Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oops, I did it again.

Oops, I did it again. Last time I heard those words I was with my (then) 13-year-old daughter surrounded by screaming teenaged girls as I watched Britney lip sync with a snake around her neck. Who knew I would miss THAT?

Today, I would have been delighted to have been back there (with earplugs) or anywhere else for that matter, because, yes, oops, I did it again. I hit another car in the parking lot. And that scrapping, scrunching metallic sound is far worse than the squealing, ear-piercing screams of teenaged girls. Because that sound means two things: $$$$$ and the call.

What call you say? The call I blogged about this past June when I had my last fender-bender in our church parking lot. Click here to read how that went down.

So, I found myself today making the call again – the “Honey, I wrecked the car in a parking lot” call - except this time, being at work, I had an advantage, I could send an e-mail, which is exactly what I did. And he ignored it until I made - you guessed it - the call.

I fretted all day about the incident, particularly the fact that I didn’t know whose car I hit. I had left a feeble, “I’m sorry!” and my phone number under the car’s windshield. But, I couldn’t help but worry, who did I hit? How would that person take it when he left the office after a hard day’s work only to find the front bumper of his car a crumbled mess? What if it were someone I had to see often like the couple I hit at church? What if they flew into a rage and cussed me out?

After a long day of imagining every possible scenario, I decided it was time to return to the scene. I rode the elevator up with several employees, each getting off at floors along the way, all except one, that is. As we reached the top level of the parking deck, I could stand it no longer.

“What kind of car do you drive?” I asked.

“Uh, Monte Carlo.”

“Okay, have a good day then.”

He looked perplexed and walked off as I saw my victim on her cell phone in a heated discussion, with a security guard and police officer standing nearby.

Oh, boy, I’m in trouble, I thought.

“I did it,” I told her. “I’m sorry.”

She waved me off with her hand, “Oh, I’m not worried about this. This is nothing; nobody was hurt; nobody was killed. I hope you didn’t think I was mad because of this. This could have easily been me hitting your car when I drive my husband’s truck. I’m closing on a house and that’s who I was talking to on the phone.”

And then the woman whose car I had crashed hugged my neck, as I blinked back tears, leaving me to think that sometimes we need to have a few fender-benders to be reminded that there are good people in the world. Perhaps, sometime, someone will hit me in a parking lot, and I will remember this day and be equally gracious. Of course, if they do, they’ll have to pay to replace my bicycle.

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