Monday, April 24, 2006

Rear Ended (Again)

I guess I need a Hummer.

I was driving home the other day just a few miles down the road where last month Jazmin the Jeep driver rammed into the back of my Honda Civic, totaling it. On this particular day the rain had made the drive home all the way from Minnetonka via 394 a bit stressful. But I took things slow, enjoying my new shiny used red Mini Cooper.

I was now closer to home, stopped at a stop light, the second car in line when I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw a Chevy Impala speeding up behind me. Thoughts of Jazmin, which have never left my head since that accident, came again barreling into my noggin. "That car is going much too fast," I said to myself bracing myself for the impact. Sure enough the Impala didn't stop in time and instead rammed into the back of my car.

This time I was pissed. There was no excuse. It wasn't raining out anymore. The sun was shining and the roads were hardly treacherous. I may not have many virtues but usually being calm and composed is my general nature. It takes a lot to set off my temper and I have learned over the years that most situations are better handled in a quiet manner.

But this time I had enough. I had enough of bad drivers- careless or indifferent, or distracted drivers. Drivers too lazy to use their turn signals, or their headlights during rainstorms, or those who roll through stop signs. Drivers who think it necessary to carry on the most inane conversations on cell phones rather than pay attention to what they should be paying attention to- the road and other drivers around them.

But it wasn't only bad drivers I had enough of. I was tired of people in general who don't pay any attention to those around them- those walking with their heads down; those stopping to hold conversations at the top of escalators or right in the middle of busy walk ways; those who get on to elevators before letting others off and then standing right in the front of the button panel making it impossible for others to push the button to their own floor. Maybe I was just at the end of a seven year rope but I had had enough.

I got out of my shiny red Mini, checked for the damage (nothing visible) and made my way to the car going much too fast that it couldn't stop in time. The driver opened his door and I started screaming at him. "WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DOING???" I felt myself losing control. I felt myself more angry than I had been in a long, long time.

"I just spaced out," the driver said. "I'm sorry."

My voice was going hoarse and my throat felt raw. For the second time in a month I pulled my car to the side of the road with another. The driver of the other vehicle gave me his name, number, and insurance information.

I looked at my Mini more closely. There's a little ding in the fender and a few scratches. All I could think about on my drive home was that if I had been on my scooter when this had happened I would have been sent airborne and my family would have been paying money for an obituary and a coffin.

I was more than a little wound up when I got home. I tried calling my friend, the last one to speak to me before the accident, who left me with the words, "Be careful in your Mini Cooper!" but I got her voice mail instead.

It was one of those many times that I was glad to come home to my three boyz. Thompson, the three-legged cat came hopping over to me, grunting as he does as he walks and talks. He reached up to me with his lone front paw, and I could hear his purring loud as could be. I told him what just happened and he looked at me with his big round sad brown eyes and all seemed OK again.

The very next day I pulled out a little book my photographer friend Tom gave to me a couple years ago when he learned of my love of the Mini Cooper. The book is a slick advertising pitch for the Mini about the coolness of motoring. Among its many pearls of wisdom come on a page that reads, "Don't freak out if your MINI gets a nick or a ding. Just think of them as scars. And as most people will tell you, scars are sexy. They tell a story. They're evidence of an active life. A life worth living. You'll probably get them fixed but while they're there, take solace in the fact that they represent a life experience. And as with scars, feel free to embellish on how a nick came to be. Maybe it came from the steel-studded collar of a rabid dog that had been chasing you for three blocks and threw himself at your door the moment you jumped in your MINI. Exaggeration is a motorer's prerogative."

I'm thinking I won't get the ding fixed. Maybe I'll just let it remind me of the day enough was enough and that in itself was enough for now.

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