Don’t you hate waiting in gas lines? Especially in Southern California. Everyone is in a hurry. Nobody wants to waste an extra second of their life sitting in a gas-fumed station, exhaust spewing poison into the air while some dawdler picks out the wrong card, or can’t get his cap off the tank, or positions his car to get it perfectly lined up.
I plan ahead to make the most of a bad situation at the gas station. I pride myself in the quick maneuver to find the best pump. I scheme as I plot my speedy exit. I excel at the “warning glance” which so effectively conveys the message to aimless pedestrians, “DO NOT step in front of this car.” So imagine my rage when someone cheats me out of my game.
I had just pulled up to the pump and got out when a guy in a little red sports car spoke. “Hey, would you mind pulling out for a second? The guy behind me wants to get out.” So, being the kind person that I am, I thought, “Sure, why not, he shouldn’t have to be trapped back there while the rest of us gas up.” So I pulled forward which left my place at the pump open and “ red sport” pulled in, stopped his car and proceeded to pull out his credit card at my previously empty space! The guy behind “red sport” was not trapped but was already starting to gas his car. I guess “red sport” needed some quick gas and chose me for the sacrifice. Can you imagine the gall of this guy?
I got out of my car red flames shooting from my neck into my cheeks. I figured that, plus my invective, “What did you do that for, Jerk? What a JERK!” was fair warning. This brought the attention of several customers. Most ignored me, some yawned it off, but the really smart ones screwed up, hung up and got out.
Mr. Red Sport just gave me a little smile and pulled out a big white hanky. He began to rub off tiny specks of dust from his shiny new car with quite a lot of energy and a great deal of care. It was really shiny.
“This can’t be happening” my inflamed brain said. “He will NOT get away with it, but what ……?”
In a determined flash, it came to me.
With a Mr. Red Sport smile, I double-timed it to the “windshield supply center” and picked up a squeegee from the pool of water it was resting in. I walked back to the shiny red car, lifted the dripping squeegee over my head and came down with a SWISH as the dirty water landed clean across the whole back end of Mr. Red’s car.
His reaction was classic. He did a little jump back with a shocked, “ahahunnnooo” in pop-eyed surprise. Before he could blink, I lifted my arm and did a second swipe.
He recovered quite well. He walked to the squeegee tank, pulled out a squeegee and dripped a little on my rear bumper.
I got in my car, rolled down the window and said, “That’s ok, this is an old car, but yours is brand new” and drove off leaving Mr. Red with a lot more clean up to do. I should have directed him to the dollar store for more white hankies but you can’t think of everything.
To avoid busy Genesee Street, I took Chapel Drive, a less-traveled back road. Speed limit behind the school is posted at 15 mph. As I approached the stop sign, I glanced to my right at the school buses all lined up, waiting for those wiggly little persons to burst through the school doors. To my left I saw nothing coming up the hill, so after a quick stop, I proceeded into the intersection. About half way through I heard the noise. Metal against metal.
A dark colored van pulled aside and the driver got out to examine his front bumper. The only damage to my car was scraped paint on the left rear fender.
“My bumper is loose. I just had it fixed and I know the cost,” he admitted. “You’re older so you probably don’t want to report it to your insurance company. If you give me $2400 we’ll forget it.”
Little did he know that he was dealing with a retired insurance claims adjuster.
“I have insurance so I’ll let them take care of it.”
“Then I’ll have to call the police.” That was fine with me.
At that time I didn’t have a cell phone and probably he didn’t either because we pulled into a parking lot and he walked away to make the call. It didn’t take long for a policeman to arrive. He talked to the other guy, then came to get my version of the accident. He said, “I’m not going to give you a ticket, but I’ll have to charge you for the accident because you had the stop sign.”
I may have had a stop sign, but I had control of the intersection.
That poor van driver had made two mistakes: suggesting that I don’t report the accident and admitting that he had previously damaged his bumper so knew the exact cost of repair. You can bet I let my company know. In fact, the adjuster was familiar with the area and knew about the blind spot on the hill.
When I received the renewal of my policy, I was not charged for the accident. I had expected the police report cite me for failure to yield right of way or maybe driver inattention. Instead, he checked off "inexperienced driver."
Shopping trips with my sister can take us from one end of the city to the other and beyond. One day, after doing the shops in a little village outside the city limits, we planned to continue to on to another shopping area.
However my car wouldn’t start. I hadn’t known that car keys wear out, but I’d been having a problem and was told that the key was the cause. Since we had two keys, I used my husband’s and until then it worked fine. No amount of coaxing would get that thing to do its job.
“I’ll have to call K&C to come tow me,” I said. I called my husband to let him know and get the number for our auto repair shop.
Norman said, “Have you had lunch yet?” We hadn’t. “Go eat and I’ll pray.”
Beverly planned to call her husband to come get her. First, though, we went to nearby UNO for something to eat. She was served right away, but I waited. "It'll be right out," the waiter told me over and over. In fact, I waited so long that my meal was free.
Back to the car. I turned the key. It started. The power of prayer! We cancelled our plans for continued shopping and went home while the car was still running. Enough of that. I bought a new car.
Image: graur razvan ionut http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/