car story friday

Wait, it’s not Friday yet? Don’t feed me your lies, Satan, I’m on the side of the Lord.

Anyway, in the summer of 2001, right after i bought my first Focus, I backed into my neighbor’s car. Not like, backing up, oops, small scratch, more like, backing up, WTF was that noise, oh shit my car is INSIDE that other car. I had just moved into this new apartment, I was probably hungover (this was during a period when I saw the sun rise at least 3 times a week), and I was late to my waitressing shift. The noise initially sounded like I’d backed into some garbage cans or something, and even at that I was pretty pissed about the damage to my paint job, so you can imagine my dismay when I realized that the sound wasn’t “trash cans” but more like “a small red car from the late 90s”. Confronted with the reality of the situation, I did what any panicked 21 year old would do: I drove away.

Yup, you read that right, I DROVE AWAY.

As I sped off, sweaty palms gripping the wheel like a wino and his swill, I noticed someone come out of my building, look at the car I’d just hit, then watch helplessly as I disappeared around the corner. What followed was possibly my worst waitressing shift to date. I was absolutely sick about this whole car thing. I felt like the worst person in the world. Remember those commercials they used to have for the LDS church that would run during afternoon cartoons? The one about how when you tell a lie it multiplies and will eventually come back to bite you in the ass, if not kill you outright? I was the little girl who stole her sister’s pearl necklace, if you get my drift.

At eleven o’clock, the shift behind me, I circled my neighborhood looking for the red car with the busted-up door. I was shaking like a leaf from the coffee and ephedrine I’d taken to get me through the shift, and when I finally found the vehicle in question, the note I wrote on my waitressing pad was almost illegible. But the owner must have been able to read my name and number, because the next day I got a call from my downstairs neighbor.

I did a hit and run on my downstairs neighbor’s car. And he saw THE WHOLE THING.

What an asshole, right? I am the biggest asshole ever.

I begged his forgiveness and told him I’d be happy to pay for the damages, unless he wanted to go through the insurance. His car needed a new door while mine ostensibly needed a new bumper (I didn’t want my parents to know that their daughter was a big asshole who couldn’t drive), and luckily, through the restaurant, I knew a guy who owned a body shop. And this guy liked me. A lot.

All in all, the whole thing set me back about $800, damage to both cars included. The financial outlay represented a weeks pay and a lot of ego, and my neighbor always looked at me shifty-eyed after that. But I learned a valuable lesson that day in June: Fucking look the hell behind you before you go backing up, ’cause you never know what’s back there, and it probably ain’t trash cans.

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