We think we remember what happened but mostly we don’t.
When tested, most people’s memories of past events are horrible. Details that seem clear and vivid are simply made up or are a twisted piece of something close-ish to the truth. When we can’t remember exactly what happened we are prone to filling in the gaps. This is memoir. Hold it loosely and consume with a dollop of salt.
These are all stories that I believe to be true. I might be wrong.
I just fixed the driver’s side mirror on my Saab. Here’s what happened…
I was driving to work so it was about 6:00 in the morning. The weather had turned warm and the chip-seal through my tires is so loud that I turn the radio up loud just to drown out the road noise. It’s the same crappy road that I drive through every day, dodging potholes and ‘possums and hoping like hell that a deer or a kid doesn’t jump out of the trees to play chicken with me.
I turn a corner and for the next two seconds I slow down so much that I could have read an encyclopedia. The car coming toward me, a big rusty boat of an automobile, is drifting into my lane. There’s no real side-of-the-road here in rural South Carolina. And there must have been just enough money to pave the road wide enough so that two Honda Civics could squeak by each other. Just chip-seal and add a white line up to about eight inches within the shallow ditch. I ease over, my reptile brain squirming, trying to thread between the ditch and the boat.
I’m not really thinking as much as I’ve left the car and am observing. The boat is still moving toward my side and I hear the car quiet down as I run the passenger side tires over the grass along the ditch. The bastard still doesn’t move. I have a vision of the side of my car being peeled of as if a can opener were used to strip the metal from the frame. Finally the driver of the rusty boat wakes up or puts down their phone or quits slapping their kid and swerves sharply back into their lane. But I hear an explosion like the crack of a firecracker way too close to my ear. Their mirror hit mine and, in the explosion, mine has blown up and is hanging off my car. I have the briefest of thoughts about running them down, but why? They probably have no insurance and probably carry a gun. Beside, they sped off as if not wanting to be caught. And I’d be late for work. I’ll let karma do its work.
I pulled over as much as I could, stopped the car, and got out to look at the damage. My mirror housing is demolished and the mirror is completely shattered. I can’t find a thing. The driver’s side door is riddled with what appears at first to be scratches. When I rub my hand over them, though, I learn that the scratches are made by pieces of mirror embedded in the red paint. I couldn’t find any other damage though I kept looking. I looked down the line of my car and couldn’t believe that anyone could be so close so as to smash my mirror but leave the rest of the side unscathed. Very weird.
When all was said and done, I paid fifty-bucks for a used mirror assembly. It took me minutes to install. There are two screws that hold it in place once the inside door cover is removed and the electronics are connected with two plugs and that’s it.
Funny, now that I think about it, this was the first time I came close to dying on the roads of South Carolina. For an update of the other you can go here.
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