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.