Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Accidents, Walls and Fine Looking Women

Last night, I was trying to fix my desktop computer. There was a time when I enjoyed doing that sort of thing. But after seeing so many systems of mine (and others) just stop working for no apparent reason, I got tired of it. But there comes a day in every person's life when they have to roll up the shirt sleeves and dig in. So there I was...staring at an add-on card, trying to figure out if I really needed it or not, when...BAMMM!! BASH!!!!

The sound came from the window next to my computer. Like a sober St. Nick, I leaped from cheap computer desk chair, lifted my Venetian blinds and peered out. But what to my normal, saline filled eyes did appear, but a steaming pick-up with its front-end smashed up. Its hood was raised in a salute to all, and a person staggered by, probably wondering what happened.

It was obvious to me. Someone driving very stupidly, ran into the rear end of my landlord's son's pick-up which was parked in front of the house where I rent a small, but livable space containing most of my earthly possessions. I slipped into my shoes and head out my door and there I came across Lacy running back and forth, scared to the point of almost ignoring me...which in and of itself, is very strange.

I did my best to calm her down in my normally, soothing, gentle voice (I know...don't laugh...I'm not called "Bear" for nothing) and headed around front. Just as I got there, things were heating up. I could hear a very upset voice near the truck which was hit, yelling something I won't repeat here. Under the shadowy, back light of the street light, I could see the rear-end of the that truck smashed in and a dog peering over the side. And I knew I wasn't needed. As I headed back in my place, I stopped and let Lacy loose. She followed me into my house (with a lot of coaxing) and went into her normal, "What's New...What's New" mode.

When tow trucks and cop cars began showing up outside, Lacy didn't pay any attention to them, or the noise they were making. She was exploring, looking for something new to eat, play with, check out, tear apart, or whatever it was she felt like doing to it at the time. Hopefully, she (the dog) became accustomed to those sounds and if some stupid driver hits the only vehicle parked on the side of the road in front of our place again, she won't be as scared as she was last night.

What happened last night was stupid. The driver of the lethal weapon pick-up simply let his attention span lapse for a split moment and something happened. Stupid, but it's not like none of us have ever done anything stupid while driving around. I know I have.

Just after I got my driver's license 40 year's ago (yes...back in the stone age), I took my sisters to a party or something at Bullfrog Lake in the Forest Preserves of the Chicago area where I lived. After dropping them off in the parking lot, I turned the car to make a U-turn and get out of the lot when I saw a young woman I had a crush on. I was halfway through the turn when I saw Vickie and stopped the turn as my eyes followed her as far as they could...well, I was abruptly reminded I was driving a car when an impact occurred. Snapping my head forward, I found myself looking up into the blue summer sky.

Confused, I went to get out of the car and realized the ground was much lower than normal...and the front end of the car a lot higher than normal. And then there was that three foot high cement wall the front left tire was sitting on. I squatted down to look and think things over and lit a cigarette. A few minutes later, someone appeared on top of the wall and asked if I had a jack. I did and we jacked up the front left side of the car sitting on top of that three foot high wall and when it was high enough, pushed the car off the jack. The car landed back on the parking lot surface, ready to drive away, the jack waiting to be put away next to the car.

I thanked the man on top of the wall, who said, "Don't be so stupid while driving a car," then he turned and walked off. I got in the car, started the engine, put it in drive and pressed the accelerator pedal. To my dismay, the car wanted to turn left on its own. I drove the 20 or so miles home, fretting every minute.

When I got there, I told my dad I hit something with the car and now it turned to the left. He asked what I hit and I said a chunk of cement in my path. I didn't tell him it was a three foot high wall, nor did I mention how the car was put back on the driving surface. When he went out to see the damage, there was none on the bumper or the fender, but when you looked at the car from the front, you could see the left wheel was toed outward.

That was the first accident I was involved in. But it wasn't the last time I stared at a fine woman walking by where I was driving. Try not to do it while driving along the nude beaches of the French Riviera.

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