The call came in the middle of the night, as these calls do.
It was my son, fear and urgency tight in his voice.
“Tom? Why are you calling me from your room?”
I checked the time. It was a little after 2 a.m.
“I’m not in my room. Mom! I totally fucked up!”
I couldn’t imagine for the life of me why my 15-year-old son was not in his room. I was still half asleep, and nothing made sense. I had seen him go up the stairs to his room, to sleep, hours ago. I had said good night. How could he not be there now?
“Mom! I crashed the Prius.”
The way he kept saying mom cut straight to my heart. It was like a cry, a yelp, an apology, and an appeal, all at once.
My head cleared, fast.
“What? What do you mean? Where are you? What are you talking about?”
This was my 15-year-old son, who had no driver’s license. He crashed the Prius? Nothing made sense.
I don’t remember if he answered any of my questions, but he needed me, and fast.
I had thrown a jacket over my pajamas and flip flops on my feet and was standing still bleary-eyed on the dark street before my house when Tom’s friend Jeff pulled up in his brand new cherry Camaro to deliver me to the scene of the crash.
I opened the passenger door and slipped into the car. I was beginning to ask Jeff what happened when I got a spooky feeling I was being watched. I turned around to find a bevy of blondes — presumably from the Los Altos hills where Jeff was living — in the back seat, at least four bright and shining faces, a sea of glimmering eyes.
I felt old and shy. I said hi.
Jeff drove us to Alameda, just on the other side of the tunnel from Oakland, to a little traveled area near some new and only partially populated gated community near the old Navy base.
I got there before the cops did, which was important and the whole point since of course my son had no driver’s license.
It was a quiet night, the air very still. The street lights punctuating the night were few and far between. They seem impossibly, bizarrely tall.
The entire right corner of the car was folded in on itself.
The first thing I did was hug and hold my son. I wrapped my arms around him, held him away, looked at him, and wrapped him in my arms again. I tried to look mad, stern, in charge, authoritative, but I couldn’t hold the expression.
I said, “Tom. What the hell.”
“I know, Mom. I’m sorry.” Every word he spoke sounded like a cross between a moan and a quiet wail.
“I was trying to drift.”
“You were… what? What’s that?”
According to Urban Dictionary, drifting is the art of aiming one’s car at a wall and missing it completely. That’s the idea, anyway.
We sat on a low cement wall (not the one he was aiming at) and called Triple A.
A tow truck came and hauled the car onto the bed.
Jeff took me and Tom home. Someone came in a pickup truck to get the girl collection.
I told my friend Daniel what happened the next day. He said, “You can’t drift in a Prius.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I think he figured that out.”
How to aim one’s car at a wall and miss it completely; drifting is the opposite of grip driving, which involves taking a corner without sliding. This can be done without any regard to horsepower, weight, or any other factors. Essentially this means any car can drift, however, some cars are more apt to powerslide than drift. Drifting originated in Japan, thus most cars used to drift are Japanese. Most of the cars used to drift are also usually RWD cars with FR layouts, as they are easier to drift than AWD cars, FWD cars, or RWD cars with MR layouts. However, other drivetrains are used for drifting by different people, as driving styles vary from person to person. Some common cars used to drift are the Nissan Silvia, the Nissan 350Z, the Mazda RX-7, and the Toyota Supra.
Drifting is not for the faint of heart, the poor, or those who are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant. If you have trouble experiencing any epic, you may not wish to try to drifting, as it will have a sudden spike in epic if done correctly.