Tuesday, April 3, 2007

the sorry salute

Before I get into the meat of this entry, there are three things that I said or thought today that I feel are relevant.
  1. Before Brian left for work this afternoon, he, as usual, told me to drive safely (Brandon was eating lunch at the time and we were going to leave for the Exchange and Commissary as soon as he was done). I started to say "I always do", then changed my mind and made a sarcastic comment. "Actually," I said, "I was going to drive with all of the doors open, and the trunk unlatched...and I was going to go in reverse the whole way." "Well, with the way you drive..." he said, characteristically knocking my driving skills. (For the record, I am not a bad driver. I am a terrible parker but I am NOT a bad driver.) "You know," I said, "I usually try to not be like this, but...how many cars have I totalled [none] and how many have you totalled [two]?"
  2. When we turned Brandon's carseat around to forward-facing, we did it quickly in the Toys R Us parking lot (long story). Britaxes are easy to install and it doesn't budge so I'm 99.9% sure that I did it right, but I've been meaning to re-do it more carefully. As I strapped Brandon into his seat, I told him, "I really should re-install this thing." Then I immediately thought to myself, "I shouldn't have said that. Now I'm going to get into an accident."
  3. As I was pushing Brandon in the shopping cart from the Comissary back to our car, I saw that there wasn't anybody in the aisle where we were parked, so I ran top speed down the aisle because Brandon loves it when I do that. And as I stopped the cart next to the trunk of our car, the thought sprang into my head, completely unbidden, that if there was a scene like that in a movie, it would be to illustrate what a fun and loving parent I am, so that it's even more tragic when I die in the next scene. "Why the hell am I thinking things like that?" I scolded myself.
I almost bought a Pepsi at the Commissary today. I usually don't. I've kicked my caffeine habit. I have one maybe once a month, when I'm feeling tired - which I wasn't today. But there was this urge that I couldn't explain, almost as if it were coming from outside myself. I resisted somehow, though. After all, I had bought a candy bar at the BXtra (a macadamia/Kona coffee chocolate bar) and I didn't really need any more sugar and caffeine. I was thirsty but there was a bottle of water in my diaper bag. And the fridge with the Pepsi is way on the other side of the front end from the register I was at.

If I had bought that Pepsi, maybe I would have taken my eyes of the road for the split second it takes to unscrew the cap, or to screw it back on, or to put it back in the cupholder, and maybe I wouldn't have seen the silver/gray Jeep that was about to pull out onto the road in front of me. I don't know how he managed to be going so fast on such a short stretch of road, but he obviously hadn't checked to make sure nobody was coming, and he certainly wasn't slowing down.

I slammed on my brakes and my horn simultaneously. He saw me at the same time that I saw him, and stopped - already out in the road. It took my car a lot longer than I was expecting to stop - I'd say 1.5-2 seconds. I barely managed to stop in time.

(Purple arrow is me, orange arrow is the other guy.)

Before I had even come to a complete stop, the guy gave me a kind of a "sorry salute". He backed out of the street and I gave him a look and gesture that clearly said, "dude, what the FUCK?!?!" He gave me the sorry salute again. Well, sir, it's oh so very nice of you to acknowledge that it was your fault, but if I had been going just a tiny bit faster (I was going maybe 35 mph), or if I HAD bought that Pepsi and had been taking a sip, or if I had been picking up Brandon's milk and handing it back to him, or any number of possibilities, YOU WOULD BE DEAD, and I would be held legally responsible since I would have been the one who hit you. Even though it was actually your fault. You wouldn't have been able to acknowledge that it was your fault because you would have been dead. But, you know, the sorry salute makes it all okay.


Brandon, by the way, didn't even seem to notice that anything had happened.


Tara said...

Ha ha. Sorry salute. Were there shoulders involved?

Oh and I totally think in scenarios too. It gets pretty ridiculous. The husband always like to hear my very detailed predictions.

Kerry said...

It was like a military salute, but with the hand vertical instead of horizontal, does that make sense? It seemed to encompass not only "sorry, my fault" but "I am relinquishing the right of way to you" as well. Smug SOB. I had the right of way anyway.