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Sunday, August 14, 2011


I thought that would be a funny title for a blog post on Wednesday, 8/whatever-last-Wednesday-was/2011. I had just come home from a self-defense workshop with my fellow improv actors (what's funnier than improv actors doing improv? Improv actors doing self-defense!), and I was struck by the fact that in 2 hours of punching, eyeball-poking, kicking, and pinching, I had done no damage whatsoever to anyone or anything else. I had, however, really given my own right knee what for! I had kneed SO many fake groins SO hard that I had a combination bruise/swelling/friction burn thing. I hobbled for most of Thursday, and the scabs still haven't healed up and fallen off. Basically, if that night was any indication, a violent attacker in a parking lot or dark alley will be met with me yelling "GIVE ME THAT!", taking his gun, and shooting myself in the face. It seems this is how I roll. You're welcome, hardened criminals.

But that blog post title was substantially less funny when it occurred to me again today. You see, I live in a condo complex with a parking garage. Among this parking garage's ultra-modern features:
- grossly undersized parking spaces, so you have to enter and exit them with surgical precision, even if you drive a little Barbie's Dreamcar Mazda Miata
- lanes too narrow to accommodate more than one car at a time, so you must be ready to dive into a space at any moment to avoid collision
- MASSIVE concrete columns every 10 feet on either side of the lane, which are convenient for testing the efficacy of your airbag, blocking available space you might otherwise use to avoid collision, and conveniently preventing you from seeing what's coming when backing out of a space. I like to think of them as Complacency Prevention Measures.
- a 7-year old whose asshole parents categorically REFUSE to prevent him from zipping through the parking garage on various non-automobile conveyances, no matter how many times the newsletter specifically states that no one should be electro-scootering, rollerblading, skateboarding, etc. in the crowded and dangerous parking garage. Dear That Kid's Parents: Be sure to take out a life insurance policy on him! Love, Darwin

I lost my passenger side mirror to a concrete column the first week I lived here, but in the subsequent four years have developed good parking garage survival instincts and avoided further trouble. Until Saturday...

On my way to the gate, I found myself at one of the many points where the lane is not wide enough for 2 cars to turn in opposing directions at the same time. Being a fundamentally polite person, I stopped and waited for the oncoming car to move past me. Then I waited for the next one. And the next. And the next. Around car #6, I couldn't help feeling that in all fairness, my turn had come, and since car #7 had fallen a little behind, I figured I could start my turn, he would see me/stop, and then I could move forward. Instead, I pulled forward, he saw me...and decided to play chicken with me.

I am nothing if not a huge chicken.

Unfortunately, he was such an aggressive sportsman that he had advanced too quickly for a simple stop to be sufficient to avoid head-on collision, so I also had to swerve...thereby slamming the back half of my car into the concrete column on my right.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but people are HUGE assholes. Seriously.

I heard the crunch zone of my rear passenger door surrendering to the concrete, and I immediately went into my Vehicular Emergency Coping Procedure:
Step 1: Close eyes. Think "That did not just happen. That did not just happen. That did not just happen."
Step 2: Open eyes. Faced with the unavoidable reality that something bad did just happen, find the nearest place to pull over. Convey your vehicle to that point for assessment.
Step 3: Unlock all doors, knowing you are having a breakdown and are INCREDIBLY likely to accidentally lock yourself out. Then go have a look.
Step 4: Crumble into a heap.

And just in case you think I'm kidding about Step 1, I once had an accident in which I rolled into the car ahead of me in bumper-to-bumper rain-induced traffic. After the initial BAM, I commenced Step 1. When the car behind me rolled into me and I felt the subsequent identical BAM, I became completely and utterly convinced that I had been swallowed up into a temporal loop, and was doomed to sit in that bucket seat, slamming into the car in front of me over and over and over, for the rest of eternity. I am not kidding. The only way I eventually realized I wasn't in Purgatory was when I saw the rain-soaked face of the driver from the car behind me, knocking on my window and asking if I was alright.

But I digress. The thing is, I was completely devastated by Saturday's turn of events. Not because I'm that materialistic and can't cope with cosmetic damage to my car, but because 1) I DO NOT have the funds to cover the repair of the damage caused when I essentially drove into a concrete column of my own accord ("WHY AM I HITTING MYSELF?") and 2) if you've stumbled upon my little "About Me" page, you'll know that I have a bad habit of naming/anthropomorphizing inanimate objects. This was not cosmetic damage to my car; this was me being wholly responsible for harming Arionrhod - a wonderful companion who has been nothing but good to me.
Rion in happier times, on the day I got her. MY POOR BABY! WHYYYYYYYYYY??????
I couldn't have felt worse if I had sucker-punched my best friend for no reason. And I would feel really badly about that. To make matters worse, these injuries to my current ride were eerily reminiscent of those sustained by my very first car, Rex, in my very first accident:

The Baby Jesus Dodging Incident
I was 17. I'd had Rex for about 6 months. Christmas was coming. I was going to go to Sunday School, mostly because all of my friends were there. I drove to the church I had attended from the age of 5. I turned down the parking lot aisle in which my family had parked since I was 5. But my way was blocked by the Christmas-y addition of a manger, in which lay the baby Jesus.

A dumpster prevented me from seeing traffic behind me, so I couldn't back into the main thoroughfare. But I also couldn't park in the middle of the lane, as I would be blocking the 4 cars that had gotten the only 4 available spaces. I assessed the situation.
This was the reality of the situation.

This was my perception of the situation.
As you can see from the illustration above, I was pretty sure my car was an aircraft carrier, and the son of God was, quite literally, all around me. Perhaps I should point out that the "baby Jesus" was not an actual baby, but a doll, as you probably expect. My paranoia was not about hitting him and/or caving his manger in on him. The problem was that I was 17 years old. If I had done anything that damaged the manger and/or the representation of the Christ child, I would spend the rest of high school being "The Girl Who Ran Over Jesus". NOBODY'S reputation can take that. NOBODY. So my focus was that I would not, under any circumstances, take out the manger. I took my foot off the brake and started to inch forward. Once Mary and Joseph were even with my side mirror, I figured I was in the clear.

That's when I heard the crunch of surrender on my passenger side and felt Rex come to a total standstill. In my concern to avoid hitting the manger, I had managed to get snagged on the rear corner of the church van. So I was embarrassed, devastated, and unable to free my car from the van's grip. Ultimately a kind soul sent his wife and daughters into the church while he stood in the cold and directed me through the steps to liberate Rex, at which point I engaged in Steps 3 and 4 for the first time in my life.

So I wasn't The Girl Who Ran Over Jesus. Instead, I was The Girl Who Destroyed Her Own Car and a Church Van in Order to Avoid Running Over Jesus. So I saved Jesus, who then saved everybody else, which basically means I am the savior of mankind. You're all welcome. I'm going to hell.

MY POINT IS: there are few things in this life that will make you feel dumber/more publicly humiliated than doing thousands of dollars of damage to your own car all by yourself. Arionrhod's journey back to wholeness will begin on Monday, but I have no idea when (or if) my ego will ever bounce back. I sure hope the asshat who spooked me into the column enjoyed his afternoon at the pool! I'm off to take some more sedatives to try and stop the flashbacks.

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At August 14, 2011 at 4:41 PM , Anonymous Thomas said...

It makes me happy that you named your car. I did the same thing and am glad to see others doing likewise.

At August 14, 2011 at 8:49 PM , Blogger Nick Nafpliotis said...

Please tell me that you have seen the movie 'Saved.' A major plot point is a girl accidentally running over a statue of Jesus.

...and if you do watch it, be sure to enjoy it with a refreshing Diet Coke :)

At August 15, 2011 at 5:36 PM , Blogger Kimberly said...

I am familiar with "Saved", but have never actually seen it. In other news, I am now shocked/saddened/disgusted with myself upon realizing that I drank Diet Coke pretty much all weekend without thinking about it. CURSE YOU, SNEAKY SOCIAL NETWORK ADVERTISING!!!


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