Wednesday, December 10, 2008

lovely people

Good morning. I would have written yesterday, but the wintry mix in the morning took away my satellite connection.
Monday found me contemplating my Christmas list, short it may be- still someone had to fill it. Have I mentioned I hate shopping of any kind? Browsing for antiques is different, that's an adventure into history and I do love old things. Anyway- on my way into town, my youngest daughter Lily called me. She had a headache. A migraine. Could I please, if I was in the area- run her some ibuprofen? Not a problem as I was just five minutes away. Not sixty seconds later, the old electronic leash rang again- this time, a bit more urgent was the call.

"Mom, I've kind of been involved in a fender bender."

Oh my.

She gave me the directions and I got there just as the police officer had arrived. There was Lily's car at the curb, a big Mercedes behind it. Oh no! I looked it over and didn't see a scratch on it, I thought this is good- no damage to speak of. But then a little wiry man said, "No, that's not my car, it's over across the street."
So- off our little parade of people went, the police officer, Lily, me and the man. There at the opposite curb set a Toyota Celica, circa 1988. It was pristine, white and seemingly unhurt too. Then this wiry chap began to he loved this car, took very good care of it, and it may not seem like much but he'd worked hard to maintain it's integrity. Oh great, I thought- just what we need! A man and his car and bumper bruises on his sweety.
Well, we worked it out somehow that both of the drivers were at fault, Lily a bit more ahead in the running. The man kept chattering away, I could tell Lily was having a hard time asserting her position. Finally, she said-"Yes, I didn't see your car come around the big brush truck that you passed, you could have slowed down a bit." The mouse roared. Believe it or not, I kept my mouth shut. The policeman was a kind, gentle man. He suggested as minimal as the damage was, perhaps we could all work it out. The old man agreed. But would I really pay?
"Yes, of course." I said.
"I know an old oriental guy over on Cook street, maybe you know him? He's really good, shouldn't be too expensive. Can you meet me in an hour?"
Well, I didn't know this guy from Adam, he was a bit odd and perhaps a bit overbearing- so I said "here's my cell number, just call me and we'll see what can be arranged."
Lily went back to school, (she was on her lunch break- she's finished her senior year in Springfield so she could graduate early)I went on with my shopping, more uneasy now with this new twist to my day.
The first phone call was weird. No estimate yet. The second phone call was more of the same and I thought, "We're going to get screwed."
The third phone call didn't make much sense at all, with the exception of lawyers mentioned, and would I truly follow through.
Geez...give me a break. Here we go again- attorneys, snakes-vampires with a blood lust for money.
The fourth and final phone call came while I was in Barnes and Noble Bookstore. I'm sure I groaned out loud. I felt my ire grow, and I was going to let this old chap know where to get off and just particularly how to get there...
"Hi Teresa, well- I just want to say you and your daughter are lovely people, I saw my friend, he buffed it right out. I told him how sweet and respectful your daughter was and how you both seemed like good people. Your daughter is a bit naive, Ma'am- but I think she learned a lesson today. No charge."
"Oh, well...I don't know what to say- that is good news. Do you think I should tell here there was a charge so I could at least get some work out of her?!" Ha, ha, sneer, sneer- I'm so witty and clever and feeling oh so stupid that I doubted the goodness of this man, so I made a joke.
His response-
"Well, Ma'am, I am only an average father, but I'd say you're better than that at parenting, but- it's up to you."
"Thank you sir, happy holidays to you, you're very kind."
"Good bye-"

I use to only see the good in people, and often I was voluntarily blind to their obvious character flaws. Then as I matured, grew wise- I began to suspect that everyone had a secret agenda. A bit more cynical in my observations. And now this. From everything I had observed, from every note of melodrama in this man's voice- I truly thought the worst. Every time my phone rang, I felt agitated. Boy oh boy- was I ever wrong. What a sweet man with odd tendencies- I read the cover completely wrong. Just goes to show you...good doesn't often shine as bright as annoyance, but sometimes- it is the silver lining after all.
Have a good one, take care-


Anonymous said...

Poor Lils. But don't feel bad, I always expect the worst in people anymore, then I'm not disappointed. You just get pleasantly surprised if they turn out to be nice :) Is that a bad way to live life??

Love, Rhi

Jayne said...

Whew.... glad all turned out well and that your kindness and patience brought that out in him as well. :c)

truewonder said...

Dear Rhi aka Grasshopper,
Any way you choose to live your life is not bad, but not expecting good or bad and accepting any outcome is best I think. Either way is a learning opportunity. Sorry, channeling Lou, the wisest of our bunch!
And Jayne, you are kind to say the kindest thing...I had a hard time getting to that point of cheek turning, as you read- I was ready to snap. It was he who did the right thing, ultimately for all involved. Charity of heart over head- he could have charged us anyway, but he didn't. Take care-

troutbirder said...

Good true story. I was with you the whole way increasingly suspicious and then what.... a suprise ended. The spirit of Christmas survives.

bam said...

i love this tale of holiday shopping turned fender bender turned oddman goodman. it reads a little like an old time movie, a holiday tale. i could see the whole thing on the big screen as i read along. that's what i love about your stories and your lens on life: it's unforgettable and oh-so-fine goin' down.
p.s. i hate shopping too. but poking around for fine rare things, like a birdhouse built to look like a cemetery chapel, now there is something to haul home in your pickup.......merry whatever this is....

Lorrie said... glad this had a happy ending!