I love (hate) my exercise class at the Lakeview Center. Nancy, the Energizer Bunny Instructor, takes no pity on us because we are all old and out of shape. She whips our asses every class, and as I am a sedentary sort of person, I want to either fall down on the floor or cry my eyes out or both when she calls out “Quick Feet!!” That’s when we run as fast as possible in place until she says to stop. Or Jumping Jacks. Ugh.
Even on Mondays when we are still getting over the weekend, she pushes us without mercy. This past Monday seemed more difficult than ever. Maybe that was because I had spent the entire weekend on my butt. We went to Indiana for Christopher’s graduation party, so Friday was spent sitting in the car for ten hours. Saturday I sat around all day while the rest of the family scurried around getting ready for the event. Cheryl, as ever, was totally prepared with enough food for 500 people even though seventy five were invited. Her mother, Pam, and I were extraneous, so we sat around chatting. They have a Keurig, a new toy for me, and I enjoyed making cup after cup of coffee in the machine, so I was wired and had no outlet for my artificially induced energy. Then Sunday we drove back and avoiding road construction, made the trip in only nine excruciating hours.
All that sitting around made me exhausted, and I slept extra long Sunday night. Then Monday morning came and I dragged myself to exercise. Even though we did hundreds of push-ups, mountain climbers, plank jacks, quick feet, I couldn’t shake the mental fog I was in. When my friend Gwen and I were finally allowed to leave, my head was drooping and I spotted a diamond ring on the sidewalk outside the pool. I couldn’t tell if it was real or fake, but knew I should take it to the office downstairs regardless. Gwen patted me on my head for my honesty and I set off around the building to the office where I turned in the ring.
I walked back up the sidewalk to my car, and was so tired I wondered if I had the energy to push in the clutch and shift gears. Reverse is particularly hard, both because the gear shift is tricky and because even with a pillow to boost me up on the seat, I can barely see over the dashboard and absolutely cannot see behind me when I back up. I generally just close my eyes and hope for the best. Normally this technique works okay, but every so often I encounter another car, a tree, or a post. Luckily I have not run over any children or animals yet.
I painstakingly pushed in the clutch, engaged the reverse gear, and slowly backed up. Then I heard the dreaded, “Crunch.” I had backed into a car parked behind me.
I turned off the engine and hopped out of the car to inspect the damage, leaving my car, “The Golden Chariot”, parked diagonally across the parking lot where I had stopped. I didn’t even glance at my car, as I didn’t care if I had added another bruise to its already messed-up body. (This is the advantage when you drive a POS car.) But sadly, I saw that I had dented the bumper of the Kia parked behind me. I said a prayer of thanksgiving that I hadn’t hit a Mercedes $$$, and got paper and pen from my car and left a note admitting my guilt.
Meanwhile my car was blocking traffic in the lot as senior citizens returned to their cars after exercise class or strolling around Lake Tomahawk. One crone shouted in my direction, “Why the hell is that gold car sitting in the middle of the lot?”
I tried to shout an explanation, but her hearing aid was apparently turned too low, and she kept repeating, “Get that gold car out of here! What’s wrong with people? I swanny!!”
Three women from my class rushed over to me to find out if I “needed help backing up.” Where were they when I was backing up? I said, “I can’t believe I hit that person’s car. I feel like such an idiot.”
Mabel, the fittest eighty year old I have ever met, eyed the situation and judged that I was not at fault. “That car is not in a legal spot. She is in the wrong!”
“Still,” I said, “I should have been able to get out without slamming into her car.”
I felt better that in the eyes of my classmates I was not a ridiculously poor driver, but left my note under the Kia’s windshield wiper any way. Later that morning, the Kia owner called and thanked me for leaving a note. She had already taken the car to a body shop, and the mechanic had tapped out the dent. There was, however, some scratching still on the bumper. The mechanic said it would take about $500 to repair it, she explained, as if that made sense.
“What???” I yelled. “Are you f-ing kidding me? $500???”
“Well,” she said, “I have had the car for only a year and I’m pretty proud of it.”
I skipped over my immediate shock that she was proud of her Kia, but just repeated, “$500??”
By the time I had had my Scion (of which I am not particularly proud) for one year, it had been involved in at least three minor fender-benders, and had never taken it in for repair.
The way we left it is that she was going to run it by her husband for his opinion and get back to me. I have not heard back, and have my fingers crossed that her husband has talked her down. I mean, really? A scratch on a Kia? From what I hear about Kias from a former dealer, they are lucky it is still running.