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Monologue by Andrew Spaulding

Spaulding, Andrew
Hollingsworth, Karen
Relationships with people and places
Andrew Spaulding talks about being lost in Chicago, IL.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Karen Hollingsworth interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
AS (Andrew Spaulding): Um, my name is Andrew Spaulding. I'm, uh, I was, uh, born in Detroit, Michigan that's where I'm from originally, um, and I'm 25 years old and, uh, this is my story, it's about the time I, uh, I drove to Chicago and my car broke down. OK, um, I was, uh, staying with my grandfather in south-western Michigan, um, for the summer and, uh, while I was there I wanted to go, um, visit a few Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, uh, because it was so close by and I was a big fan of his. So, um, I mean, one of the things I was hoping to do when I went up there was get my car fixed 'cause it wasn't, uh, it wasn't doing too well and, um, my, uh, my grandfather was always willing to help me out with stuff like that, so, um, um, uh, I, I'd made one trip to Chicago, um, everything went OK, um, and I, I came back and I really didn't have too many problems, uh, with the car, um, then I went, um, uh, about, about two or three weeks later, I went back to see, um, Robie House 'cause I hadn't been able to see that on my first trip, so, um, I, I, uh, I, I, um, drove through Indiana, and uh, and it was okay until you get to about, uh, Gary, Indiana and then, and then the, the, the air gets a little gray, it just smells bad, it's really industrial, um, it's not pleasant, and, uh, it just keeps getting worse, I mean you, you have to drive up through the south side of Chicago which is, um, not really known, uh, for it's, uh, scenic qualities I guess. Um, so, um, but I actually, I, uh, I made it to, um, to the, uh, to the Robie House without too much difficulty, I just had to find the campus of the University of Illinois, um, at, at Chicago, um, you know I, I remember I, I pulled off, uh, on, on the exit and I stopped at the Burger King to go to the bathroom and I had a little trouble getting out of the parking lot 'cause people in Chicago just drive crazy, at least to me they drive crazy, um, I was just trying to pull out of the parking lot and, and, and I ended up backing up a bunch of cars because I was too timid or whatever to go out in the, in the street because these cars just come, and finally I just realized that I needed to just go out and just drive out in front of an on-coming car, um, because there was never a chance to just drive out without any traffic coming and hope that the car stops, so, I finally, I do that, get out of that mess, then I'm driving around and I'm trying to find the, the university, um, and I'm driving through some kind of uh, ghetto areas, and then its like there's this, there's this big wi-, wide street and like on one side of it is like ghetto, don't go there at night, and on the other side is, uh, the Robie House and the University of Chicago. And um, so I went and took the tour, had a nice time, checked out the, the campus and everything and, and that was fun, um, but then, um, I still had a lot of time, and you know I, I, I, uh, I could have, uh, I told my grandfather the only thing I was going there for was to see the Robie House at the, at the campus of the University of Chicago. But, um, I kind of got, uh, I, uh, I was, I got thinking, and I, I decided, really decided, uh, that I'd really like to try to, uh, make it to Oak Park because there was still a lot of time, it was only maybe only one or two o'clock in the afternoon. So, um, you know, even though I knew I shouldn't, um, because my car wasn't in the greatest shape, I decided to see if I could make it to Oak Park. Well um, it took me a while to figure out how to, how to, you know, get on it 'cause I hadn't really planned it out or anything, so finally I, I get on a street you know, for driving all through God knows where, I mean, there were some places that were kind of scary, some that were confusing, I don't know what, finally I, I see the Eisenhower interstate, which was what I'd used the last time I'd been there to get to Oak Park, so, I get on the Eisenhower interstate, um, after having dro-, driven around all these little blocks and corners and everything, and uh, and uh, that's not really very good for the car in, in under these conditions, um, it was a really hot day, and I get up on the Eisenhower expressway, and, uh, I'm going up the ramp, and right as I'm cresting, or as I come over the top, and I'm coming around a curve, this kind of skyway thing, my, my car finally vapor locks and it conks out, and I can't get it started again. Um, it's the kind of thing where as long as you can keep the car running, it'll run, but once it, once it, once it conks out, it takes forever to get it started again, unless you, uh, unless you can like, um, uh, get it to cool off real fast, or, um, put a little, uh, gasoline in the, um, if you put a little gasoline in the carburetor it breaks up the vapor locking and, uh, you can be on your way, um, so anyway, I'm sitting there and uh, and I'm backing up traffic on the Eisenhower interstate and, uh, one, just this one truck gets around me, it's this huge 18 wheeler and it just barely gets around me, but uh, but it made it around me, and uh, and it went on its way, but then the rest of the traffic was just totally backed up, we on this narrow little, uh, you know, concrete ramp with barriers on either of us and uh, finally after maybe sitting there maybe 10 minutes or 20 minutes, um, a motor assistance patrol truck, um, comes down the ramp and, um, I tell him what's wrong with it, and, uh, they, they kind of pull me out, then they get behind me and they start pushing me, and they push me off onto the side street, um, where, where, you know, I can let the car cool off, and, um, so, um, I asked them for a little bit of gasoline to pour in my carburetor to, um, stop the vapor locking, but, and, and, and it works, it stops vapor locking, I get in the car and start driving, and at this point, it, you know, I'd spent so much time being lost and, uh and, and sitting there in traffic on the Eisenhower interstate, I'm ready to go home, I've had it, you know, it's been a long day, it's time to just cut, cut my losses and go home. So uh, um, I uh, I'm driving around the streets, you know, just trying to get back to, you know, interstate 95 which will take me through to Indiana and into Michigan and um, um I'm driving around, I'm driving around, there's no street signs, I can't find anything. But um, and I, and I know if I don't get my car, you know, if I don't start driving at a high speed, and get the engine revved up, you know, and I keep doing the stop and go stuff, the engine won't, I mean the car will very likely, you know conk out on me again. So, um, I uh, luckily, you know, it, it does conk out on me again, but luckily I was, the, the, it, it the one place I, uh, it, it conks out on me, is in front of this police station, which I thought would be, uh, you know, a relief, uh, I mean, I thought it came as a relief to me, 'cause I thought the police could, you know Chica-, Chicago police could help me out, but um, the officer that I, I went up to and talked to that I saw on the street there, he said, uh, you know, "You're going to have to move your car." And uh, I was like, uh, "Well, my car is broken down," you know, "Where can I get some gas?" And, uh, he was like, "I don't know sir, you're just goning to have to move your car." You know, and I'm like, I'm like, "Look please, I'm from out of town, my car's broken down," and he's like, "No, you have to move your car." And I'm like, "Well can you tell me where there's a gas station?" And I'm like, uh, and he said, and he tells me, you know, "There's one towards downtown," about a mile or so. So, I start heading, you know, downtown, you know, I don't think it's very likely that there's, uh, any kind of a gas station downtown, but um, you know, I head that way and, um, I'm walking, I'm walking, I'm walking, you know, maybe three, four blocks, you know, uh, and, and, and its really not the most friendly, uh, piece of urban ground you've ever been on, and uh, I see this guy kind of walking in my direction, and uh, and um, ah, I uh, I, uh, stop him, and I, uh, I, uh, ask him, if he knows where there's a gas station and, uh, he's like, he goes, "Yeah, there's one back that way," you know, pointing behind me, you know, about six blocks, you know. "Go about four or five block up and then off to your left two more blocks, and there's this gas station." So, I follow his directions, and it takes me right past the, the police station, where I'd already come from, where my car was, and, uh, and, uh, about a block or two the other way from it, there's this, this, uh, police officer that I'd talked to didn't know this, you know, you'd think they'd know. So, whatever, you know, it's hot, I'm tired, I'm thirsty. I go to the gas station, and, uh, um, luckily I have enough change in my pocket to buy, um, to you know, I think I had like 95 cents in my pocket, or something, so I spend 50 cents on a, on a bottle of Coke or something and, uh, I, uh, and then, um, I spend the rest of my change filling my little Coke bottle up with gas, you know, I um, I, I, I, uh, I popped the hood on my car, um, open up the carburetor, pour some gasoline in there, put the key in the ignition, turn it, and um, after a minute, minute or two of sweating and crying and begging the car to start, it finally, it finally ca-, it finally turns over, and um, you know, I, uh, I keep the engine revved up, I'm going down streets, I'm just like, nervous the whole time, I'm just really tense, just praying that the car won't break down on me again, but I've got that bottle of gasoline in the car with me just in case, which kind of makes me a little nervous, 'cause it's a hot day, and I, you know, God knows what will happen to a soda bottle full of gasoline in a Ford Escort on a 90 degree August day, but um, you know, finally I find a way back onto the interstate, you know, and, uh, I just drive hard all the way back to, um, you know Michigan and when I got out of the car, I, uh, I kissed the ground. So that's my story.