I swear all this is true. Exactly one week ago I came out of the drugstore and noticed a huge dent on the driver’s side of my red car. I dashed up to survey the damage and touched the bashed-in fender, to see if any white paint would come off.
A friendly woman came out of the drugstore just then and said, “Oh my gosh—did that just happen to you?”
Heartsick, I could only nod.
“That’s so awful,” the woman said. “Come here and look. You can really see how dented it is from here.”
I stepped back up onto the sidewalk and saw what she was talking about. Not only was the fender crunched, but the door as well.
“Somebody must have backed into you and then taken off. That’s going to cost a fortune,” she commiserated.
I shook my head, disgusted.
“And a Lexus, too!” she said, sympathetic at the damage to so fine a car.
Except that I don’t own a Lexus. I drive a Nissan Altima. I swallowed and stole a glance at the license plate. Oops. This was not my car. Mind you, it is the exact same color and shape as my car, and parked just 3 spots away.
Will someone please tell me why identical burgundy cars all think they have to park right by my car wherever I go and keep me constantly confused? It happens all week, and I am constantly trying to get into the wrong car. Here are just a few examples of this phenomenon:
I bit my lip. No way could I tell this kind woman that I am an idiot. What—and let her think she had wasted all that compassion on a moron?
She was in a chatty mood and told me that her husband wants her to get a car instead of a mini-van, but the mini-van is so dinged up that she worries a car would be, too.
“Oh, I know,” I managed to say. But my heart was pounding. What if the real owner came out and got in the car while I’m standing there pretending to own it?
I came up with the brilliant scheme to say I forgot something in the store, and dashed inside. Even now, what if someone else got in and started to drive off? My new best friend would undoubtedly run into the store and tell me that now someone is STEALING my car!
I had NO CHOICE but to buy a Dove Chocolate candy bar. Then I peeked out the windows to see if the woman had left. Slowly I slinked over to my real car and got inside. But what if I drove off and pulled up to a stop light next to her? She’d glance over and say, “Wait a minute—what are you doing in that car?”
Deception whirling around me I tore into my chocolate bar and waited until she was a safe distance away. Here is the evidence:
But Rocklin is not a huge city; what if I see her again? She’ll ask how much the damage estimate was. She’ll ask to see the newly repaired car. And I’ll have NO CHOICE but to tell her I decided to downsize. And then I’ll buy a Dove mini.
Epilogue: For Mother’s Day we got to Skype with our daughter who’s been a missionary in Norway for 16 months. I thought I’d share this story and told her that when I came out of the store I noticed a huge dent in the car and she said, “May I guess the ending?”
“No, you may not,” I said. I told her the entire episode, and then said, “Was that the ending you guessed?”
You can prevent this from happening ever again, if you’ll buy enough of my books so I can afford a real Lexus. I’m just placing the responsibility where it belongs.