Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cause You Had a Bad Day

Because I am neither an American Idol (although I am undiscovered and fabulous) and because I have no earthly idea how to technically and/or legally download the Daniel Powter song of the same name to play in the background while you read this post, please feel free to hum along while you read instead.

Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around...

It started when I left the house 10 minutes later than usual because my morning had been filled with extra tasks like putting the sheets and towels in the washer (for the cleaning lady), picking up some clutter around the house (for the cleaning lady), running the dishwasher (for the cleaning lady), - I will pause here to point out how much work goes into getting the house ready for the cleaning lady, a concept I have never fully grasped - blow drying my hair (which takes an extra 5 - 7 minutes because it's so freaking looooooooooong) and of course, stopping to feed Elvis and Ann-Margaret.

While normally I take the back roads in the morning, 85 takes less time and I thought I could make up the difference by hopping on the Interstate. Bad call. The difference between leaving at 7am and 7:10am is rush hour. While 85 is normally congested the rare mornings I take it, it was a down right parking lot yesterday.

I knew I could get off in McAdenville (exit 23 versus exit 36 where I normally get off) and cut over to Wilkinson - which runs parallel to 85 - I just wasn't sure how. I thought I'd wing it and see a sign or two but a few wrong turns and 10 minutes later and I was lost. I finally stopped at a gas station where I got directions (I was close but would have never found it on my own) and eventually made it into work after an hour and 20 minutes. I could have just taken the back roads and made it in in an hour.

I'll leave out the details of my work day but I'll tell you this. I am in sales and marketing. A big piece of that job - no matter what you are selling - is rejection. I had a healthy dose of it yesterday and it left me feeling rather blue.

Though I arrived to work late, I cut out a few minutes early. Once again, I skipped 85 in favor of Wilkinson - partly because of rush hour headaches and partly because I needed to stop at a Michael's to look for something and the closest Michael's is in Gastonia on Wilkinson (well - it's technically on Franklin but Wilkinson turns into Franklin).

I am cruising along in the pick-up, all is well, traffic's not too bad. I am thinking I'll make it home at a reasonable hour so I can spend some time with Elvis and Ann-Margaret. Thinking perhaps Marty and I will head up to Hickory for some wings and trivia. When BAM! I get into my first fender bender.

As I was trying to move from the middle lane to the right lane, I got hit from behind by another truck. Traffic had been stopped so impact was minimal (sort of).

I do not accept or deny responsibility - although legally because I was moving into his lane, I am considered at fault.

We pulled our two trucks off the road into the parking lot of a used car lot. He called 911 to report the accident. I panicked.

The other driver was fairly angry (you can imagine) and I was relieved when the local Cramerton police arrived on the scene. Of course, for reasons I don't quite understand, the accident was not in their jurisdiction so Highway Patrol had to be dispatched.

While we waited, the other driver and I got to talking. As it turns out, we are both from NY/NJ, we both left work early and we both NEVER take 74 home. When I told the State Trooper this later on, he said: "We'll, I guess y'all just had to meet."

I am of course all right physically although mentally, I've been knocked down a peg or 6000 when it comes to driving. My confidence level is probably on par with a teenage girl who's just got her permit (which incidentally, the daughter of the man who hit me had just passed her test that morning). You should have seen me this morning trying to shift lanes. It was pitiful.

The only (sort of) bright spot in all of this, is that my truck KICKED ASS. While we were waiting for Highway Patrol, the other driver caught me surveying the damage to my truck. It didn't seem too bad - a dent in the rear right fender (or bumper - I don't quite know the difference) and some scratches on the paint. As he looked from my car to the shattered orange glass that used to be his left headlight scattered on Wilkinson and what remained of his left front fender (or bumper - I don't quite know the difference) he said: "That's one tough truck you got there. I hit you pretty hard and it doesn't look too bad."

While I nodded meekly out of respect for the situation, on the inside I was full of pride and beaming. I thought: you're damn right my truck is tough.

And if that ain't country, i'll kiss your....

p.s. To those who might post comments about their own first bender to make me feel better about this, keep in mind I am 31 years old and tales of being 16 and new behind the wheel are not quite as comforting as you think.