I’m the kind of driver other drivers like to flip off. The only reason I’m alive today is because I wouldn’t dare leave my house without praying for protection on the roads. Why the good Lord keeps answering these petitions is a mystery since I continue to make the same mistakes.
Recently, I completed an online traffic school experience for the SECOND time in about 3 years. Embarrassing. You see, I inherited my father’s lead foot. I don’t believe I have yet matched his record, but I may be inching zooming up on it. Once Dad received 2 speeding tickets 20 minutes apart between Pocatello and Boise! Unfortunately, Mom was with him, and she was livid. But her fury that day didn’t equal her anger with him years before when a policeman came to arrest Dad for failure to pay a score of parking tickets. That incident occurred early in their marriage and a few days before Christmas.
Luckily, Daddy wasn’t home, but the tearful mother and her two little girls appealed to the officer’s holiday spirit, and he agreed to accept $30 to dismiss the multitude of misdemeanors. “That’s not too much,” you’re saying to yourself. But remember this was in the early 1950s, and$30 was a lot of money. Someone went without something that Christmas, and I’ll wager it was Dad!
When I asked Mom how many speeding tickets Dad received, she couldn’t venture a guess because she knew he didn’t tell her about all of them. That’s another tendency I picked up from Daddy – I don’t always share these kinds of “adventures” with my spouse. (Upon hearing that I hadn’t informed Hubby about this recent speeding ticket, one of my sons exclaimed, “Mom! What are you? Twelve?”) I know that I am a complete, yellow-bellied chicken when it comes to these things, but if you had my driving history and a husband who has a NEAR-PERFECT record – and who won’t let you forget it – I think there’s a little room for the “sin of omission.” (I realize that some may wonder why I would publicize this information for fear of being “found out,” but Gar happens to be blog-o-phobic, so I’m not too worried that he’ll log onto Seventh Season.)
I received my first ticket when I was 16, but I beat that one in court – I was a wannabe Perry Mason back in ’63, and that victory fueled my desire … for a couple of years. Unfortunately, that was the last time I beat a rap, although I certainly tried! The worse stint of bad driving episodes occurred between 1984 and ’86 when I racked up 11 fender-benders in less than 2 years. (That stretch of incidents certainly surpasses any my dad accumulated.) To remind myself that it’s time to slow down and think about what I’m doing, here is a rundown of the “worst of times” I endured while driving our 1977 Ford Club Wagon – a mini-freight hauler, not a mini-van. Unfortunately, this isn’t the entire list of all my driving disasters, but you’ll get the picture as you scroll through this record of recklessness.
- I parked under a “luggage rack-eating” tree, whose hungry branch grabbed hold of the rack and nearly ripped off the entire apparatus. I drove home with the ladder, once secured to the back doors, precariously swaying to and fro. (Yes, these monsters featured ladders so drivers could access said luggage rack.)
- A “down-hill racer” episode occurred when my van slid down a short dead-end street, in spite of every effort to turn into the church parking lot. I ended up t-boning my neighbor’s car that was stuck in a snowbank at the bottom of the hill. Luckily, her car was devoid of passengers.
- Upon attempting to deposit a check via a bank drive-through window, I encountered a “side-mirror-eating” column that ripped the whole thing off and nicely scuffed the column.
- Back-up problem #1 happened when I backed out of my driveway and into a car parked across the street while the occupants were visiting our neighbors. (Now come on! Who can see a midnight blue car at midnight?)
- Back-up problem #2 was totally NOT my fault. I was progressing down a street under road construction when the water truck I was following, stopped, shifted into reverse and smashed into my van’s front end. The incident’s negative effect was compounded by the fact that I was returning from the shop where the Wagon had spent 3 days getting a side window replaced as I had …
- broken it while trying to pry it open in order to retrieve my locked-in keys.
- I side-swiped a low post, effectively removing a previously repaired section of the rear quarter-panel, while trying to park in a place reserved for compacts. (The quarter panel repair occurred before we bought the cursed vehicle. NOT MY FAULT!)
- The low post and I met again when I tried to drive up and over one that I forgot was there to separate parking spots.
- I can blame the run-away van episode on Ford Motor Company. During that era, car critics carped on the manufacturer for creating a mechanism that was difficult to shift into PARK. One day, I attempted to do just that before hustling into the home of a friend. Unfortunately, I shifted into REVERSE instead of PARK. Unfortunately, I had stopped on a hill. Unfortunately, there was ONE house on the ENTIRE block whose front yard was framed in with a decorative fence; and UNFORTUNATELY, my van sailed down the street, jumped the curb, broke through the fence and took out a tree. (The insurance company canceled our policy after this incident.)
I can’t remember the last 2 mishaps that occurred within the 2-year period, but I’ll mention a couple that happened shortly after we dumped the van for a Chevy Suburban. Because the vehicle’s size didn’t diminish much, I still suffered from depth perception problems.
While backing out of the garage one afternoon, I rammed into a young neighbor’s junker of a car parked directly behind the Suburban in out driveway. His car was already so dinged and dented that I couldn’t determine which were new injuries. Nevertheless, I ended up paying him $150 to fix one of the million scratches, which he did NOT fix. Instead, he used the windfall for prom. Oh well.
Then there was the day I was late for school/work and tore out of the garage so fast and so crooked that I ripped away a section of the garage door frame as well as my side mirror AGAIN. Gary and the boys heard the timber tearing away and dashed out to investigate.
“WHAT DID YOU DO?” Hubby yelled as I backed down the driveway.
“I’m not sure,” I hollered back. “But I don’t have time to look at it. B – Y – E!”
Now you know why I’m loathe to tell him about my driving misadventures. I don’t think his heart can take it.