Sunday, August 21, 2005

Just one of those dings

On a rare and magical day last year, my wife Kara got angry, and it wasn’t at me. Oh, it was so beautiful. We had taken three steps away from her black Honda Civic in a small parking lot, when Kara heard the sound of metal hitting metal behind her. She turned and walked back to the passenger side door, where she found a fresh, white and rather cavernous ding.

“Excuse me,” she said to the man who had just gotten into his white pickup truck beside her, “but I think you just put a dent in my door.”

Without leaning over to survey the damage, the man replied, “Oh, I didn’t do that.”

Kara straightened her back. A tumbleweed blew across the parking lot. Somewhere, a harmonica abruptly stopped playing. A wooden clock tower struck high noon. Bystanders hustled indoors.

Kara’s gaze was so intense that I wondered if she was accidentally giving this guy free LASIK surgery. I’d never seen her give that look to anyone else; I thought it was a special look she reserved just for me. For a brief moment, I wondered if I should get jealous.

“There’s a fresh white paint chip on my door. I heard you do it,” she said.

He replied, “Oh, no, I couldn’t have done it. I’m always very careful.”

“Well, you weren’t careful this time,” Kara said.

The man professed his innocence again while putting his truck into reverse. Kara tensed up, and for a second there, I thought she was going to Bo Duke through the guy’s window and beat a confession out of him.

Unfortunately, this happened in real life, which means that, like most real-life stories, the ending is lame. The confrontation ended with Kara doing all she realistically could, which was to put her hands on her hips and pointedly memorize the guy’s license plate (I DING U) as he backed out of his parking spot.

You might be wondering what exactly I was doing during all this commotion. Of course, I had every intention of stepping in to defend the purity of my wife’s car’s passenger side door, but my shoe was untied. By the time I got the double-knot just the way I like it, the guy was already halfway across the parking lot, obviously afraid of what I might do to him after I rectified my footwear issues.

Kara spent the next hour with enough steam coming out of her ears to power a medium-sized municipality through a blistering heat wave. The whole episode, though, was recently put into perspective for us. Actually, it’s more accurate to say that some perspective recently fell out of the sky.

A guy who works with a friend of mine is a Corvette lover. He likes the old-style pointier Corvettes, not the newer ones that are more rounded. After searching around, he found the perfect red ’95 Corvette, a mere three-hour drive from his house. He bought the Corvette and picked it up, driving it back and parking it in his driveway, right next to his blue ’92 Corvette, which he had already sold. The buyer was coming to pick it up on Wednesday. Both of the Corvettes were parked next to his wife’s Cadillac, three in a row.

On that Tuesday night, some college kids had a party down the street. One of the kids had too much to drink, and attempted to drive home by himself. While this kid was too impaired to actually steer the vehicle, his acceleration skills remained completely undiminished. He launched off an embankment, hurtled fifteen feet through the air and landed on all three of the cars in the driveway, instantaneously making them all convertibles.

A short while later, the fire department used a thermal camera to find the kid hiding in the woods nearby, unhurt (yet). If the kid had seen the movie Predator, he’d have known that smearing mud all over your body makes it impossible for aliens and/or firemen to find you that way.


  1. Holy Crap! Two 'vettes and a Caddy! That kid is gonna have the hurting put on him by some drooling lawyer types. Now, I can't picture the lay of the land from the description you give of the events leading up to the covertiblification of three cars simultaneously, but I can only imagine a real-life re-enactment of yet another Dukes of Hazzard staple: the General Lee ramp jump. I hope the kid did justice to Luke and Bo's trademark "Yeeeeeeee-Ha!"

  2. Wow! One more reason my husband and I should never get a nice car! We'd actually consider it a favor if that kid landed on one of our vehicles... Especially my hubby's rusted out 1988 P.O.S10 pick-up!

  3. Oh MY, how horrible!! The mental picture is slightly humourous though. YOur last line on how to hide in the woods, classic.

  4. Jodes, I personally found the High-noonish portion the most visual. The writing was far better than any Sergio Leone film, and it's hard to beat The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I love the part where the harmonica stops playing; you could practically see Walter Brennan guarding the jail with an itchy trigger finger.

  5. Glad the footwear did not get hurt in the process!!

    Oh and the kid...geez louise...he needed some good footwear for those brake thingys they have in cars!

  6. If only smearing mud all over our bodies made us undetectable in other areas of life - tax time, jury duty, when the lawn needs mowing.

    I'll put the resident scientist right on it.

    Ben O.

  7. what happened to your door dinger?

  8. I bet that as Kara was putting up the good fight, you made yourself a White Russian and said "F it". That's your answer for everything. Tattoo it on your forehead.

  9. Randi, the door dinger, I guess, lived to ding again. That's the end of the story -- we forgot the license plate about five minutes later.

    And yes, I did make myself a Causcasian, using Coffee Mate, of course.

  10. Same thing happened to me once. I was working for a photographer, and the girl's family who hit my 12-year-old Chryler Laser was rich. They were about to order a butt-load of pictures, so my boss "encouraged" me not to make an issue of it.

  11. OMG, U can't MAKE stuff up this good! I love reading your blog, always makes me laugh.

  12. Master -- Could you print out a picture of an un-dinged door and tape it to your Laser?

    Saturn -- You the man.

  13. We are trying to find good movie dvd video rental to take the kids this weekend. Good movie dvd video rental reviews are hard to find

    I just stumbled onto your blog while looking. Seems to happen to me a lot since I am a knowledge mooch LOL