• illos,  Life Lessons

    The Dent

    Like all new car drivers, I like to park my car as far away from everybody else in the parking lot as possible. I don’t mind walking farther if it means avoiding door dings and shopping cart scratches. So when I pulled into the meeting room (church) parking lot, the same rules apply. I surveyed the available spots and opted for a shady spot near the back.

    What I didn’t realize was that this Sunday was “All Day Meeting” which means pretty much what it sounds like: meetings all day. And lunch and lots more people from out of town that fill up the parking lot. Silly stupid me. So when I came out to my car after the first meeting, you can imagine my alarm when I saw this big industrial-sized van in primer gray parked RIGHT NEXT to my shiny new car. All I can think is: they are too close! There is no way they can park that close and not smash their doors right into me!!!

    I rush out to the passenger side of my car and peer down at where their door would make impact. Sure enough, there’s a tiny crescent shaped nick the size of my very short pinky fingernail. I look directly across to the side of the van and there’s an itty bitty piece of red paint stuck to the corner of their door. ARG!!!!!!!! I knew it would happen! Why! Why! Why was I so dumb to trust that people who go to church are more careful and considerate than the average public. I am an idiot. I should have parked down the street or better yet taken the bus.

    The dent is very very very small. In fact when I told Toby about it when I got home, he asked me not to point it out so he could find it for himself. He couldn’t see it. I had to show him. So really there is nothing to get all upset about EXCEPT that I hate it when I think something might happen and then it DOES happen… it’s like having a pet peeve. Or getting kicked when you already have a bruise. Whatever. Maybe I’m over-reacting.

    I went back into the meeting room, seething. I know who this van belongs to and I had half a brain to go and confront the guy. Except I’m at church and I’m the prodigal daughter who is coming back to the fold after being gone for ten long years of eating locusts in the desert. I’m not really in a position to be getting confrontational with a “brother” about my big fat shiny new material object that I can’t take to heaven with me when I die. Plus, this guy has a big family and they all pile into their rusty old van that is painted primer gray because that is what they can afford. I could buy FOUR vans AND put braces on all his kids with the money I spent on this car. So I need to eat humble pie with a capital H.

    But it gets worse. As we’re standing around talking and greeting people, I am introduced to my denter and he shakes my hand. I’m trying to be nice and not think about The Dent but HE HAS A LIMP FISH HANDSHAKE!!!! His fingers barely touch my palm before he pulls his hand back and shoves it in his pocket. I hate it when people shake hands like that. It’s like a sign that says, “Don’t Trust Me”. A limp hand shake isn’t sincere. Are they afraid they’re going to catch something from me? Why bother shaking hands? Why not just pull the ol’ I-was-just-leaning-forward-but-then-I-decided-to-smooth-my-hair-out-instead move? I don’t know. I was rumbling inside. I wanted to say “Listen Denter, you dented my new car and you shake hands like an old lady!” (I take that back, I know a lot of old ladies who shake hands very warmly and sincerely. So maybe it was like an old lady on her death bed…)

    I didn’t say anything. I just smiled and tried to be the better person (or the better wimp according to Toby). This guy probably has no idea he nicked my car. He probably didn’t even notice that my car is shiny and new. Or maybe he did it on purpose to teach me a lesson. I have no idea. Maybe he was yelling at his kids or pondering some scriptures or just in a hurry to get out of the car and wasn’t careful. I’ll probably never know.

    At the end of the day it was bound to happen and I’m learning to get over it. Maybe someday I’ll get to know this guy and we’ll laugh about it while we scoop ourselves servings from the mystery casseroles in the pot luck food line.

    I have to wrap this up. I’ll have to fill you in on the towel spreading that “Biff” would be proud of tomorrow. The baby is insisting that she CANNOT play by herself and she needs me right this very minute.