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.
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.