Wednesday, March 16, 2011

like one of those urban legends, but dumber

So look, I'm not a good driver--you know this.  I am a little bit better at it now, because I am forced to drive every day in order to get...well, anywhere (it's Atlanta) but still, when things happen that are out of the ordinary when I'm driving, I don't like it.  I get nervous.

So when I was driving down a major street yesterday and that big van pulled up close alongside me, I didn't like it very much.  I liked it even less when some guy stuck his head and half his body out of the window of the front passenger seat and started frantically gesturing to me, then to the back of my car, and then back to me again.

At this point, I figured one of several things.

1.) My brakelight was out. 
2.) The back of my car was on fire. 
3.) I had just run over something (or, god forbid, someone). 
4.) I had a flat tire. 
5.) I was going to get carjacked.
6.) There was a killer in the backseat with a hook for a hand, and the call is coming FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE! (Also, my trunk was filled with Pop Rocks and Coke.)

I looked over at the guy and gestured quickly (again, difficult to do, I have this thing about keeping both hands on the wheel--and by "thing," I mean that I am a constitutionally nervous driver) "What?"  He didn't say anything, just make this desperate, panicked face, again gesturing to me, then to the back of my car, then to me again.  Well, shit.

Cautiously (again, remember, we're still driving high speed down a road at this point, a big, busy road, with no place to pull off), I rolled down my window and tentatively shouted out my window, "Is something wrong?"

The guy in the van, not missing a beat, shouted back, "I can't help but notice that you have a big dent in the back of your car, ma'am.  Would you like me to help you fix it?"  He was looking for freelance auto body work.  What did he I think I was going to do?  Say yes so he could throw a handful of business cards into my window?  I very politely said no thank you (trying all the while to keep my hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road), and rolled up my window again.

What I didn't tell him is that I had made that big dent in the car myself, while backing up our other car into it in our driveway last year.  Because I'm a terrible driver.  And he's lucky I didn't put a dent in his van while he was trying to arrange some sort of high speed interaction with me as we were both barreling down a major street during rush hour.

In sum: I hate driving.  The end.


  1. That would have freaked me out. I have dents all over my car. Most have been inflicted trying to get in and out of my garage. One is from backing up into a pole at work. Stationery objects hate me.

  2. Anonymous10:31 PM

    Wow. That's just insane.

  3. Anonymous10:41 PM

    I respectfully disagree that the dent makes you a terrible driver. That's because I have also caused significant damage by backing into a car in my driveway. Ahem.

  4. Amen, Julia. Until last year, I'd had 8 major accidents, all with stationary objects, and none with moving ones. Of course, I finally managed to ram a moving target too. Yay me! I think such things don't make us bad drivers. Maybe we just have spacial reasoning difficulty. Depth perception and whatnot. Surely it's better than those who constantly speed and change lanes obsessively to get one car length ahead. At least, that's what I like to tell myself.

    And Michelle, how long have you had your license? If you compare yourself to those who've had it for the same length of time, you rock! You've got to be better than a teenage driver. I'd like to see a 16 year old have a conversation between cars while driving and not crash.

  5. Anonymous11:55 PM

    I just visualized the guy trying to throw business cards into your car, and the cars either flying back into his face (turning into sharp paper knife, giving him paper cuts on his face) or they all fly out of his window into the air, land on a windshield of a car behind his. haha.

  6. Anonymous1:45 AM

    That guy was a jerk. It's so dangerous to distract *any* driver for something so frivolous. The only reason I would ever try to get someone's attention at highway speed is if something is literally about to fall off - a muffler, something tied to the roof, objects from an open trunk etc. because those may cause an accident if they manage to get free. F-wit. Glad you got through unscathed.

  7. Anonymous6:10 AM

    Just one dent? You need at least 3 to 4 to qualify as a bad driver.

  8. Anonymous12:04 PM

    I'm not a bad driver. I have a bad garage. And a dented car.

  9. Oh my Gawd, driving in Atlanta is SCARY, no matter how good or bad a driver you are! I would travel between Atlanta and Macon every week, and I used to call State Route 400 the Indy 400, because people drove SO FAST! Also, what a fidiot (intentionally misspelled) that guy in the van was.

  10. My car is full of dents mostly from parking lots and stuff. But my brother had the best dent ever - when learning to drive, he dented the car and THE SIDE OF THE HOUSE.

  11. Anonymous8:19 PM

    I've often think that if my patients saw me in my car they'd be shocked and wondering if they had picked the right doctor. Not because I drive a cheepo 10 year old car but because of the multiple dents in it!
    icu attending

  12. Anonymous4:37 PM

    In California(and New York too perhaps?), that guy might have found himself at the end of a long and threatening rant, punctuated with lots and lots of swearing.

  13. Anonymous3:14 AM

    Well I must just be a morbid distrustful person. the first thing I thought was that he was just trying to get you to pull over someplace so he could then kidnap you and do terrible things. That the "I can fix your car" thing, was just something he was saying that he thought you might fall for.

  14. Anonymous6:27 PM

    that's just like when homer backed out his car into another car, smirked and said "oh well, at least i got him as bad as he got me"...then realized it was his other car. d'oh!

  15. You gotta get that dent fixed then, to avoid getting that sort of attention from a random driver again. Anyway, yeah, good thinking for not stopping at all and stuff. Just keep up the good road focus and let's hope you don't put any more dents on the car. Maybe it'll change how you feel about driving along the way.

  16. Anonymous8:08 PM

    I have big dents in my car too from 'invisible' stationary objects. I think of myself as a safe driver because I don't participate in road rage or other reckless driving. Backing into poles and such is almost unavoidable in some settings. And it totally dents your fender or bumper every time, so just be fine with it.

  17. Anonymous3:57 AM

    That is crazy! I have several big dents in my car and yes, I put them in. It would be too much to fix and pointless. Stationary objects just hate me.