OK…first off, get your mind out of the gutter. It’s NOT what you’re thinking. This week’s Spin Cycle is about FIRSTS. We can write about whatever first we want to as long as we keep it clean. I thought and thought about what firsts to write about and then decided I’d write about my first real car accident/mishap. Not the one where I was learning to drive for the very first time – in the snow – and kind of ran off the road into a ditch and hit a sapling. Seriously? Who teaches their kid to drive for the very first time IN THE SNOW?? Besides, I’ve written about that before.
When I was first out of high school I had moved to North Carolina and lived with my older sister and her son. She was separated from her husband at the time and for the first time in her adult life was enjoying a taste of freedom. Well, as much freedom as one can enjoy with a young son.
She had gotten me my first real job (other than working for my dad) working for the city like she did, except she worked in the inspections department and had gotten me a job as a dog catcher. Yeah, thanks! I think. I wonder if she did that on purpose. Oh, well, I shouldn’t be ungrateful, it was a job. But about a year later she decided to quit and go to work for a roofing company.
I did not have my first car yet. I couldn’t afford one since I was making minimum wage and paying half the bills for our first apartment together. My sister had, I think, a Datsun B210, circa 1973, I believe. It was an automatic and occasionally I would get to drive it. Sometimes she would drive me to work and drop me off and come back and pick me up and sometimes (but not very often) I’d drive her to work and pick her up. It depended on whether or not one of us had something to do first. We had basically the same work hours but worked on opposite ends of town. Her son’s school however was closer to my work and our apartment was about halfway between where we both worked.
This particular day her soon to be new employer offered to take us both to lunch so I could meet him for the first time. I guess my sister wanted my approval, I really don’t remember why, but, we met him at Darryl’s Restaurant which was very close to the college campus in town.
We enjoyed a somewhat leisurely lunch which was going to put me late getting back to work so we were kind of in a hurry and I still had to take her back to work first. Her soon to be new boss was kind of attractive and she had been flirting with him unmercifully the entire lunch and when we left she tossed me the keys and told me to take her to work first.
She hopped in the passenger side and this parking lot had the diagonal type one way parking spots. I was concentrating on trying to get back to work on time and I was looking over my right shoulder to see if any cars were coming as I turned the key in the ignition. My sister was also looking at the cars that were oncoming because she saw her new cute boss pull out first and she wanted to beat him out of the parking lot. As I turned the key in the ignition she, without warning, jerked the car in reverse, thinking it would be funny to “cut him off” and beat him out of the parking lot because we were cool like that!
What she wasn’t anticipating, nor was I, was that there was an unsuspecting suburban mom in her brand new wood paneled station wagon opposite from our car backing out at the very same time. Yep… when she jerked the car in reverse that suburban mom didn’t even have time to think about what hit her. And hit her we did…like a ton of bricks. It didn’t do a terrible amount of damage to my sister’s car other than her fender and from what I can remember it was already kind of dinged up but that poor wood paneling on that wagon was quite “distressed” and looked like the woodsman cometh and taketh a hatchet to it.
I don’t remember getting a ticket from it and I’m sure my sister’s insurance took care of the mommy wagon but I was forever after known by my sister’s new boss as “speedy” because my sister was too embarrassed to let him know that it was HER fault we had the accident to begin with and since it was her new job and all I took the heat for her. I didn’t want her to lose her job even before her first day! So, when I say that lots of accidents I’ve had weren’t really my fault, it’s true. And sometimes just ‘cuz you’re the older sibling and were born first, it doesn’t mean you always know best! And most importantly remember first impressions sometimes last longer than we’d like.