Monday, May 17, 2010

Right Turn

Right Turn

The sun was almost straight ahead as I neared the small shopping center on my right. And as I started to make the turn, I was suddenly blinded.

I just had time to say, "I can't see a--" when the car fell away from me, out of my control, pitching downward with a horribly loud, long metallic noise.

Usually when I wreck the car, I shout "I wrecked the car!" but this time I was hanging by my seatbelt, and the view was all so incredibly wrong all I could do was whisper, "Oh God, help, oh God, look at it. Look what I've done," while responding to an intense need to get out.

I unlatched the door, and pushed just far enough so it wouldn't take my hand with it when it fell open, and then scrambled around to get purchase on the dash before I unlatched the seatbelt. Falling inside the car felt very, very wrong. I seemed to be all legs, but somehow I got myself through that door and walked all trembly away from the car, being careful not to look at it. I'd outdone myself this time, and I was too embarrassed and ashamed to look at what I'd done.

A woman was suddenly there beside me, holding a cell phone. I stopped and stood blinking at her, unable to decide what to say.

"I'm sorry," she said in a sheepish voice, "but my husband is never going to believe this." And she started snapping pictures.

I walked quickly towards the store I'd been heading for and was relieved to see the proprietress talking with a customer, oblivious to what had just happened in the parking lot. She greeted me.

"I just did this thing," I said. "With my car." As I waved toward the window, the both of them cried out, and I finally turned to look. My car was standing on its nose, nearly vertical. I'd almost passed the entrance, and thinking I was pulling over onto the shoulder to get ready to turn, I'd actually pulled over onto the narrow entrance, so the car had gone right over the concrete edging and plunged into a culvert.

With a shaky voice I called the wrecker and went outside to wait.

A car drove up, and a man got out. "Looks like you need help," he said, and I mumbled some polite answer. He started talking about possible ways to try to get the car out to save me the wrecker fee, but he decided, reasonably I thought, that only a wrecker could handle this one. He kindly stood there with me to wait for it, so I wouldn't be alone.

Then another car drove up, and the passenger-side window rolled down.

"Ms Kirkwood!" There was almost a chuckle in the voice because this was someone who knew me and my history. It was nice to hear my name with a chuckle in it. And then the young man in the car was laughing and shaking his head.

I was back. And there was only one thing to say, so I said it. I pointed at the good Samaritan standing next to me and shouted, "That man wrecked his car!"


  1. Oh my goodness. Did you get the pictures from the girl taking pics with her camera instead of CALLING 911????

  2. Or she might at least have said, "Are you okay?" before she started snapping pics.

    Well, I tend to get focused on what I'm doing and forget the niceties too.



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