“It wasn’t my fault!”

Posted by Danny

Today’s text message to Dad:

Can you pick me up two hours late from Driver’s Ed?

Why?

We’re running late.

Did you get into a wreck?

IT WASN’T MY FAULT!

Maybe the first clue that this Driver’s Ed stuff was going to  be a challenge was when the instructor emailed DJ:

I’ll be in the front circle of your school at 4:00 on Thursday.  Look for a blonde wearing sunglasses

Or, DJ, you could just look for the car with the enormous ‘Driver’s Ed’ sign on the top.

The two novice drivers got to the car and our wise instructor asked, “Either of you ever driven before?”

Driver 1:  “Never.”

DJ:  “A couple of times.”

Kicking her shoes off and bracing her bare feet on the dashboard, the instructor tossed the keys to DJ.  “You’re on.” 

And out to Hillsborough Street, in rush hour traffic, she went – straight toward the newest asphalt edition in town, our first double roundabout.   Had I been the instructor, I would have driven her to a dirt road in rural Chatham County.  But then, I’ve seen her drive before.

Now I love the roundabout – it’s the most efficient way to get down the street – with no stop signs or lights.  I like it so much, sometimes I take an extra loop around just for fun.  But it’s no place for a newby or for about half of the women in my life who tell me they just don’t get the circle of traffic.  They approach a roundabout like I approach a crystal glass, with timidness and care. 

Instead of tapping the breaks and speeding on through, they come to a complete stop – looking in both directions (although it’s a one way circle), and pondering from which direction the next car might approach.  Break dancing doesn’t come naturally to me, roundabouts don’t come naturally to them.

After making it down Hillsborough Street, the instructor had the girls drive by her house four times to ensure that her children were getting the yard work finished.

“Slow down DJ,” the window goes down. 

“John, John, get ALL the weeds in the driveway!  And Sarah, go get dinner started, I’ll be back in an hour!”

I was surprised she made that prediction with DJ behind the wheel.

But indeed she did make it home and DJ did too – on day 1.

Day 2 brought a different instructor.  And a half mile from the gates of the school, DJ came across a car in front of her that was, surprisingly, coming to a stop.  She claims she saw it and was slowing down, but apparently her instructor felt she could have perhaps shown a bit more urgency with her right foot.  So, he slammed on brakes from the passenger side of the vehicle missing DJ’s target.  The person behind him, also a little slow on the draw, and the next two cars behind him not so lucky.

It was around 5:30 pm, and I was in my car headed home and listening to Mix 101.5 when the traffic report came on. 

Traffic is slow on The Beltline and stop-and-go on I 40 East.  And there is gridlock on Hillsborough Street at the Oberlin Road intersection due to a four car pileup.

Little did I know that my daughter was driving the first of the four.

It is true that the accident was not her fault.  It is also true that I am in search of an older model vehicle with a passenger side brake.

I Just Want Gas…

Posted by Danny

I just wanted a tank of gas.  That’s all. 

Yesterday I pulled up to the WILCO and climbed out of my car.  I was in  a hurry – when am I not in a hurry?  I had 12 minutes before the sitter needed to leave – she has a Monday night class.  But I couldn’t wait any longer – the “get your butt to the gas station” light had been on for over 30 miles.

I got out of the car and inserted my credit card.

PLEASE ENTER YOUR ZIP CODE PLEASE ENTER YOUR ZIP CODE PLEASE ENTER YOUR ZIP CODE

It is the same zip code as the gas station.  Why, why does WILCO need to know my zip code?  Are they sending flowers? 

Exasperated I entered 2-7-6-0-7…and waited.  But nothing happened.  I watched the tiny screen, my lifeline to my future.

Finally…What?  My new friend scolded me.

YOU DID NOT HIT THE ENTER BUTTON AFTER YOU ENTERED YOUR ZIP CODE STUPID!  RE-ENTER IT AND PRESS THE GREEN ENTER KEY.  AND DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT!  I TOLD YOU THAT THE FIRST TIME – PAY ATTENTION!

I made my second attempt pressing the buttons with the vigor of a boxer in a championship bout.  Take that! 

DO YOU WANT A DRINK?

Now you’re worried about my comfort?  Yes – there are drink machines attached to the gas tanks.  How convenient.

No.  I don’t want a damn drink.  Nor do I want beef jerky, a Moon Pie or a rotisseried red hot dog.  If I did, I would walk inside.  I just want gasoline!!!!

I entered the correct response, although so many people have pressed “No” that the letters are no longer visible to the human eye.

DO YOU WANT A CAR WASH?  IT IS SPRING AND YOUR SILVER CAR HAS A GREENISH-YELLOW HUE.

No!  No!  I do not want a car wash.  I do not want a drink.  I do not like them Sam I Am.  What I want is a stick of frickin’ dynamite to stick up your pump!  My kids are waiting for me.  The sitter’s gonna flunk biology!!

If I EVER ALLOW YOU TO PUMP GAS, WOULD YOU LIKE A RECEIPT?

Finally something I do want.  But shouldn’t that be a given?

I gently touch the car to ensure that she’s ready for insertion.

It looks like we’re finally there.  My mind drifts, making a list of things that must be accomplished that night.

I hear the flow stop.  I quickly remove the handle and screw the gas cap back on, my keys in my hand when my nemeses sends me one last message:

OUT OF PAPER.  RECEIPT AVAILABLE AT THE CHECKOUT COUNTER

Son – of –  a –

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