Side Mirrors Are Not My Friends

That, gentle readers, is the first ding in my new car. (I know it's barely visible in this crummy cell phone photo, but trust me: It's there.)

Last night I was backing up to re-angle myself in my garage so I'd have enough room to get out once I had actually parked the car, and I caught the passenger side mirror on the support post to the right of my parking space. The apparatus for the garage door made a nice gouge in the plastic casing.

Everything else seems to be okay — unlike the last time I caught my mirror on the side of the garage. That time I totally cracked the part of the plastic housing where it attaches to the side of the car. (I think I have a photo of that somewhere; maybe it's on my computer at home.) That's some other sucker's problem now,  because I traded that puppy in two months ago.

Those dings are peanuts, however, in comparison to the damage I almost wreaked with the side mirror of my friend's truck at the Stop-n-Cop in Athens. We needed I needed some pop to mix with the booze (Absolut Kurant, I think) that everyone else was drinking in my friend's room. My friend with the truck had already been drinking, so I got to drive. (In retrospect, he probably wouldn't have done as much damage as I did sober.)

We went down Richland to the drive-thru, and I laughed at the people in the car in front of us who didn't know the traffic pattern of the drive-thru and were facing in when they should have been facing out. I distinctly recall chortling happily as I drove around to the back of the building while they waited for me to get out of the way so they could back up. They laughed last, though, because I cut the corner wrong and caught the side mirror on the side of the building as I started to pull in so I could place my order.

In my defense: The side mirrors on that truck stick waaaay the eff out to the sides; I wasn't used to driving that truck, so I had no real sense of its dimensions; somehow I thought the mirror was made out of Nerf and was just going to pop in and let me keep going. This truck was an old beater, though, and not one of the new ones that have the mirrors on hinges so they can be folded in when necessary.

So, I kept my foot on the gas, and the side of the building is kind of bowing in a C-shape, and the guys are running out of the office, waving their arms and yelling at me to stop. My pal is curled up in a ball on his side of the bench seat, laughing his ass off.

The people behind me had to back up so I could back up, and the guy who worked at the drive-thru coached me on which way to turn the wheel so I could reposition the car away from the wall. It maybe took two minutes to get it straightened out, but one always feels that time moves more slowly while one is dying of embarrassment so it felt like fifteen.

Once I finally got myself situated and apologized to the nice gentleman for almost wrecking his establishment (he gently reassured me that it was all okay and not to worry about it), I confessed that all I wanted was a twelve-pack of Sprite. I quickly paid for said beverage and headed back to campus.

On the short drive back, I made my friend swear that he wouldn't tell the rest of the guys back at the room what happened. He kept his word, even though he was still laughing on and off all night and they knew something was up.

This happened about sixteen years ago, so eventually the shame wore off. I have since told this story on myself many a time — usually acting it out with great verve and gusto for an appreciative audience of fellow OU alums. It's in the top ten of my OU stories . . . right up there with the double shot of Everclear story, "This Room Is Not a Bathroom," and one of the reasons I'm going to hell. Good times.

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