Your time is valuable. I understand this.
But I need your advice regarding something that happened today. Seriously, I wouldn’t be asking if I didn’t need you to unleash your hounds of wisdom upon my tender pink meat of ineptitude.
Here’s what happened:
Every morning, I drive my fourteen-year-old daughter to middle school. Usually, by the time we've come within a couple blocks of our destination, the roads have already become clogged with cranky chauffeurs and their pubescent offspring.
You know how school zones are supposed to work, where the speed limit is twenty when children are present? We’re implored to gingerly maneuver our vehicles through the clouds of Axe body spray and foggy-eyed adolescence as America’s future shuffles into the building with neon Cheeto fingers and the raw funk of pituitary promise.
Yeah, not at this school. It’s an all-out “I’ve-got-six-minutes-to-get-to-work-if-you-get-out-while-we’re-moving” mentality. Cars stop in the middle of the street; kids dart in front of you, brushing your hood with scuffed clarinet cases. This three-minute taste of the Apocalypse is overwhelmingly the most dangerous part of my day.
This morning, we’d just entered the hot zone and had elevated to alert level Orange, similar to the Bush-era system, yet not stupid and ineffective.
I wasn’t driving fast, which is probably why we didn’t collide. The Honda minivan was pulled over, its front wheels pointing toward the street. As I juked slightly to the left to pass, the vehicle abruptly accelerated into my path.
I leaned on the horn and stomped the brakes, our rusty minivans jerking to a stop and forming a “V” in the middle of the street. The driver’s eyes locked onto me. She scowled and pulled away, exhibiting a gesture possibly only recognizable to the indigenous herders of Lapland.
Oh yeah, plus we knew this person.
“Oh, my God, Dad. That was Chrysanthemum (not her actual name).”
“Sure is,” I said. “Chrysanthemum needs to look before she pulls out.”
I wasn't sure how to feel. I was embarrassed yet certain the mishap was her creation. My daughter and I have known her and her daughter for five or six years, yet until this morning hadn’t been on the viewing end of her axe murdering face. Regrettably, that one wasn't on the old bucket list.
So what the hell do I do now, get her a freaking Starbucks card? Nah.
After pondering my choices, after jotting out T-charts and crunching numerous cost/benefit analyses, I’ve whittled my options down to the following:
1) Apologize. Maybe I was driving a tad bit aggressively, and therefore am partly responsible for the near miss (Or, as George Carlin once said: “That’s not a f—-ing near miss. That’s a f—-ing near hit.”).
2) Do nothing. Act as if it never happened and distract Chrysanthemum with a smothering bear hug next time I see her. People love my hugs, you know.
3) Egg her house.