Insult to Injury
I was in knee length cotton yoga pants, a loose fitting top and flip flops. I wore no bra and no makeup.
I NEVER leave the house like that, but I wasn't even planning to get out of the car. I called Pubescent One to let him know I was on the way, and told him to be waiting on the porch so I wouldn't have to go to the door.
I remarked to husband as I left, "When you leave the house looking like this, you're just asking to get in an accident or something."
So you realize where this is going, right?
The driveway of this home has a funky angle and a steep grade. As I was backing up, I was going very slowly because I didn't want to go off the embankment or take out the mailbox. In other words, I was being extra cautious. But despite my caution, I was horrified to hear a sickening crunch and the screech of grinding metal. I had hit something.
That something turned out to be a small black sedan parked directly adjacent to the driveway. Because the nose of my van was lower than the tail as I was backing up, it was completely invisible to me. Even on the level surface of the road, it was very, very difficult to see because of the low profile and the dark color.
I said a few choice words and got out to assess the damage as two teenagers came running out of the house across the street.
"Oh my god! Somebody hit Becca again!!" exclaimed the girl.
"Man, she is going to be so pissed!!" asserted the boy.
"Becca" was down the street visiting another friend. The boy went to get her, and seemed altogether too gleeful about his errand. He told me she had just recently gotten her car back from the body shop, freshly repaired and painted. I think he was secretly relishing the incipient freak out.
There was no damage to my van, but her car was sporting a sizeable dent in both the driver and passenger doors. I had hit her squarely between the two.
By that time, the Mom of Pubescent One's friend had come out to see what was going on. She apologized to me profusely.
"Oh my God, I am SO sorry!! I have asked those kids a million times not to park there because you just can't see them when you're coming out of my driveway!"
She turned to the three youths, Becca having been summoned to the scene.
"I have asked you kids and asked you kids not to park there. I've talked to your parents too. It's a dangerous place to park!"
The boy became indignant.
"This isn't BECCA's fault!"
"Yeah, this isnt' MY fault!" echoed Becca.
The Mom and I looked at each other in perfect understanding. She sighed and gave me an almost imperceptible eye roll.
"So, do you think we should call the police?" I asked her.
That made the kids nervous.
"Police? Why do we need the police? We didn't do anything!"
"Relax, guys. It's just standard procedure in an accident. We just want to make sure we follow the right steps."
The Mom told me that subdivisions are considered private property, so police won't issue any kind of citation or make any determination of guilt or innocence. She didn't think it was worth the time or trouble. Clearly, she said, it was just an unfortunate accident, with no negligence involved. She punctuated that sentence with another subtle eye roll. I agreed.
The girl and I exchanged information. She was sullen and pouty and spoke to me tersely. It was very clear that she considered the entire thing my fault and was not pleased with me in the least.
I refrained from giving her my opinion. It took everything I had, but I really didn't want to make a scene in my unbrassiered state. Had the girls been properly holstered, I probably would have given her a piece of my mind.
"So like, what am I supposed to do now? Am I supposed to pay for this or what, cause I don't think that would be fair. All I have is liability insurance, whatever that means."
I explained the process to her while she glowered. I held out a piece of paper with my information on it, which she snatched from my of my hand and flounced off towards the house. If flouncing were an Olympic sport, she would get the gold for sure.
"Ummm, Becca?" I called. "Could you please move your car so I don't hit it again?"
She sighed heavily and stomped back to her car. She jerked the door open and got behind the wheel. She moved the car maybe three inches. I won't tell you what evil, evil thoughts flashed through my mind, but suddenly, the voice of Kathy Bates came to me.
"Face it girls, I'm older, and I have more insurance."
Begone evil siren! Do not tempt me for I am weak. Ohhhhh, so weak.
Pubescent One looked at me and raised his eyebrows so high they disappeared into his carefully coiffed bangs.
"Man, whatta bitch." he said.
"You took the words right outta my mouth." I replied. "Don't you ever let me catch you behaving that way to another adult."
"I won't. But I guess she was just kinda upset."
"Well I'm not exactly overjoyed either, but was I rude to her?"
"No. You didn't have to be."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"She knew what you were thinking Mom."
"Oh is that so? And what was I thinking?"
"How stupid it was to park there. We always know when you're thinking that we're stupid, you know. Even if you don't say it."
"Well I think that was her guilty conscience working. She knew it was her own fault for parking there."
"Maybe." he said, doubtfully.
"Well, whatever. What's done is done. Now let's go home."
"Okay. Mom? Are you alright?"
He didn't mean, was I hurt. He meant, was I handling the stress okay, considering that just 24 hours prior, our entire world had collapsed around us. He hadn't missed the fact that my hands were shaking as I fumbled to put the keys in the ignition.
"Yeah Dude, I'm alright. Nobody hurt, that's the important thing."
He gave a little snort of laughter and said, "I don't think Becca would agree."
"Well Becca can eat me."
He guffawed loudly, as he always does when I have such a lapse.
These little moments in which he sees me as human are both disconcerting and oddly freeing. It can be so tiresome to be the paragon of virtue, integrity, morality and decorum. Don't you sometimes feel that the weight of that is crushing the you inside the mantel of motherhood?
Occasionally, in moments such as those, my kids see through mother me, to the real me beneath. Is that so bad? I think not. I think allowing my kids to see my flaws and frailties once in a while is a good thing. I think it makes me more approachable. I think that it helps them to believe me when I say "I understand" or "I've been in your shoes."
Suddenly I wished I had told Becca she was being a total farking beyotch.
Bra or no bra.