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Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Mellow Mushroom

I AM ENJOYING an extremely pleasant dream when it capriciously morphs into a nightmare. Terror-stricken, I am on a treacherous ride, scared to death. It might be the Cyclone in Coney Island for I am being mercilessly bumped up and down, nearly to death, at high speed on rickety ground. But for the restraints around my chest and hips, I would be airborne. The banging, grinding and scraping noises insidiously forewarn of impending doom. Are there words too? If I concentrate, above the noise, I can make out words competing with the awful mechanical cacophony. I wish I had not, though, because the message is clearly condemning. "The car's out of control," is being screamed over and over until it is etched it into my very being.

"This is not a dream," I suddenly realize. Our situation is far more dire than a scary roller coaster ride and most likely to be fatal. What I had dreamed was a roller coaster is actually our car. It is out of control at 70 mph on a rough shoulder between a busy highway and a steep incline leading to a ditch. We are driving to our winter cottage in Sailboat Bend. I realize I may never see-Sapodilla Cottage (named after the tall, beautifully aggressive trees that cloister and adorn it) ever again.

"Step on the brake," I shout, and then get the horrifying news that neither the brakes nor the steering work anymore and the accelerator is frozen. Always the optimist, I try to think of a remedy for this dismal state of affairs. As a last resort, I think, we might jump out of the car and roll down the side of the hill into the ditch before the car veers into the speeding traffic.

We do not need to jump. The car rambles down the steep incline at high speed to the ditch for us. I view this Hollywood stunt in amazement. Had I not been trapped inside, it might have even seemed amusing. The uphill wheels are cartoon-ishly spinning in air, while the downhill wheels dig in and scrape huge chunks of mud, stones and grass off the hill with such force I can smell rubber burning.

Against all odds, we land upright at the bottom of the ditch, leaving parts of the bottom of the car on the hill behind us. But we do not stop. Again, there is a glimmer of hope: We can ride out the length of the ditch, albeit at 70 mph, until we run out of gas.

Hope is dashed as we imminently approach a deep, car-sized hole within the ditch. Even the firmest of optimists like I know that we are out of options. Hopelessly, I brace myself for the finality of it all. I wonder how badly it will hurt which part of my anatomy, and for how long. I have come to grips with the fact that this muddy ditch will be my final resting place.

Serendipitously, the impact of the fall into the hole jogs the steering and brakes back into action. The accelerator is still frozen at 70 mph, so the 4-wheel drive powerfully kicks in and the back wheels lift us out of the hole and up the 10-foot incline back onto the shoulder. We are back in our original predicament. Sympathetically, the car sputters a few times and then dies. We are hyperventilating and stunned but we emerge from this horrible incident without a scratch.

That's when the screaming and the shaking starts up all over again. "Depingo...Depingo!... Come on, Depingo...Wake up!...we're at the Mellow Mushroom. We can finally eat!"

Paint on,



  1. Eating at the Mellow Mushroom is even more dangerous than your dream and could lead to death due to high calorie count.

  2. Tasted good to me...just sayin...