Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Parking Lot

It was a nice day. That is, until I took Olivia to the park on my afternoon break.

My pup and I were enjoying a peaceful, relaxing walk, relishing the warm California sun while the rest of the country was suffering through a polar vortex. But the warm glow quickly wore off when we returned to my car and were greeted by approximately one trillion parents who were picking up their kids from the school next door. They were cutting through the park parking lot and creating a nightmare logjam of traffic because children can no longer walk home. You see, there are kidnappers lurking behind every single bush, therefore every single SUV-driving parent has to pick up and escort home every single child.

Okay, fine. But that’s not what got me.

In my efforts to exit the parking lot, I bumped the car in front of me. And when I say “bumped,” I mean I was at a dead stop when I prematurely released my foot on the brake and rolled into the car two feet in front of me, resulting in my rubber bumper tapping its rubber bumper. It was so soft that I wasn’t even sure I’d touched the car. I thought I’d hit my brakes hard enough to create the gentle jolt and was going to drive on until the driver pulled over to the side. She exited her car and started screaming, “YOU HIT ME, YOU HIT ME!!!” 

Uh, okay.

I pulled over and looked at her rubber bumper. There was a tiny piece of scratched rubber--roughly the size of an eyelash coated in Maybelline mascara--that the screw on my license plate had caught. I flicked it off with my fingernail.

“This is a new car!” she huffed. “Give me your driver’s license! And your insurance.” 

When a police car drove by, she waved at it frantically but he didn’t see her. I just stood there looking at her with a bemused expression, not quite believing her reaction.  I’ve been hit harder by Tonka Trucks.

“No disrespect,” I finally said, “But I really don’t think this is anything. I wasn’t even sure I’d touched you.”

“Yeah, but it’s a new car,” she repeated. “I’ve had it two weeks!”  And yes, I understood that. She’d made that very clear. This was a NEW CAR. But honestly, there were bigger pimples on the tweens milling about than the nick she kept pointing at. She photographed my license and insurance information and, as an afterthought, I asked her name, but only because I felt like I should show some level of interest. Not that I really cared. Her name was Maura.

We parted ways and I returned home, perturbed over the experience. Not because of the incident itself, but because of her reaction. It was an unpleasant reminder that there are people who interpret skin tags as tumors, raindrops as monsoons, and splinters as stab wounds.  

God help the first bird that baptizes Maura's new car. The hunt for Osama bin Laden will pale in comparison to the efforts she’ll use to hunt down the feathered felon. I have a feeling rocket launchers may be involved. Because in case you didn’t get it…


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