Living life on Lunkhead Lane
When you back your vehicle into the front of an empty and parked car, it is difficult to lay blame on anyone but yourself. Parking spaces, in the resort I call home, are as hard to find as a copy of the Koran at the White House. That being the case, you cannot let a little mound of snow keep you from taking a prime spot close to your destination. Admittedly, I was going too fast, but I needed the momentum to crash through that wall of snow – I was coming in hot. Being a good driver, I took special note of the little silver car next the open spot – it looked brand new. My vehicle is more of an RV than it is a truck. With a camper shell on the back, and a body large enough to be seen from outer space, it is unwieldy at best. Since I’m unable to see out the back window, I’m dependent on the side-view mirrors to keep me from crunching into little cars. Admittedly my truck is energy egregious and better suited for camping than commuting. Other than on vacations, I drive it only when absolutely necessary. In fact, I was parking it outside a nearby office building in order to carpool to a meeting in another town.
Had I known that the little silver car was the first new car ever owned by Kami, a young gal who worked in the building, I would have been more careful. And had I also known that that same little, silver car had already been hit while parked three times in six months by three other lunkheads like me, I would have parked in another zip code. As it were, I punched the gas pedal to get my truck up to ramming speed in order to bash through the snow drift. As I was flying backward, like any good driver, I checked both mirrors to make sure I was on the right course – for some reason the silver car was missing. Since I knew it was there when I began to back up, and it was previously located right next to the open spot, it dawned on me that something was amiss. Though I was in a hurry, I decided to err on the side of caution and slam on my brakes.The sound of my one-ton truck crunching the fine craftsmanship of the little, silver beauty might have been muted by my Rolling Stones CD, so I got out to look. My cast iron trailer-hitch came to rest a little over an inch from the unsuspecting fiberglass bumper.I was so shook-up and relieved that tears of joy ran down my legs. The first person I encountered as I entered the building was a young lady sitting at the front desk.I asked, “Do you know who owns that silver car just outside the door?”
When she heard my question she shuddered. “I do.” Was all she said; her voice cracked a little.Hoping to reassure her I said, “I just came inches from smashing into your car at 20 miles an hour while going backward.” I thought hearing that would make her happy, but she just looked at me with doe-like eyes and shuddered again. It was after locking my truck and riding to the meeting with my buddy Jim, who works in the same office, did I learn the story of Kami’s bad luck. It seems since she returned from the dealership with her new vehicle it has been a lunkhead magnet. No less than three times have people like me smashed into it. No sooner does she have it out of the shop does someone else takes a swipe at it. The last assault occurred a few months ago.Hoping to outsmart fate and bad luck, Kami had not been driving to work, until that very same day I almost hit her. Jim added, “I’m so happy you didn’t wreck her car. I’m not sure she could take it.”So much of life is luck and timing. Jim and I had a great laugh about my close call, and Kami, though slightly traumatized, was able to forgive my near miss. Had my truck traveled three inches farther, both our days would have been much different.
The difference between a good or bad day, or good or bad life for that matter, is often mere seconds and inches. On another day, I might have driven more carefully or been even more careless, which is a worthy reminder that we do not live on this planet alone; our behavior affects others.Unfortunately there is little the Kamis of the world can do to avoid the lunkheads like me. Of course, you could say that we should not become so attached to an object that the loss of that object can cause grief. But, speaking purely personally, I can say the only stuff I own that I’m not attached to is the crummy stuff. Kami cannot be faulted for coveting her new car as much as I can for being careless. So I’ve made a solemn resolution, one that we all could stand to live by – slow down, be careful and whenever possible, take the bus.Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on RSN, heard on KOA radio, and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at email@example.com. Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or at Backcountrymagazine.com.
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