Being a parent reveals all sorts of unflattering things in a person. It’s great for building character, I suppose, but some of what I’ve learned, I wish I hadn’t. I could write an entire post on this subject, but I’ll reserve the focus this time for one particular shortcoming among the many: my inability to focus well when I’m being barraged by constant conversation. I’ve already written several times here about the nonstop chattering of my child; I never thought it would lead me to car damage. However, I believe that’s exactly what happened.
You see, I’ve had the pleasure of parking in many garages, and my car is small. I’m quite accustomed to pulling in, backing out, making sure the vehicle is properly aligned, etc. I’ve done it for years, without incident. Until now. In the past year, I have not once, but twice left the driver’s door open and attempted to back out of the garage that way. One time, I realized my error in time. The other? I practically tore the door off, and broke several storm door panels that had been leaning too close to the garage opening… it was ugly. Neighbors heard the screech of metal and peeked into our driveway to make certain we were all standing… Beyond humiliating, I kid you not.
And I’ve tried to figure it out. Why do I suddenly stink behind the wheel? And the only consistent factor I can find is my son, and his incessant flow of words spilling into my ears at all times. Add to that my tendency to try to look at him when he’s talking, and you have a distracted mommy-brain who often turns around to face the back seat, all while trying to extract a big machine through the narrow opening of a block structure.
So, I’m proud to say that I’ve learned to literally look at my car door each and every time I am preparing to back out of the garage. And thanks to my recent deliberate efforts, there has not been another incident of leaving the car door open.
But. After checking the car door to confirm that it was shut, my cocky self-assurance led me instead to drive the vehicle too close to the driver’s-side wall. The door remained happily intact, but my driver’s side mirror? Not. It was pummeled. By the time I had comprehended the horrible noise of butchered plastic and stopped in mid-backup, it was too late: the mirror hung, lifeless, suspended only by the silver cables inside. It even swung back and forth slightly, like a body suspended from a broken neck. Well, perhaps not quite that graphic. But it seemed that way to me—probably because I was its killer.
I drove the car with dangling, detached mirror for several days. Superglue did not work. One elderly gent in the Strip District explained to me (even though I had not asked) that I would need to use screws to reattach the mirror to the car body. It sounded logical, until closer examination of my car revealed very little to which one might attach a screw. I pled my case with Todd. My driving was already quite possibly impaired by motherhood itself; was I safe in a car that was missing a mirror? Was his son safe? Was this even legal? Wasn’t there something he could do?
And God bless him, he did. I came downstairs last evening, found him beaming, and went into the garage to check out his handiwork. The mirror was fixed! There it stood, back in shape, proudly at attention, reflecting with ease. No more crazy swinging. I was elated.
“How did you do it?”
He grinned sheepishly. “You won’t believe it.” And he pointed to the life-saving tool: My craft glue gun.
We howled. And the mirror? It held.