Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Saved by a horn

Picture it. A lovely fall day, and me behind the wheel, heading into the nearby Giant Eagle to pick up a few items. I turn down one long aisle, scanning the lot for a good space. About 10 cars in front of me, near the store entrance, a woman is loading bags into her trunk. I see a good spot a few cars from her, and I notice that she is rearranging the bags she's already loaded to make more space. I also notice that the cart from whence she is unloading appears to be very slowly inching away from her. I stop my car mid-aisle, and observe closely through the windshield: yes, the cart is most definitely rolling away. In fact, it is steadily picking up speed.

I hit the horn, except this is the Saturn that I'm driving, the one with the mystery horn location that is somewhere in the center of the steering wheel but never quite in the same place twice. I proceed to strike the middle of the wheel repeatedly, in different locations, to no avail. The cart is moving more noticeably now, and the woman is still gazing in the opposite direction, mesmerized by how to maximize her trunk space, utterly oblivious to the encroaching mishap.

Ahh, finally success on my end—"Beep beep, beep beep beep beep, BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!!!" She looks up and I frantically motion to the cart that is now moving with purpose toward a couple of cars. The woman is quick, unlike many shoppers at Giant Eagle; she immediately senses the seriousness of the situation, and with lightning reflexes she runs full tilt toward the cart, reaching desperately to grasp it before it bumps another vehicle. And of the 3 cars it could have zeroed in on, guess which one it's screaming toward? That's right, a Porsche. Bright cherry red, the curvy Carrera style, lovingly polished to a shine.

Just as the cart is about to bang into that shiny car, the woman manages to grab its handle and stop it, mere inches away from the pricey red machine. I can see her take a deep breath, relax her shoulders, and she waves a thanks at me, then takes the naughty cart, still holding groceries, to her car to finish the job. This time, she keeps a foot (brake) behind one wheel.

I park, get out, we joke about a sports car's magnetic ability to attract danger, and I head inside the store. As I pass the Porsche, I can't help noticing that its vanity license plate details the car's make and the fact that it features turbo power. Yeah, that would not have been a pretty scene: the cart, the dent and/or scratch, the angry aging man who drives it (yes, I'm pretty sure that's who drives it), and the unhappy conversation that would ensue.

The day was most definitely saved. For those two drivers, at least. My work is done.


Cari Skuse said...

Funny you write about this today. I was just at Walmart yesterday and was watching the guys collect the carts. They weren't watching very well and let a whole line-up of carts roll backwards right into a car next to the cart corral! Dummies. I guess that I will now rethink my decision to park near the corral.

Facie said...

If only the porshe driver knew how lucky he was that you were on the scene! And I could totally picture the whole thing; you do a great job painting with words and colors!

Your story took me back to years ago when I had my cavalier (a.k.a crapolier) and whatever that piece is in the middle of the steering wheel fell off yet was still attached by wires. It become lodged in a weird way so my steering wheel would not turn. I was on a back road and a truck was heading towards me. I had to rip that baby out of the steering wheel so I could turn my wheel and therefore my car safely out of the path of the truck. Phew!

Mel said...

Cari, yikes! I always try to park near the cart holder! No more.

And Facie, thanks for nice words--and I can't believe I never heard that story of the dismantled steering column/wheel! What in the world?! I am glad you managed to swerve in spite of it. Crapolier, indeed. Todd has a similarly funny/alarming story about his Yugo that lost a wheel while he was driving in the wee hours to work--he had to pull over on a rim, then get out and look for the runaway tire in the early a.m light. Found it, reattached, went on his way. Yeesh.