As I left the basketball game Monday night, the cold January air hit me, and I realized that we still had many more weeks of winter to endure. It’s not the coldest it’s been, but it still sent a chill through me. And for some unfathomable reason, it made me think of the night that my friend Scott peed in his car. Yes, you read that line correctly…he urinated in his own automobile.
Just after I got out of college, I was pretty serious with a girl named Debbie. I had gotten tickets for her and I and some friends of mine to see Dan Fogelberg at the Peoria Civic Center. My friend Scott, his girlfriend Kay (now his wife) and another couple were going to meet Debbie and I there. The night of the concert was a very cold Saturday night in January, with wind chills into the double digits below zero.
Let me back up just a little. Scott had a nice Buick Century sitting in the garage, but also had made a decision at one point that he had to have a Cadillac. An old, beat-up Cadillac. I don’t know why, but he just had to have one. So the previous summer, he had purchased a 1974 Cadillac Coupe De Ville that was just hideous-looking…dark royal blue with a white vinyl landau top. It was huge. It was rusty. It was ugly. And it was Scott’s choice of transportation to go to the Dan Fogelberg concert.
When we met at the concert, we were all shivering just from walking to the civic center from our cars. Scott and his entourage were kind of laughing a little and shaking their heads. I asked what was up, and Scott said that they had brought the Cadillac, and it had started to freeze up on the way to Peoria from Minonk (about 45 miles). He was hoping that it would start after the concert and get them home ok. Scott’s usually not much of a worrier, so he didn’t seem terribly concerned, and the rest of his party shared his confidence, though not quite as visibly.
After the show, I followed them to the Cadillac to make sure it would start. It did. I offered to follow them part of the way back to Minonk, but Scott was confident that since the car started, they would have no problem getting home.
Well, they had a problem getting home. About 10 miles out of Peoria, the car died. It froze up and refused to go any further. Fortunately, they were close to a house that had lights on, and were able to call Kay’s sister who lived a few miles away. Her husband came and rescued them and took them home to Minonk.
The following Monday was still extremely cold, and Scott was aware that he still had a Cadillac parked along the highway near Peoria. If he had been smarter, he would have just taken the plates off the car and abandoned it, but instead he talked his dad into driving him over to get it started, and following him home to make sure it made the trip. After a little work, the car started, and for some reason, Scott’s dad just took off without looking back. Maybe he was trying to teach Scott a lesson about driving junky cars in the middle of the winter.
The Cadillac made it about 10 more miles before it died again. The winds were gusting quite briskly that Monday evening, and Scott nearly froze as he walked a few hundred feet to the nearest farmhouse to call his dad and inquire as to why he left him to fend for himself with a 1974 Cadillac that was prone to freezing up before reaching its destination.
After using the family’s phone, they regretfully informed him that they were on their way out to an appointment, and Scott could not stay in their warm home. He trudged back to his car to wait for his dad. Then it happened. Scott had to pee. He had to pee bad. The thought of going out into the cold wind and standing still while urinating did not appeal to him whatsoever. So Scott did the only thing he could think of…he knelt on the middle hump of the interior of his unsightly 1974 Cadillac Coupe De Ville…and peed on the passenger side floor. To this day, several years later, I ask him why he did it. His logic seems sound when you hear him tell the story…he just figured it would freeze immediately and he would deal with it later…like in the spring.
However, problems arose for poor Scott much sooner than spring. He eventually got the car home, added enough antifreeze to protect it from freezing up again, and continued to use it as his work car. It was a full week after the whole “peeing on the floor” episode that Scott’s logic failed him. He came out to go to work one wintery morning, started the car, and saw that a good deal of ice and frost was on the windshield, so much that he couldn’t see to drive. “No problem,” young Scott said to himself. “I’ll just pop out and clear the windows with my deluxe plastic ice scraper.”
It was then that he looked down…and his heart sank…for on the passenger side…of his unsightly 1974 Cadillac Coupe De Ville…Scott saw his deluxe plastic ice scraper…frozen to the floor…in a puddle of urine.