Wednesday, January 7, 2009

NYC Driver's Ed Manual - Lesson One

Scenario: While backing a rental car out of a narrow parking space in a poorly designed parking lot in the rain, you accidentally bump into an unseen vehicle at the bone-jarring speed of approximately 1 mile per hour. The vehicle's horn blares, indicating that it is occupied. After cursing quietly to yourself do you:

A. Immediately leap out of the vehicle, leaving it entirely blocking the aisle and impeding any other potential vehicles from passing, to make certain nobody was killed in the fiery wreck?


B. Calmly straighten out and pull off to the side to clear the way for traffic, before getting out to assess the damages?

In a calm, rational world--and perhaps even in Manhattan--the answer would be B.

In Queens, however, electing Option B will result in the following:

As you are pulling your car to the side, at the reckless speed of 1 or even 2 miles per hour, the driver of the other car will leap out of her vehicle and come running towards you screaming "WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU GOING???"

You will stop the car, setting the parking brake, and undo your seatbelt. As you are climbing out (perhaps instinctively leaving the motor running and the door open), you will attempt to explain that you were just pulling over...

Your explanation will fall on deaf ears as you turn to meet the 5 feet and 7 inches of gap-toothed, spandex-clad, ghetto fury barreling toward you.


You will tell her that of course you didn't see her, your voice unintentionally rising in pitch and volume to match her shrieking, while pondering to yourself that it is illegal to talk on the phone while driving in New York City.

She will continue to scream, informing you that YOU'RE LUCKY SHE'S GOT HER KID WITH HER OR SHE WOULD KICK YOUR ASS!!

At some point her mother will chime in with a scathing YOU'RE AN IDIOT AND YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE!

You will ask if everyone is okay. You will ask if the car is okay. The answer to both questions will be yes, but she will continue screaming and threatening violence.

During the course of this tirade, the only words eschewing from your mouth being "I'm sorry," "No, I didn't see you," and "Is everyone/thing okay?" you will notice that the vehicle in question is parked behind the over-sized minivan that you were watching when the impact occurred, and is extended at least 2 feet into the aisle, completely out of your sight line, and almost as if she had been pulling out too...

Realizing that no harm was done, and that the screaming lunatic is coming closer and closer to swinging range, you climb back into your still-running car--unable to stop yourself from saying "Right. Are we done?" on the way in--and close the door. As you are fastening your seatbelt (cautious driver that you are) she will slam her fist down on the trunk of your car, still screaming.

You will drive away, watching the rear view mirror to make sure she hasn't decided to follow you home and kick your ass there.

About two blocks away, the adrenaline will hit you. You will start crying. You will be angry with yourself for doing so, but such is the chemical reaction occurring in your bloodstream that you will be unable to stop.

You will return to your apartment, drop off your groceries, and--even though the incident occurred in Queens and you are now in Brooklyn--you will change out of your distinctive yellow coat before leaving to return the rental car, on the off chance that the psychopath happens to be driving past as you walk home.

You will get your rental back to the lot one minute after the deadline, and pray that you are not slapped with a $50 late fee.

On the walk home, it will occur to you that there may be some leftover cigarettes in the coat you wore on New Year's Eve.

When you get home, you will find them. You will smoke one on the fire escape.

Then... you will blog.



Princess Pointful said...

I just got to this post, and realized it had gotten nowhere near the love it deserves.
I backed into a car once, after someone cut me off getting in the gas line. It literally wasn't there two seconds earlier.
And I cried and cried, even though there was no damage-- and one person from school saw it, so by two hours later, everyone thought I had been in a HUGE ACCIDENT. Gah.

Bridget said...

I am awful commenter. I read this and laughed so hard my sides hurt and forgot to leave a comment. (And sympathized too...)

Being blonde comes with a price. So sorry!