and I didn't answer. I was just transfixed and staring at the lights. The car was still gaining on us and was now about 50 yards behind us. Finally Steve said, "This is bullshit." When it got to 20 yards behind us, Steve yelled, "Hang on!" and he slammed on the brakes and veered off onto the shoulder of the road. We both jumped out of the car ready to fight whoever was messing with us and were met with... silence. Complete silence. We could see up and down the road because the moon was out. The night was quiet, except for the occasional rumble of Steve's slightly overheated Mustang. Steve and I stood on opposite sides of the car, we looked at each other and both walked into the middle of the road, looking in all four directions. Nothing was there. Nothing. Just us. After about 10-15 seconds of silence, we looked at each other again and both started to laugh. Then we kind of freaked out. Then we jumped in his car and drove home. It was seriously the most scared either of has ever been. There was a car behind us until there wasn't a car. When we were out of the car in the middle of the road we could see quite a ways in all directions and we saw no sign of anything. We could hear forever and we could hear nothing. It was so creepy.
A Day at the Fair by Amy Henson
This is an essay written by a University of Michigan senior about going to a job fair. Amy Henson spends half of the time talking about what it was like at the fair and the other time ruminating on what it means to be there at a launching post. It's a very nice read.
Essay: 9 of 10
I love finding new writers and Henson has a nice voice. She explains what it's like to be in her position, on the cusp of adulthood and it's impending career choice/selection. I also love the part about the sophomore overachiever. Hilarious and everyone knows that kid.
Teachability: 9 of 10
I may use this with my seniors. The job fair has some similarities to the college application process and I think seniors would enjoy it. Seniors could definitely relate relate to many of the things Henson writes about and it would also give them a glimpse into the next chapter of their lives. Overall, this is a very pleasant read.