It Wasn’t Me

Isn’t this old building so cool? It used to stand right next to our “bumpy” road. A storm blew it over a few years ago.

Miles run today: 10

Words written in my novel so far: 33,311

Stop signs I have ever mowed down: 0

You might recall from earlier blog posts that I owned a truly righteous automobile when I was 16: the white Oldsmobile, plaid interior, burgundy roof…

The B-52s were inspired to sing about my car right around that time: “I got me a car, it seats about 20/So come on up and bring your jukebox money.”

The Happy Car and I were like this. So close.

I was very aware of its size and girth and ability to throw air traffic controllers off their stride. So when putting the car in reverse, I took my time. I didn’t want to scare any small large animals.

When I was growing up, we had an awesome house, the kind you never forget and never get over, and it had a loooooonnnng driveway that went down a hill, over a creek and up a hill. When people used to drop me off, they would apologize: “I’m really sorry, but I can’t do your driveway.” Even the boys. Wimps. I did a lot of walking.

But I could pull up and down that driveway. No prob.

OK. One prob. When the grown daughter of our across-the-street neighbor parked right at the end of our driveway. And I couldn’t see her (tiny) car there because the back of my overlarge vehicle was pointed upwards, like at the sky. (Or at least at the roof of the neighbor’s house.)

And so it happened one bright morning that I backed very gently into her car. In. Slow. Motion.

My car’s bumper glanced ever so lightly off of the back of her car.

It was terrifying.

When I hopped out, there was no damage anywhere. I had been going so slowly, not a thing had happened.

My mom called her mom outside, and the mom said, “Well, it’s her fault for parking right there. If I’ve told her once, I’ve told her a hundred times not to park there. Don’t worry about it.”

Fast forward to our neighborhood today.

We have a back road out of our neighborhood that passes farmland that is getting eaten up by P-R-O-G-R-E-S-S. Read: my neighborhood, other neighborhoods and roads. First gravel roads, then two lane roads, and very soon… four lane roads. It’s very much like the amazingly touching children’s book, The Little House.

For almost as long as we’ve lived here (nine years), we’ve gone out the back way of the neighborhood. It has a funky, curvy intersection that only the locals understand. Forget about it if you’re from anywhere else in the world. You would not get it; it’s all a really, really, really funny inside joke.

A couple of days ago, they reconfigured the road to get us all reprogrammed for the newer, bigger road. People stop who didn’t use to stop have to stop, and people can keep going who used to have to stop. It’s all very fun and amazing and new. And dangerous.

Yesterday, in a fit of safe thinking, the town put a STOP sign right in the middle of the road. Not on the side of the road, because people might misunderstand who was supposed to stop.

But right in the middle of the road, drilled into the asphalt.

My 11-year-old son took one look at it and said, “That thing is going down. I give it 24 hours.”

I concurred. “Yep. Someone’s gonna hit that sucker.”

Today, we drove towards our neighborhood on the windy, curvy, quaint little road. When we got to the STOP sign, it had vanished.

“Yep. Goner. Told you,” my son said.

Glass was still strewn across the roadway, the stop sign crumpled in an apologetic heap at the side of the road.

As I drove by in my minivan with the wonky doors and testy sensors, I had one clear thought: at least it wasn’t me.

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30 thoughts on “It Wasn’t Me

  1. vanster101 says:

    That was great! I knew someone was going to hit that thing! I hope that the road is not that popular, or you’re going back to the “main” entrance, because I do not want a busy street right near us. At least we are not like backing up to it like some people. I don’t want it to be like the little house! It was so pretty, and so beautiful. Agh! It’s destructive, dude! 😉

  2. Bernie Brown says:

    I love those tumble down wonky old buildings, too. I’m sorry the wind got to that one.

    I have a story similar to yours about running gently into your neighbor’s car when you were a teen. Bear with me, as this is a little bit sad. Several years ago I had a similar accident in our parking lot. Our neighbor Bert was slowly backing out of his parking space at the same time I was slowly backing out of mine. Since our parking spots are at a right angles to each other, there occurred a very gentle touching of bumpers. It was as if planned, the slow leaving of the parking space, the gentle bump together, the stopping and checking and agreeing that no damage had been done to either car. In the future, the laughing about it happening again. Bert, the neighbor whose green Jeep’s bumper touched my red Oldsmobile’s bumper, died a month ago from leukemia. Ours was a parking lot relationship made up of “hi’s” and short talks about the weather. Didn’t know until he died about his very distinguiished Army career serving several terms at the Pentagon, overseeing high profile missions around the world. He was just gentle Bert who I think about every time I back my car out of its parking space.

    Didn’t mean to take over your blog. Good luck with that new intersection. No matter how much we want them to, things never stay the same.

    • annewoodman says:

      So true, Bernie. Very sad about Bert. I know how that is… I have had several housing situations where you know the person and his or her car but not much else about him or her. It sounds like you and Bert left things on good terms, though. And maybe the tribute is that you remember him in that way.

  3. Holly says:

    Ha! What were they thinking when they put the sign there?

    Sorry your little road is having growing pains.

  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    Sometimes you wonder about the thought processes in play behind some of these actions. Like a stop sign in the middle of the road. Hmmm.

    A few years ago, we decided to put up a brick mailbox. Now, after major snowstorms, and after the plows have been by, all of the plastic mailboxes on our street are knocked to the ground. But not ours. 🙂

    And a ten-mile run? I am majorly impressed.

    • annewoodman says:

      A brick mailbox sounds like something that will still be around when homes fall to the ground. ; ) Good thinking!

      Don’t be impressed. We didn’t shatter any world records. Just ran.

  5. Daryl says:

    Someone came close to hitting me this morning at that very spot. She was on her phone! I stopped, knowing that she did see the stop sign. It’s understanable though, it was diminutive compared to her massive SUV–but larger than the keys on her phone! I swear, the drivers are so bad around here that you could block the road with a 747 and someone would plough into it.

  6. Amy Mak says:

    “That thing is going down.” Hilarious. Love the photo and such a descriptive and humorous post!

  7. 4amWriter says:

    I have never before in my life heard of a stop sign in the middle of the road. What group of men came up with that brill idea?

    Love the picture. I think old houses/barns/buildings are awesome, too. We were in PA this weekend and drove through some gorgeous country dotted with old homes built of stone. They took my breath away.

    Your old house/driveway sound ultra-cool. Do you ever wonder if it is still in good condition, or have you seen it lately? Childhood houses are hard to get over. I still miss mine.

    • annewoodman says:

      I love old homes built of stone. We only get the wooden sort here. When we stayed at a B&B in England, though, it was very old and stone. The owner kept talking about how cool it was that we lived in a “wooden house.” So funny.

      My old house was still in good shape as of a couple of years ago. My husband and I drove past it when we were visiting Atlanta. I hope the family that lives there realizes the gem they have!

  8. Subtlekate says:

    This is fantastic. I laughed all the way through it.
    Good work on your word count too.

  9. Kana Tyler says:

    Ha, I learned to drive (and park!) in that same car. One of my friends gave me a floating key-chain because he said I drove an “ocean liner”… But man, I’ll tell ya: I could park ANY damn thing after I learned to parallel-park THAT! 🙂

    Wonder where they’ll put the stop-sign next. Think they’ve learned?

    • annewoodman says:

      Me, too! I used to be able to parallel park so well because of that car. Now? I’m completely out of practice.

      I’m waiting to see if they put the stop sign back up. I’m voting for an over-the-road banner like you might see at a car race.

  10. We used to drive around in a car aptly named The Beast when I was in high school. I’ve never found a car that could match it in awesomeness. Sigh. One day, my friend. One day… Of course, when I do find it, you’ll probably back into it.

  11. Ten miles and you write! You, Anne, are a marvel.

  12. Melissa says:

    Ha! I had a similar type of car…1976 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Google it. It was the original land yacht complete with a bumper sticker “USS Blue Goose.” It was great. It scared people…a lot. But I never hit anything or was hit by anything while driving that beast…that anyone could tell on my car.

  13. jmmcdowell says:

    I had to settle for driving my parents’ Pontiac Catalina. Also a boat! I much prefer my Sonata hybrid these days. 🙂

    A sign in the middle of the road. Oh yes. That makes so much sense! A few years back, the city or DOT put up some of those thin poles at the edge of a merge ramp to keep people from crossing too soon into the adjacent lane. Guess how long it took for someone to take those down? 😉

    • annewoodman says:

      I’ve seen those poles! So funny. Only cement makes a difference. And judging by the black marks along the sides of some curves in the highways, maybe not even cement.

  14. Jay Helms says:

    Was it, by chance a station wagon? Remember those lovely vehicles? My older brother used to call ours a “bomb”. I noticed today that they’ve re-engineered the sign to be easily replaced :).

  15. I loved it. It sounds like the round-abouts they are starting to install here in the midwest.

    Great picture. Soooo much character. there’s got to be a whole bunch of stories there.

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