Thwarted by Old Man Jenkins

It all starts when Alyssa has to use the bathroom. And then I have to use the bathroom. And then Dylan has to use it, too.

We’re on vacation, on the road, so we stop at the closest place we can find: Wendy’s.

The little ones and I finish first and go back outside. Alyssa and Wyatt climb in and I start behind the car to go buckle Wyatt’s seatbelt. But I have to wait on Old Man Jenkins who is backing out of the space behind us. I stand at the corner of our Yukon and watch him backing… backing… backing. And suddenly, I realize that he’s not going to stop. He is going to hit my car. My NEW car.

Okay, okay, it’s not new. But it’s new to me. And it doesn’t didn’t have a scratch.

So I’m standing, like five feet away from Old Man Jenkins in his jalopy who’s about to clock my car, and Matt is still in Wendy’s, and I can’t yell because I had jaw surgery and my MOUTH is WIRED SHUT.

When your mouth is wired shut, you sound like a ventriloquist. A no-talent ventriloquist. Who is drunk.

But I have to try. I scream “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” Except, like everything else I say, it comes out sounding vaguely like “mmmmmppppppphhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!”

Of course he didn’t hear that, or see me, or see my car. So, like any completely normal person, I start clapping. Genius, right? The clapping is louder than the “mmmmmmmppppphhhhhhhhhh”-ing but not loud enough since he keeps backing. With renewed determination, I do the only thing there is left to do. I begin to jump and flail my arms. I am also still “mmmmmmmppppphhhhhhhhhh”-ing, I never actually stop doing that because, well you know, it’s just instinct.

Alright, I’ll be honest. I’m not sure why I jumped and flailed my arms. Obviously if he could see me jumping and flailing, he would’ve been able to see the 16′ 10″ Yukon XL that I was standing next to. But why dwell on hindsight.

I want to run over and bang on his window so maybe, just maybe he will stop before crashing into my car, but my feet are frozen and all I can do is flail and mmmmmmmppppphhhhhhhhhh!!!! In the scheme of things, this is probably good since he would’ve most likely had a heart attack if I had charged his car considering that he had been retired since 1961. Yes. 1961, as in 51 years ago. I really wish there was a way to put numbers in all caps. But I’m jumping ahead of myself.

He is still backing and backing and backing until finally… BAM! He hits the rear quarter panel of my car.

I throw my hands in the air in the only recognizable gesture I’ve made through the whole ordeal. And I expect him to stop because I am right there. I saw it all. 

But this old white-haired man (who I would say looked pitiful under any other circumstances) looks left and right and starts whipping the steering wheel like a madman. He is trying to GET AWAY!

I see Matt finally coming out of Wendy’s so I frantically start jumping and pointing and waving. It’s like a big, ugly game of charades, I’m all over the place. He has to stop Old Man Jenkins before he peels out of the parking lot.

Somehow it works. Matt understands my full-body gibberish like it’s ESP, even though no one has been able to understand anything I’ve said or done for three solid weeks, and he picks up his pace. And then, like some sort of divine intervention, the old man can’t make the turn. And he is CAUGHT.

By now, Matt is standing six inches from his window. Sure, he seeees Matt. The old man rolls down his window, and the first thing out of his mouth is, “I wasn’t trying to leave.”

“Mmmmmmmppppphhhhhhhhhh!!!!” I say. “Mmmmmmmppppphhhhhhhhhh!!!!” Flail!! Flail!! I SAW him!! I SAW him trying to FLEE!

Stuck amongst a Yukon, a pick-up, and Matt, he eventually hobbles out of his car to survey the damage, and says he is sorry. He says he didn’t see our car. It is all his fault, he is a retired (since 1961!) Navy man, and he wants to make it right.


And then he looks at my scuffed, scratched up car and says, “Well, I’m satisfied if you are.”


And he starts heading back to his car in a second flight attempt.

“Mmmmmmmppppphhhhhhhhhh!!!!!” “Mmmmmmmppppphhhhhhhhhh!!!!!”

Thank goodness Matt is able to actually articulate words, and we do eventually get the man’s insurance information before he disappears into the night.

I get back into the car and to the left, sitting there with a big, stupid grin on his face is some guy in a truck who’s been watching the whole thing. All the mmmmmmmppppphhhhhhhhhh-ing and clapping, all the flailing and the crazy full-body charades.

He looks at me and smirks. That Mmpphh.

Comments (17)

  1. Tim Rhea

    Hey Jenny, love your blog…thanks for sharing. I always knew you were a great writer. I have to say that after a horrible day at work (worse than usual I mean) and just feeling crummy all day, this is the first time I’ve laughed out loud today. And normally I laugh all the time because I find everything funny. But today none of the usual tricks were working, I was about to give up until i read your post. Just had to tell you so. Hope you’re doing well after surgery and will be able to yell at old men again soon. Take care and I look forward to future adventures!

    1. jenny leigh (Post author)

      Awww, thank you!! Of all the people I’ve met, you keep your humor better than just about anyone. I’m really sorry you had such a bad day, but I’m glad that I could give you a laugh. Seems like the crazy always follows me around haha!!

  2. Kimberly

    I’m sorry for the situation…but this was hilarious. Great writing!

    1. jenny leigh (Post author)

      Thanks Kimberly! Honestly, even though it was frustrating that he hit our car, the damage was fairly minimal and we all got a pretty good laugh out of it (with the exception of the old man who is probably still mad that he got caught–ha!)

  3. Eric Storch

    Great story! “That Mmpphh!” Perfect!

    I hope that you got things taken care to get your Yukon repaired.
    Eric Storch recently posted..I Should Be Working for GeekSquadMy Profile

  4. Andrea @ The Penny-Roach's

    This is hilarious! Thanks for that laugh, it was definitely needed 😀
    Andrea @ The Penny-Roach’s recently posted..Ty’s Adventure With The IceCapsMy Profile

  5. Katie E

    I must say, it was probably kind of funny to that guy in the car beside you guys 🙂 I bet you were so mad though!
    Katie E recently posted..Does Anyone Use Real Names?My Profile

  6. Ado

    Oh, I loved this post.
    Loved it!
    That old man Jenkins is an OPERATOR.
    SO glad you caught the old geezer!
    Ado recently posted..The Fine Art of Projectile VomitingMy Profile

  7. January

    I read this post a few days ago and I laughed and laughed! Nice try Old Man Jenkins! Shame on him.
    January recently posted..When he goes…My Profile

  8. Laura@Catharsis

    You’re funny, lady, and you tell a helluva good story. I’m so sorry this happened to your new car, but you’ve made some cracks out of it, and that’s what it’s all about. Laugh at the down moments, because what else are you going to do?
    Laura@Catharsis recently posted..Me? A featured contributor? Don’t mind if I do.My Profile

  9. Alison@Mama Wants This

    Sorry about your car!

    But I laughed all the way through. You are quite the storyteller!
    Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..What Motherhood Isn’tMy Profile

  10. Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness

    I have to agree with Alison — what a fantastic story!

    Hope his insurance is valid. Otherwise he’ll be a mmpphh.
    Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness recently posted..(x+y) + wine/tired =?My Profile

  11. Lori @ The Lyons Din

    Oh how funny.. I mean sad.. I mean, funny! You poor thing. I would have had to rush his car though. I think. And that guy in the truck!! Oh lordy. I might have had to dump my drink on his hood or something.

  12. brandy @ momwich

    I just laughed my butt off. Sorry about your car, and your jaw, whats up with that? I’m about to go read and find out 🙂
    Oh, I found you on lovelinks.
    brandy @ momwich recently posted..As Long As I’m Living….My Profile

  13. Shannon from 'mynewfavoriteday'

    The car part sucks but the images of you waving wildly and clapping while your mouth is wired shut is so spot on and hilarious. I hope your mouth gets to come apart soon and your car is back to it’s pre-scratch self very soon!
    Shannon from ‘mynewfavoriteday’ recently posted..Goose in a Bottle?My Profile

  14. deborah l quinn

    Sorry about your car but look at it this way – it’s one hell of a funny blog post. Old Man Jenkins? HAHAHAHA As for your wired-shut jaw? ouch. But still–funny. Can you laugh with a wired-shut jaw? mmmmpphh, indeed.
    deborah l quinn recently posted..versatile? c’est moi (and no, I don’t know how to say it in arabic)My Profile

  15. Jamie

    That stinks but was super funny to read! Hope you were able to laugh about all the mmmmpphhhh’ing later!
    Jamie recently posted..once we were ONEMy Profile


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