Tuesday, January 29, 2008

ninnies with vertigo ...



there was a night not so long ago that i silenced an entire table at mr. d's when i introduced the idea of heating the streets of duluth. this wasn't an environmentally reckless proposition, i mean, i'd considered solar panels and wind energy and the gas-passing of livestock as a means for this scientific achievement.

my big idea was barely a blip in the conversation. they looked at me like i'd taken off my sock, put my foot on the table and sent black shards of toenail in the general vicinity of their drinks, then resumed a conversation about ballads by cinderella. when i repeated my idea, they just laughed at my silly ideas.

you know who wouldn't have laughed at me that day? the woman who's ford taurus spun 180 degrees while traveling down an avenue today, ending up butt-to-broken butt with baby honda civic. leaving the trunk ajar, a tail light busted and me with a thought i'd not had in years:

i wish my dad lived in duluth.

this feeling probably says a lot of bad things about my current maturity level, or maybe even an unhealthy degree of charmed childhood i had. i like to think it mostly means that my dad is a clear-headed, deliberate sort of person who i believe knows what to do in any situation. and i needed him to skulk around my mangled civic, surveying my car from seven different angles, ask a lot of questions, but peppered slowly into long silences, and then dig in the trunk of his practical car for a practical solution.

***

my car was parked on an avenue where i never park on a warm day.
within an hour, i heard rumors that it was slippery outside. i assumed this was hyperbole from a bunch of ninnies with vertigo.
a half hour later i went outside and it was slippery.
a police car was blocking cars from going down the avenue.
i decided that a steep avenue is no place to ditch the civic if every taurus in town is going to take a left turn, pause briefly, then fling itself cartwheeling down the road to the next stop light.
i could barely cross the street, the bricks were like mirrors. i felt like a drunk ice dancer.
nearing my car, i noticed it had already gotten the got. the right side crunched. toaster oven dangling from my trunk.
i decided to move it into a public parking lot, so that the next 10 cars to test this wretched hill wouldn't each leave it's own special mark.
i couldn't move the car. it was too icy to move backward, and i didn't trust forward.

that's when i started thinking about pa pista.

***

the hitter seems nice, although we've not met. a wisconsin woman who went through the trouble of completing an entire police report and leaving it on my windshield. god bless her. the last person who hit my car screamed at me because they didn't have car insurance, and i ended up paying for 2,800 dollars in damages all while googling "small claims court minnesota."

guess who will never treat car insurance as "optional" ever again?

***

the policeman said he wasn't letting any cars attempt this avenue until a sand truck had made a pass ... well, unless there was a burglary. one needed only to cock her ears slightly to hear that duluth sounded like a war zone at that particular moment: an entire musical comedy starring ambulances, fire trucks and police cars. it was as if everyone in duluth was crashing into everyone else in duluth.

then the sand truck came.

***

i asked my burliest, most cocky friend if he would move my car into the public lot.
i wanted someone comfortable behind the wheel, who wouldn't double over weeping at the site of this young car on the cusp of its second reconstructive surgery. because of the latter, i was incapable of the former.

burly cocky friend seemed optimistic, tried to cross the street and bowed out.

"where's your car?" another man in a t'shirt asked as we surveyed the street.
i pointed.
"give me your keys," he said.
at this, the man took three steps backward, and crouched to the position of a middle-distance runner seconds before the gun. he took a breath and sprinted toward the street, making a wide arc, then purposefully sliding into the snowbank in the median. from here he pushed off again, rounding up, then sliding toward my car.

he inched his way around, holding onto the vehicle.
i saw the civic disappear around a corner.
the man emerge from the parking lot.
he carefully walked back across the street and returned my keys.
two hours later, he sent me photos of my car. apparently he had gone back for a second look.

***

a few hours later, the roads were fine. but the temperature is scheduled to drop 60 degrees over the next few days.

now, you jackholes, about those heated streets. ...

9 comments:

Sproactually said...

Car insurance is just one of those really expensive things we need to have if we play with cars. I don't know now it works on the frozen continent of Duluth, (did i spell that right?) but here on the golden sands of New York, Everyone has to have insurance, at least liability insurance for the other driver. Everyone also has personal injury protection. After that its optional, you can insure your self for comprehensive loss, fire, theft, deer strikes and molten lava flow. And collision. New York is a no fault state, which means the insurance companies assign the percentage of fault to each driver. In your case, if your car was legally park and struck by a moving vehicle, the other driver would be 100 percent at fault.

I also carry uninsured motorist protection, in the event that someone from Duluth sobered up enough and drove to New York and plowed into my 1994 Chevrolet with 238,000 miles on it, I'm still covered, and the best part is my insurer pays me, then go after the other driver for the cash.

Sorry about your car, from the dark wet salt covered brief look, your all ready over 2000 bucks in damage. That was awesome on that women to leave you a police report. It was the right thing to do.

Trust me, it's aggravating, but it beats getting a call like i did here.
http://sproactually.blogspot.com/2007/12/exhausted.html

Miss Kate said...

That is The Suck. Sorry about the civic's butt!

nanners said...

you left out the funniest exchange between us, jackhole.

christina said...

spro: wow. your son's car definitely took a worse beating than mine. i'm not sure what our insurance laws are here, all i know is that i have full coverage -- the hitter seems to have coverage -- and that makes me pretty happy right now.

i had a situation two years ago where a friend parked my car at the gas station, and it was t-boned by an uninsured woman who's husband was the devil and after multiple phone calls and text messages and eventually going to their house to pick up a check and having them not home, i expect the worst from people in car-related situations.

i'm thinking of sending the hitter a thank you note for renewing my faith in car owners.

-R- said...

I hate ice. But people who leave complete police reports are the best!

futbol said...

it wasn't my ford taurus, was it? was taco behind the wheel, grinning maniacally?

christina said...

oh sweet jesus, futbol. as much as i love the imagery, it wasn't. for one thing, this car was 20 years newer.

Beverly said...

At least it wasn't a new Jeep that got crashed into. But soon, maybe?
Your idea for heated streets makes me think, oddly enough, of my idea for a mosquito bite vaccine. Wouldn't you think someone could invent that?

feistyMNgirl said...

heating the streets could be a thing of the future- it would lessen the amount of salt that gets into groundwater/runs off into our streams and the lake.

geothermal energy is free- its just probably a long way underground - and we'd have to drill through bedrock...