Hindsight in the Fog

My driver’s side mirror was knocked off yesterday morning—and I know that’s in passive voice, thank you, but I’m avoiding full responsibility for the damage, which is what the passive voice is for.

I’ve spent the last day and a half alternately worried that I couldn’t adequately see the traffic behind me and certain that someone will rip off the carefully duct-taped mirror from my car while it in the library parking lot.  I’ve also spent a lot of time adjusting the damned thing manually, which is a lot less hit-or-miss (HEY-o!) when I can use the automatic controls, which I can’t do because the wires apparently loosened once I taped the mirror case down, or open the window, which I can’t do because it’s taped to the mirror case.

I’m sure there’s a life lesson in there somewhere, probably more than one, about hindsight, foresight, merging, paying attention to one’s surroundings, the obstacles to establishing budgets, the usefulness of duct and electrical tape, and the essential viciousness of garage door frames.

CargoThat last is a lesson I should have learned the time I tried a slow hairpin turn in our old two-and-a-half-car garage so I wouldn’t have to back down the long, curved, steep driveway, which had a stone wall on one side and one made of railroad ties on the other.   It did work . . . mostly . . . and the garage door still closed and the dent over the front passenger tire gives Rocinante that jaunty air of weltschmerz that all good, faithful, and neglected modes of transportation should have, unless you’re trying to calculate your trade-in value* without wincing.

But that was over a decade ago, and my memory is only good for certain things, like what the founder of our town had for breakfast over 160+ years ago on the day he was murdered and where the bathrooms are located in any building I’ve ever visited.  And, of course, HobNobs.

Accidents that were clearly my fault don’t get many memory cells allotted to them.  If a falling tree clips a Honda in a forest and no one remembers where that dent came from, no harm, no foul—right?

Except it was foggy this morning—if ever a natural analogy there was—and all I could see from the mirror for the first few miles was the yellow line next to the back tire because I’d forgotten all about my little contretemps and either the mirror isn’t holding its angle or my beloved offspring are messing.  The mirror makes a neat click-click-click when you push it, so I know which way I’m betting.

If anyone is curious, side view mirrors were invented so that a driver doesn’t have to bodily turn the whole of her attention behind her to merge into the flow of traffic while zipping quite fast towards the cars ahead of her, which have slowed down to do the same thing.  While her younger daughter’s stuffed pig does the Rhumba in her peripheral vision.

I knew this already, so I pulled over before the Insterstate on-ramp, click-click-clicked the mirror into place, and continued on.

Disaster averted, analogy generated.

The budget will have to be similarly adjusted to pay for repairs—and to those who just said, “Ha! Passive voice,” well spotted.  The ambulance bill hasn’t arrived yet . . .

But we’re all safe for the moment and, since it’s my turn for the late Monday shift, I spent the morning as a library patron, editing pigeons and pressmen in the quiet . . .  in front of a window facing the parking lot, so I could see if anyone paused beside my car.

And after my shift, supposing that no one vandalized Rocinante while I was working, I’ll drive to the grocery store for food, diet Pepsi, and more duct tape.

Guess I’ve learned my lesson after all.

How’s your Monday going?


*Or, rather, the trade-in value of the car.  My trade-in value isn’t much, even in spare parts.