Friday, April 05, 2013

Lowly Worm and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day*

* With apologies to Judith Viorst.

I'm ready....where do I sign?

A few mornings ago I woke up late. I had set the alarm for p.m. instead of a.m. Drat! Leaped into my clothes, brushed my teeth, dragged a comb through my hair and galloped out the door.

It was a less than auspicious start to the day. Had I had access to a crystal ball I would have blown work off and crawled back into bed. No crystal ball though, so off I went. Started to reverse out of the driveway, heard a sickening crunch and, too late (much too late, though only a millisecond) realized the Bean's car was parked just behind and to the right of mine.

Groan. How. Could. I. Be. So. Stupid.

Got out to have a look. It wasn't pretty. One millionth of a second for one moving object to meet another, immovable object. So much damage in so little time, to not only one, but two vehicles.

And me without a rewind button.

Some wag asked later in the day

"So, how many glasses of wine had you had?"

"None! Not even a cup of coffee!"

Maybe if I'd taken the time for coffee I'd have been wider awake. If ifs and ands were pots and pans.....Sigh.

Groan, moan and olagone!

Through tears of anger and frustration I decided I'd go to work, deal with it later. The damage to my car was the lesser of the two.  It was still fit to drive.

Left a note for the Bean. Preferable to telling him in person. Courageous I am not. Not, at least, in the matter of announcing that I have done horrible, needless damage to your car. Neither was I looking forward to the daily call from The Man In England. Meanwhile, I would go to work and not have to think about it right away. Except for the five hundred times throughout the morning that I heard again in my head that sickening "Crunch!"

As it turned out, The Man In England was indeed less than thrilled. As you are when told such news.

There was some growling. Several abrupt questions, and many sharp intakes of breath (breathe J, breathe.)

The silence stretched out, across the miles, all the way over the wide Atlantic, flying low over the emerald fields of home (where I would have liked to be, in a little cottage by the sea, and all of this merely a dream) and on over the Irish Sea and along to the hallowed halls of Oxford where it came to rest in the ear of The (angry) Man, listening expectantly, while I racked my brain for a satisfactory answer to whatever impossible question he had asked. Generally speaking, he longs for me to be silent. Silence, in this instance however, was the wrong answer. At that moment there was no such thing as a right answer. I hung up the phone feeling very much like Lowly Worm.

The silence persisted throughout the next day. My dilemma: Call the insurance company? Or just take the cars to be fixed and leave the insurance company out of it? I'm a good driver, despite very recent evidence to the contrary, but I have never learned the finer points of automobile appreciation. If it has four wheels, an engine and takes me where I want to go, I'm happy as a clam. Which isn't a problem until something goes wrong. Then my brain switches to la-la mode. I was pretty sure the MIE would want to leave the insurance company out of it. All they'd do would be to hike our insurance rates. But Lord! How much damage had I done? Could we afford to just absorb the expense ourselves? Through the email gods I asked for guidance.

And then, not wanting to be home for the daily phone call, being somewhat allergic to the prospect of feeling, once again, like Lowly Worm, I went to yoga. Surely all that breathing, stretching and zen-itude would give me fortitude.

Meanwhile, the Bean had found alternate means of returning to school. Throughout the whole fiasco he had held his tongue, stiff upper lipped. I think he managed it by clenching his jaw. Hurting a guy's car is cutting close to the bone, though I rather think he was relieved that, if it had to happen, I was the perpetrator, rather than he. It's been long established that I am not the perfect wife, so I have less to lose.

Funnily enough, nothing happened during the night, as I had madly hoped, to make the dents disappear. What should have been smooth and shiny was still crumpled and glum next morning.

The email gods sent word that I should get me to an auto body repair shop for estimates. I spent the day up and down the highway, getting lost, over-shooting my mark, back tracking, finally figuring out where the body shop was. First with one car and then with the other. And one more estimate to go tomorrow morning.

I had never even driven the Bean's car before. So it was with trepidation that I sat into it this afternoon and prepared for take-off. He was at school, swotting for a chemistry quiz later in the day, and sweating at the notion of his inept mother driving Miss Daisy.

"Be gentle, mom. Don't do anything else to hurt my car," he whispered hoarsely into the phone.

Turns out it wasn't rocket science after all. Even though the impression is of a rocket when he's driving it. I still remember how to drive a stick shift. Though I did have to go back in, hat in hand, to the mechanic and ask him how to put her in reverse.....She is safely back in the driveway now, resting peacefully. Gathering strength for further adventures tomorrow

And me? I'm ready for that cottage by the sea. The one with the riotous flower garden and roses climbing over the door; a lazy spiral of smoke curling up from the chimney; the smell of soda bread wafting out the half door. And not an automobile in sight. Just the old, green, leg-powered jalopy, leaning against the garden gate in the afternoon sun.

A girl can dream.


Lee said...

What a start to a day! There are days one should just not get out of bed, alarm clock or not!

That cottage by the sea gets crowded at times, I think, Molly. I, too, often wish I was there! ;)

Relatively Retiring said...

I can hear and feel that sickening crunch. Oh, for a rewind button.

Elephant's Child said...

I am so sorry. That sickening crunch is an unmistakeable and vile noise. And yes, the cottage by the sea sounds like bliss.

Meg said...

Oh Molly, I do sympathise - I am with you today, having narrowly avoided hitting another car on a roundabout today. My mistake and, bless the other driver, they dodged beautifully. Rather a cold silence in our car until our destination!!
After a few other (thankfully, minor) domestic disasters,Yes, that cottage by the sea looks pretty good to me too!

Gillie said...

Oh, sweet pea, I read the whole sorry saga with such a growing sense of familiarity and dread though think the WT is a touch less austere than the MIE. Sending a hug and hope you get some time in the cottage at least in your thoughts!

Molly said...

Yes girls. I'm already there mentally! I have my stitching along and a nice pile of books. Get on your bicycles and stop on over for a cup of tea!

Relatively Retiring said...

Wouldn't it be lovely to do that?

Isabelle said...

Oh dear, poor you!!!!

Yesterday I watched a cooking prog that a bloggy friend's daughter was in, and the contestants were asked to make soda bread using the ingredients provided (but not necessarily all of them). They weren't given a recipe. And they all reached for the yeast. And I said smugly to the husband, "Soda bread doesn't have yeast." He was impressed. How did I know? Your blog.

So you may not be able to drive but your life hasn't been totally useless. Hope this cheers you up...

Molly said...

Oh dear. Isabelle. I'm very hesitant to suggest this....but....reading comprehension? Or maybe you just scanned through so quickly you missed the part where I tooted my own horn on the driving ability. The menfolk would beg to differ, but I know what I know!
Anyway, if you could cycle on over to join the happy throng I might even be persuaded to bake some scones, in addition to my fabled soda bread. Humility. Another of my virtues!

Ali Honey said...

Oh dear. Oh Dear. Oh Dear. ( that's not actually what I said! )
I thought finding all those beasties was a bad morning ...but a mere inconvenience to yours.
Chin up, nobody was physically injured.
Sounds Like the bean is quite an understanding type.

Molly said...

Ha! Probably in that he understood that what he would have said was not something you should say to your mother! My position is indefensible, and the menfolks' only fault here is that they are male. Cars trump females every time....Maybe because they're made of metal and steel and are predictable and unemotional....Sigh.

Isabelle said...

I didn't really MEAN that you can't drive. Just that you had a teeny failure on that particular occasion.

(Had to ponder what "tooted my own horn" meant. Translation difficulty.)

Stomper Girl said...

Ah Molly, some days are like that: even in Timbuktu!!! (or the cottage by the sea!) If you'd been my Mister Fixit after that little accident you would have growled at The Bean for leaving his car in a stupid position. We all have our bad driving moments, just like we have bad cooking moments or bad doing something we do with perfect competence all the time moments. It's just a pain that bad driving moments are so expensive! Hope all your menfolk have forgiven you now, you've certainly done all that could be done to fix the situation including owning up and apologising, so if they haven't, they're being mean now.

Wisewebwoman said...

You know this is a story you will tell next year and the year after that and everyone will slap their thighs and say oh that decaffeinated Molly, can you believe she took it out on her son's car.

And I have my cottage by the sea and oh girl you be welcome any time!


Pauline said...

oh ouch! It's never fun when one dents someone else's car and then has to fess up. Hope you were able to get them fixed and that your insurance man does not read your blog.

When are you coming north?

Dee said...

Dear Molly, why is it that we fall into the void of shame and guilt and remorse and almost dislike/hatred of ourselves when we do something that can't immediately be fixed/changed/redone???? I try to say to myself in situations like this, "What's the worse thing that could have happened? Is this it? Or is this just a fly in the ointment?"

And yet when I backed into a Lexus in the alleyway behind the movie theater uptown, I stewed and obsessed for several days. I was a bad driver. I was a person who didn't pay attention. i was a dreamer.

It's that being obsessive that bothers me the most. Why can't I just let the situation go and "go with the flow"? Of course, I don't have a significant other or a child who are making judgments. There's just myself and I'm hard enough on me!

So all I can say with any surety is that this is the time--no matter what anyone in the family says or does--to be gracious to yourself. Give yourself a break. And do something nice, truly exceptional, for Molly. Peace.

Susan Kane said...

Oh, Molly. Oh, for us all to have a rewind button. Mine would be worn out by now.

I hope it is all sorted out by now.

I once ran over my husband's foot...does that ease your anguish any?

Molly said...

Isabelle ---Glad to expand your understanding of how Americans use the Queen's English, or embellish it, or mangle it, depending on your [point of view!

Stomper---You make a very good point! It did occur to me that if he had pulled his car up beside mine all of this drama could have been avoided! But hmmmm? It would have sounded like I was trying to shift the blame off my shoulders onto his and the bottom line is---I should have been paying better attention.
Everyone has more or less regained their composure now, though denting his car was the last thing The Bean would have asked for for his birthday (yesterday!---really, really bad timing!)

Wisewebwoman ---And is everything close enough that you can reach it by bicycle? Your invitation is so tempting! Thank you.

Dee ---Technically speaking, I'm an orphan! Would you like to adopt me??

Susan K ---yes, I think we should submit that suggestion to The Guy In The Sky! Built in rewind button on every human! Think of the arguments, brawls, lover's spat's, wars even, that could be avoided! Not to mention flattened feet! Poor guy...

Secret Agent Woman said...

If it helps, I have done this twice - backed my car into my then-husband's. Damaged four cars in all, since the two incidents were separated by a few years. And I'm actually a very good driver, while he has totalled two cars in driving accidents. I am however, a lousy backer-upper.

Molly said...

SAW ---It doesn't help really. Helping would be if your admission of similar bad-backing-up skills made the cars all sleek and shiny and undented again! But it is comforting to know I have company!

Molly said...

Oops! Pauline ---he's probably got more lucrative things to do. No money to be made on my blog, and we all know that's what makes the insurance world go 'round. Leaving here Wednesday---in jitter mode at the moment!

dianne said...

i am a bad backer-upper ... i have been known to knock garage doors off their runners ... and back over inanimate objects ... and scrape the full length of cars, all the time thinking, "what IS that strange sound?!? almost like metal scraping metal!!!" ... and back into cars that were not there just a moment ago ... and i am SO relieved that my own garage and driveway no longer contain anyone else's cars and bicycles, because i WOULD back into them, i just know it...

sometimes i am a bad go-forwarder, too...

as for sleeping late ... well, the Corporation that i USED to work for dinged my paycheck and attendance record whether i was ten minutes late or five hours late, so i learned to try my best to be on time, but not to hurry when i knew there was no hope...

take the time to smell the coffee ... and caffeinate yourself!!!

i am leary of a seaside cottage, having been landlocked all my life, but i dream of a small cabin in a sheltered valley, high in the mountains ... sigh

Molly said...

Dianne ---Thanks for the moral support! Large metal objects with engines and I have never hit it off. Same with technologica. As long as cars and computers do what they're supposed to do, fine. Of course then there's the wild card --- human (Molly) error. The bane of my existence....

A secluded cabin in the mountains would be an acceptable alternative to a cottage by the sea, as long as there was at least a lake in sight.

Here's to uneventful backing up and going forward!!

Thimbleanna said...

Oh Miss Molly! I'm so sorry to hear of your distress. It sounds as though you have your yoga techniques down though. Take yourself off to your dream place!

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