Between you, me and the fence post
“Ummm, I did something bad,” I admitted to Husband-Head when he came home.
Husband-Head just rolled his eyes.
“NOW, what?” he asked, not really paying attention. “You went on another online shopping spree and bought all kinds of clothes that you’ll never wear?”
“Noooo, this one kind of involves the car,” I said sheepishly.
That got his attention.
“WHAT did you DO to the car?” he demanded to know.
It’s no secret that I’m not the best driver in the world. I never have been. First of all, my vision — especially at night — is not that good. I see things that aren’t there, I don’t see things that are there … which is why if we’re going somewhere, I lot of my friends offer to drive.
“Night blindness? Hell, I wouldn’t drive with you during the day!” I remember one girlfriend telling me. “You’ve got lots of talents, but driving ain’t one of ‘em.”
But I am very social. And unfortunately these two skills, for me at least, don’t always complement each other.
I was cranking the tunes in my Jeep Wrangler and as I turned to go into the driveway that runs down to the back of the house, I saw our neighbor, Brian, standing out in his front yard.
Brian gave me a big smile and waved at me and I smiled and waved back and then…SMACK! I ran right into his fence post.
Both of our smiles turned into expressions of horror.
“Oh my GAWD, I’m so sorry!” I said, jumping out of the Jeep to look at the fallen post.
“I’m sorry about your Jeep,” he said, looking my front left fender.
Turns out, there really wasn’t much damage to the Jeep, but my left blinker no longer worked.
Husband-Head was not exactly pleased when he heard, but he was glad that it wasn’t any worse.
“You’re going to have to use your hand signal until I can get that blinker fixed,” he warned. “People get pulled over for not signaling when they turn, you know.”
I tried to remember what the hand signals were.
“Is left the one where you just stick your arm straight out the window?” I asked.
“Yes,” Husband-Head affirmed.
“Well, will people know whether I’m going to turn or whether I’m just hanging my arm out the window?” I wanted to know. “I mean, you see people with a cigarette hanging their arm out the window all the time.”
Husband-Head chose not to answer.
I didn’t think the arm-out-the-window thing would work, so instead I took a different approach. I decided to plan every trip I took so that I only made right-hand turns.
“Did you know I can get to the grocery store and back home making only right-hand turns?” I said proudly to Husband-Head. “And that even includes the parking lot!”
Husband-Head looked at me as if I was missing a few turns myself.
Going to work could be done, although it involved taking a longer route going around the block, but passing someone on the highway didn’t work at all.
“You shouldn’t be going fast enough to pass anyone, anyway,” Husband-Head pointed out. “In fact, you should’ve even BE on the highway. You’re more of a frontage road kind of gal…”
In the end, Husband-Head took the Jeep in to get the blinker fixed and my problem was solved. I was getting a little worried that it was going to be awfully cold during the winter to be hanging my arm out the window.
“Now, let’s review what we’ve learned,” Husband-Head said patiently when he returned with the repaired vehicle. “It’s OK to smile and say hello to the neighbor when you see him, but we don’t need to take our hands off the steering wheel. We don’t need to get that friendly with his fence post.”
Heidi Rice is editor of The Citizen Telegram. Her column appears weekly in the Telegram and at postindependent.com.
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Last week’s column was about Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., a respected gastroenterologist who wrote “Fiber Fueled,” which came out in 2020. Today’s column is the first in a series of columns based on this book.