I’ve caused a few wrecks

On July 30, 1972 (my 16th birthday), I drove to the highway patrol station to get my driver’s license. My learner’s permit was in my pocket and my mother was in the passenger seat. As I pulled into the space, I scraped a car.

It belonged to the highway patrol officer who tested me. My mother paid him for the damage to his car. I passed the test.

Later that day, I was demonstrating to my father my driving skills. I parked in the public lot behind my family’s store, Zimmerman’s. Not stopping in time, I hit the parking meter, head on. No damage. My father rarely rode as a passenger with me after that.

The next day, I had a wreck in the middle of the downtown with Claudia Blalock, a classmate. We were in the middle of the downtown, in traffic. Best I can remember, there wasn’t a lot of damage.

I don’t remember whose fault it was, but I remember Claudia’s comment.

“I like to drive fast,” she said.

A couple of years later, I was driving my brother’s sports car — a snazzy convertible — down a gravel road on the way to the Beech Mountain tennis courts, where I had a snazzy job as the tennis pro.

Going a little too fact, I went into a slide on the curve and hit a Mercedes coming in the other direction. As I recall, the Mercedes didn’t have a lot of damage. My brother’s car suffered a dent big — enough to total the car.

About ten years ago a guy ran a stoplight and hit me. My daughter, Emma, was in the passenger’s seat. She cut her eye and the police officer wanted to call an ambulance. I called my wife, who came and got her. She applied a band-aid (much less traumatic). I later learned, from my lawyer, that calling an ambulance would have resulted in a much bigger settlement.

I smashed our mini van into a tree about fifteen years ago. I had started backing out of my driveway and remembered something I had forgotten from inside the house. When I got back in the car, not having remembered how close I was to the tree, I put it in reverse and hit the tree. End of car.

One time I got so excited about the good deal I got on an espresso machine (back in the days when Starbucks had not yet moved into the North Carolina market) that I leapt my car forward from the parking space in the Brendle’s parking lot and into the path of a speeding red sports car.

When I was 12, almost 13 years old, I did a very bad job one week of preparing for my Bar Mitzvah lesson. My mother sat in on these weekly lessons and she was embarrassed – not just because I did badly on the lesson, but because I was not as polite as she would have liked with Rabbi Gerber. She was pretty mad at me for not studying, and she wasn’t crazy about my excuse (I had had a tennis tournament and didn’t have time). She was furious, and when we went out to eat afterwards, she had a wreck and blamed it on me getting her so upset.

One time, on the way to the beach, the car was packed full and I had no visibility. I changed lanes and cut off a car in the other lane lane. Our cars never made contact, but the driver of the other car was angry. He honked and flipped me the bird.

Then he went to the police station and said I was a hit-and-run. Next, I got pulled by a cop and taken to the station – where the cop believed me more than the other guy, and let me go.

So I’ve caused a few wrecks – and these are the ones I remember. I know there are some I don’t remember. Or choose not to remember.

I’ve been lucky. Never gotten hurt.

talking street

walking by a tree
that looks like a bush
stepping into the street
a cat in the road
so still
takes a dash
to the dark grass

further down
a streetlight
tells a red car
that it’s not as young
as it used to be

and on the corner
by the house
where the coach
once lived
a stop sign stands
at attention

it’s unanimous
the neighbors I knew
as a young man
are all gone

I know the story
of each disease

I drive this old street
each day
and notice nothing

but this night
(walking a pace
that helps me
finish quicker)
it’s all brand new

rainbow over Mooresville

Today I drove to Mooresville, as I do each and every Tuesday — 52 weeks a year.

I drop off our paper — Coffee News — with Eric.  Eric delivers the papers for us there.  He’s been doing this for us faithfully for a few years — 52 weeks a year.

Often I’m busy.  Often Eric is busy.  So I drop the papers on his porch and boogie down the road.

But sometimes we have time to visit for a few minutes.  Today we did.

It’s always a pleasure.  Usually, like today, I yak too much.  Eric is a good listener.

I need to be a better listener.

Today, while I talked and we loaded papers, shortly before dusk, there was a soft rain falling.

He noticed a fairly impressive double rainbow.

He had to tell me about the rainbow three times.  I ran my mouth endlessly about my car repairs and it took a little repetition on his part before this registered.

I appreciate his persistence.  When he finally got my attention and I stopped talking and looked, it was worth a moment.

Sometimes I need a little help.  Thanks, Eric.

I pointed the iPhone and took a couple of pictures.

rainbow 1
rainbow over Mooresville
rainbow 2
rainbow over Mooresville 2
rainbow 3
rainbow over Mooresville 3

Purchase a car, get a FREE prize!

Yesterday, I traded my ’94 Honda Civic (238K miles and in pretty rough shape), for a far shinier ’85 Honda Civic Wagon with only 143k miles.

The one I got seems to be in pretty good shape, except for the fact that it overheated the first day — so the jury’s still out.

I love the five door convenience.  Great for carrying around boxes of Coffee News.

It also sits higher, so it’s much easier on my knees while doing deliveries — which I do a lot.

There are always a few surprises with a used car.

For example, this morning, I drove it to a mechanic to have the air-conditioning converted and the overheating checked out.

When I pulled down the sun visor, down dropped a condom.

And not just any condom, but a Magnum Large Size.

Perhaps this new car has overheated in more ways than one!

In any case, I hope the coolant, or perhaps a radiator flush, does the trick.  If it’s got a blown head gasket (which I don’t think is the case), I’ll be disappointed.

my old 94 honda
my new 85 Honda
Magnum Large Size Condom